Starting a Business in Mexico

Last update: 21 June 2014

Foreigners holding a Residente Temporal (RT) or a Residente Permanente (RP) can own and operate a business. Both require some interactions with the government.  An RT must get an OK from the INM; an RP does not require anything from the INM.

First, find a good accountant and discuss with him (or her) your plans. You may wish to interview more than one to find someone you are comfortable with.  Accountants usually charge a set monthly fee (around 500 pesos) to handle your monthly government filing requirements and help you with any tax questions.

If you hold an RT, you will need to go to your INM office to get  an endorsement for "lucrative activities". 

You will need to fill out an application on the INM do-everything form on their website.  Instructions are here -- scroll down a ways.

2 letters on your new company's letterhead stating what you will be doing and that you will comply with the Mexican tax laws (INM will probably give you the actual text of the letter) The company letters must be signed and endorsed by your accountant.

Copies of your RT card and the picture page of your passport

Proof that you are qualified to do the work.  Discuss this with your INM folks because the requirement varies from office to office.

Paid SAT receipts in the amount specified by Immigration.

Your accountant will take your amended RT card or your RP card along with proof of where you live (electric bills, etc) - make sure the address on the electric bill matches that in your RT / RP card. Your card and an application for a tax ID will be given to the Hacienda and in a week or so all the paper work will be complete. Your accountant files the appropriate forms and pays the taxes each month based on the income and expenses you have for your business.

There are different types of companies in Mexico, just like in the US. If you setup a small company, you file under your own name, but you can call the company whatever you like. The Hacienda doesn’t care what you call the company unless you setup a Mexican corporation which is a much more complicated procedure and has different tax implications.

Your accountant will explain what constitutes a business expense that can be applied for tax purposes.  These rules are not exactly the same as in the USA.

Speaking Spanish isn't absolutely necessary for any of this, but it will be helpful. If your Spanish is not good, I recommend taking someone with you who does understand the language – both for Immigration and with your accountant.

Be sure to read about your obligations to your employees.

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