María Elena Sierra Díaz, General Director, AS Consultores

There is a pain within the business sector regarding the imports or exports of products, commodities and inputs as well as for the companies who provide customs and transportation services to foreign trade since they have become vulnerable or are in the spotlight of the audit authorities, with the aim of looking for the complete compliance of the international trade legislation. We realize, then, that there are countless regulations that are in constant change and evolution; therefore, their continuous and detailed study is imminent.

Therefore, audits in international trade and logistics operation are growing and suffering a continuous attack by tax authorities, which are increasingly worried about the tax collection. At the same time, the entrepreneur is busy trying to avoid the economic and trade barriers, which already difficult and make impossible to keep track of all the details in this complex matter.

Authority revisions which can go from the simplest things such as: books requests, tax receipts, accounting revisions, among others, to the most complex things, for example: customs declarations revisions, contracts, and other international trade operations, not to mention the ones related to the justification of every fixed asset in the companies, stock revisions, annex 24 for the temporary imports with a program or everything related to transfer prices.

Different print media reveal the high number of international trade audits, which according to the authority, “90% of the firms that have been revised, have irregularities” (refer to Fines for international trade firms in Mexico increase. Year 2015.-

For that purpose, there are specialized advisors, like our group, who can provide the solution and attention to this complex topic, starting from an initial diagnosis, the sampling development of an internal audit for the international trade and/or logistics operations, the total audit to all the files, the regularization of inventories, machinery, assets control, fiscal reengineering, contracts revision, accounting, and international trade, as well as fiscal defense, where appropriate, among others.

Even though, when we could talk about the high effectivity of your advisors, who like us, are in charge of your tranquility, it is important that entrepreneurs know, as a preventive action, that they have enough tools to succeed any fiscal processes or audits that the authority starts in their firms, with the help of a number of recommendations along with an ally advisor.

The 10 recommendations:

1. Create your physical and digital binder named fiscal file for international trade.
The fiscal file is not only a binder that keeps the different documents that the Tax
Administration Service (TAS) gives to the taxpayer, but it is a binder that has all the
useful documents kept for any proceeding concerning international trade matters,
such as:

  • A certified copy of the company’s articles of incorporation, which duly has
    the commercial page of the registration before the Public Registry of
    • An official identification and a power of attorney in force from any legal
    representative, a certified copy of the public instrument, which states the
    legal representative’s authority to represent and defend before third
    parties and authorities.
    • A copy of the company registration as a taxpayer.
    • An updated record of the obligations and activities of the company as a
    • The 32D form, to periodically verify the constant compliance of the fiscal
    • A copy of the proof of address.
    • A record of the fiscal domicile or, if the case applies, the record of the
    different changes of fiscal domicile effected.
    • Where appropriate, the issuance date of the Electronic Signature (FIEL) and
    its validity, to avoid its expiration date and the stoppage of any proceeding.
    • The contracts which use digital seals with the service providers who have
    shared this information with.
    • Registrations and permits.
    Additionally, if the company is certified, it has special programs, or it is a logistics
    • The request and response documents of the respective programs and the
    acknowledgment of receipts for the compliance of the obligations reports
    and requirements of each program.
    • When appropriate for logistics companies, the creation, and
    acknowledgment of CAAT (carrier’s automated alphanumeric code).

2. Keep a special binder, physically or digitally, with a backup of all the information
related to your assets. Remember that the legal presence of merchandise in the
country must always be verified.
Unfortunately, there are companies that do not remember, or they lose their asset
information; this fact may generate a loss of their valuable machinery or equipment
which can alter their production.

3. Imports and exports control. Do not omit the creation of a physical or digital file for
your international trade operations. Remember that every customs declaration is a
tax declaration. Do not forget that the customs declaration is not run by itself, so,
create a small checklist of the minimum documents that shall come with the
customs declaration, such as invoice, certificate of origin, transportation document,
and verify the correct issuance of COVE and the compliance of non-tariff barriers.
Similarly, but not less important, you must have a Kardex that includes all your
operations. This Kardex is easy to obtain through the access to the authority’s
portals so you will not be surprised with the bad use of your importers’ registry.

4. Control of your logistics files. In the case of the logistic services providers for
international trade, it is very important to have a digital or physical file for every
transportation or service operation performed. It is not enough to say that the
service was rendered due to the confusion that it may arise whether these are
agent’s services or truly logistics services including transportation. For the
transportation, all documents shall be complete, and there should be special care if
there is a freight forwarder, as all the necessary documents must be ready, when
the service is rendered.

5. To have clarity on the INCOTERM that will be used to handle merchandise trade
transactions, for imports and exports, as you can often be subject to a tax credit due
to the incorrect use of INCOTERMS, because of ignorance. Make sure that all areas
in your company are aware of the terminology, in case foreign transactions are
carried out.
Furthermore, constantly verify that there are the enough and correct registrations
to carry out your imports.

6. To have a reliable service providers registry for international trade, along with fully
identified companies with a trajectory, which guarantee not only the price but also
the confidence that your operations are in good hands and backed up by solid
groups. Nowadays, security is first.
Do not receive any cargo from strangers, nor leave out any international trade
proceedings if you do not know very well your counterparts. It is important that they
come along with the punctual and sufficient documents for its handling or for any
required proceeding of the “non-tariff barriers”. Remember that your security is
first. Therefore, it is important that you have reliable suppliers and that you send all
the complete and correct merchandise.

7. Regarding Customs Agents, do not omit the delivery of the declarations of value
from your clients. Do not leave out the use of your digital seals or the revisions for
your clients. Remember that you are at a constant risk everytime that there is an
authority revision.

8. Make sure to have the efficient technological tools to manage the operations, tools
which can provide reliable controls, so you can always have the information,
especially, concerning the “information on the cloud”. However, be cautious that
your information is duly kept, secure but ready to be friendly used when you require

9. Do not forget about what was temporarily imported or exported. It is common to
see that when importing or exporting a merchandise, people forget about their
return or change of regime, causing an economical contingency that can reduce your
assets. Carry out a reliable follow-up as a half-yearly or annual revision of all your
operations with the purpose of avoiding expiration dates.
For IMMEX temporary imports and the compliance of annex 24, do not forget to
verify that all the operations are captured and that your stock control systems
comply with the provisions of the law. Periodically perform tests of such controls
and reports. This shall provide tranquility for you.

10. Audit your international trade operation, at least once a year. While there is no such
specialized tax report, it shall be relevant to be updated and prepared for any
problem that may arise in the future. Remember that there is always a solution, and
the sooner the situation is controlled, the cheaper the solution will be.

Follow these recommendations, with the certainty that you will be more relaxed and
attentive to your business, without sacrificing your time with problems of this nature. Keep
in mind that you have allies to prevent, audit and, where appropriate, defend your interests.
Look for long-term relationships that provide tranquility and certainty together with quality.