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Ratigan

Jun 9, 2005, 12:34 PM

Post #1 of 51 (15303 views)

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Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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Greetings all,

I have read and searched a lot of the forums, and have gotten a lot of valuable information so far. I have still been unable to find answers to a few questions.

I am planning on retiring to the Lagos de Moreno area of Jalisco - buy a lot - have house built and all that. I am planning on getting a van (paid for - no messy title issues) and bringing as much of my possessions as will fit.

I'm in a spot where I will not be bringing enough stuff in where I would hire an international moving company. It would be a close call between their charges and the value of my possessions.

I have read the info about what you are allowed to bring into Mexico on an FMT visa (not too much it seems), and also about the generic $5,000 limit on the FM3 visa. I will be attempting the FM3 visa - I am just turning 49 so I don't know if I will be disqualified on the basis of age. I have heard conflicting reports on that.

I have been warned to discard all original boxes (DVD, VCR, TV) as it seems that customs believes that if you have the original box - the item is 'new'.

My questions are:

1) I have some stuff (electronics - DVD recorder, LCD type TV, Stereo, etc..) that are over a year old - but (since I don't have kids) are in excellent condition and look brand new. I didn't have the foresight to save receipts to prove they are over a year old. On these items - can I expect to pay a tax or fine? I have read that the IVA tax can range from 17% to 37% - does anyone know which end of the spectrum applies to what?

I have done some research, and have a good idea of what to bring and what to leave behind. It seems that electronic stuff is a bit more expensive in Mexico - when it is available. I plan to bring a couple of items that will be brand new (flat LCD TV - high end laptop computer) - I want to play by the rules - and I don't have a problem paying whatever tax I need to pay on the items that will truly be new.

2) When I drive through aduanas - I declare the new items and pay tax - yes? Does this trigger any red flags where the customs agents will want to pick through all of my belongings? I do not have any contraband (drugs, guns, chocolate,etc..) I would like to avoid any hassles - mostly unloading the whole thing and repacking it.

3) If I qualify for the FM3 - I know about the 'menaje de casa' and how I'll need 6 copies in English and Spanish, serial #'s for anything electrical and all that. Since I'm planning on packing a van full - I was thinking of attempting to save room by not having things individually boxed - stuff clothing around the delicate things. Is this a problem?

4) Anybody know the final word about being 50 to qualify for the FM3 visa?

5) If I do not qualify for the FM3 - and have to enter on an FMT visa - I know I'll have to pay some type of tax on all stuff in excess of the FMT allowance - would I still need the 'menaje de casa' if I'm willing to 'bite the bullet' on the taxes?

6) I understand that I'm asking for a lot of info here - If I need to consult with a Mexican lawyer to get some answers (I expect I might have to) does anyone have any good referrals?

The 'early retirement' I'm doing is a result of corporate downsizing. I do speak some Spanish - all those college classes in 15th century literature and poetry will not be very applicable, but I'm learning a more practical vocabulary now.

This is my first attempt at a post (be gentle . . .)
Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Bob



Rolly


Jun 9, 2005, 1:55 PM

Post #2 of 51 (15267 views)

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Re: [Ratigan] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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Hi Bob,

Age restrictions on issuing FM3s is a matter left up to each consulate, so the rules vary all over the place. Only your area consulate can answer that question. You can to come to Mexico on an FMT, get your FM3 here where there is no age test, then return north to get your menaje de casa which can only be had from the consulate where your belongins are.

If you don't want to do that and plan to bring all your stuff with an FMT, you can expect to pay duty on a lot of the things -- especially the electronics. It might be to your advantage to make a list of the electronic items showing brand, make, serial number and your valuation. If your valuation is reasonable, the Aduana is likely to accept it. The laptop is duty free. If you have a lot of things, the Aduana can require you to hire a broker. No way to know in advance if that will be required.

If you have a menaje, it is not required that things be in a box; but if they are boxed, you should follow the listing format.

Good Luck,

Rolly Pirate


gpk

Jun 9, 2005, 4:17 PM

Post #3 of 51 (15235 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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I was not permitted to get my FM3 in leon until I turned 50. Maybe this has changed.


gpk

Jun 9, 2005, 4:19 PM

Post #4 of 51 (15232 views)

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Re: [Ratigan] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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OK--tell us about Lagos de Moreno. Why there?


Ratigan

Jun 9, 2005, 7:47 PM

Post #5 of 51 (15191 views)

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Re: [gpk] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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I found Lagos de Moreno by accident - searching for real estate. It is about 2 hours East/North East of Guadalajara. I spent a summer in Guadalajara back in 76 - had a great time. I visited again in April - and the city had doubled in population, and anything I found affordable was in (according to a local) bad areas - known for drugs. Nicer places in better areas were way out of my price range.

Lagos de Moreno is about 120,000 population - has most all the creature comforts I want (WalMart, Home Depot, cable TV, high speed internet access) - sort of the Goldilocks thing - not too big, not too small. Cost of living is good - not a lot of ex-pat Americans driving the costs up yet. (I have nothing against them (us actually) - I'm just jealous that they got there first.) As they say, timing is everything.

I have friends that have retired to Merida in the Yucatan - and I've been watching the meridainsider.com weather page - past 3 weeks it was consistently breaking 100 F (sometimes 103 or 104) and I know electricity is very expensive there - and I'm not that heat tolerant to begin with - and after some investigation - I realized Merida was just too expensive.

What attracted me most to Lagos de Moreno was the temperate climate - at about 6,300 ft. altitude - the summer does have a few hot weeks - but mostly moderate, and the winters are mild - generally 50's sometimes 40's. The smaller population has a correspondingly lower crime rate as well. It seems to meet all of my needs. I think it is about an hour from Leon, and I believe 45 minutes to an hour from Aguascalientes airport.

I actually have a B.A. in Spanish - got it back in 79 - but I never got to take a year abroad - I was putting myself through college - had to settle for the summer session in Guadalajara. I wound up working in a different field entirely, but always wanted to live in a spanish speaking area and become fluent. I'm rather rusty - and lots of the college stuff (literature, drama, poetry of 15th century Spain) will not be applicable - but I want to keep working on improving my Spanish - even if I never pass for a native speaker. Living outside of an ex-pat community will (I hope) help me vastly improve - and is all part of the adventure.

I anticipate (shortly) being one of the many casualties of corporate downsizing, and I've moved around the country so much (to hang on to my job) that I have no real ties to any one place here in the states.

If you have to be 50 for the FM3 - then I'll probably enter on the FMT - leave the country for a few days - re-enter get new FMT and after that I'll be 50 and able to get the FM3. So I get to pay some taxes/duties when I bring my stuff in - not a huge deal. I was concerned that they would rather confiscate things than just tax and allow entry. I still will need to know what range of tax/duty I will be paying. I have heard of a range of 17% to 37% - don't have the vaguest idea of if it depends on the items, where you enter, the mood of aduanas, or the phase of the moon.

So if anybody has a clue - I'm all ears.


jennifer rose

Jun 9, 2005, 8:11 PM

Post #6 of 51 (15179 views)

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Re: [gpk] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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The INAMI regs dictate no age threshold, but its application appears to be discretionary. I had my first FM-3 when I was 41, and so did my sister. I got mine at the Mexican Consulate in Chicago, and she picked up hers in San Miguel de Allende.


alex .

Jun 10, 2005, 7:57 AM

Post #7 of 51 (15117 views)

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Re: [Ratigan] 4) age requirement

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One of the contributors here has a niece with an FM3: I think she is, what , 6 years old?
Alex


2mexico


Jun 10, 2005, 4:09 PM

Post #8 of 51 (15054 views)

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Re: [Ratigan] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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Hi - I did not note where you live in the U.S., but I obtained my FM3 from the San Francisco consulate and there was never any mention of age criteria (I was 51).

Also, if you will search this forum with the word "Mexpack" for some discussion in late May on the possibility that a Menaje de Casa is no longer required to bring your belongings to Mexico - just the FM3.


(This post was edited by stanwolf on Jun 10, 2005, 4:10 PM)


Carron

Jun 11, 2005, 7:49 AM

Post #9 of 51 (15001 views)

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Re: [alex .] 4) age requirement

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Even infants can get FM3's. They qualify in the status of "dependent", not retiree. When we lived in Chiapas both my teenage daughters had FM3's.


gbatrucks


Jun 13, 2005, 4:12 PM

Post #10 of 51 (14920 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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Do I have to have an FM-3 to get a Menaje? I'm thinkin' ship all my stuff to Strom's warehouse in Laredo while I'm getting my FM-T converted to a -3 in Chapala. Sure dont want to go back to Phoenix just to get a Menaje. How are the Feds to work with in Chapala? My wife is a German citizen...Anybody have any info on anything special she might need? Are they sticklers on authenticated birth certificates? Is this a nutty idea?
"The trouble with life is there's no background music."


Rolly


Jun 13, 2005, 4:56 PM

Post #11 of 51 (14910 views)

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Re: [gbatrucks] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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You cannot get a menaje with an FMT. But maybe you don't need one. A couple of people have posted here recently that a menaje is no longer required if you have an FM3 and a commercial mover. I don't know if that is true or myth or exception, but I'll bet the Storms know. Follow their advice.

Rolly Pirate


gbatrucks


Jun 17, 2005, 10:06 AM

Post #12 of 51 (14812 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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Checked with Strom...They say you still need the list.
"The trouble with life is there's no background music."


Rolly


Jun 17, 2005, 10:56 AM

Post #13 of 51 (14803 views)

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Re: [gbatrucks] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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What do you mean by "the list?" Is that a simple list of items? In what language? Or do mean they want a menaje?

Rolly Pirate


Anonimo

Jun 17, 2005, 5:52 PM

Post #14 of 51 (14751 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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I'm following this thread closely and subscribing to it for email notification.



Saludos,
Anonimo


jdeciucies

Jun 18, 2005, 3:02 PM

Post #15 of 51 (14672 views)

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Re: [Ratigan] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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Hope this helpa: recently obtained FM-3 in Miami, age 51. Age was not the consideration, but income was. I had a letter from my employer stating my retired status and several bank statements showing my monthly pension deposits. Absolutely no problems, and no discussion of 5000 limits when i applied for and received the menaje as well. All depends on how anal the consulate is.


1ajijic


Jun 18, 2005, 4:13 PM

Post #16 of 51 (14662 views)

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Re: [jdeciucies] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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It has been said many times. Each consulate makes up their own rules and you have to use the consulate closest to your home. All experiences will vary based on locale. The other option is to get the FM3 here which is probably the easiest, but, also varies with location.
http://www.newbeginningsmexico.com


olalla


Jun 18, 2005, 5:25 PM

Post #17 of 51 (14641 views)

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Re: [1ajijic] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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Despite what several people have written, you do not have to go back to your own consulate to get your menaje approved. Your mover can handle all of that. You do have to give the mover the list including the model and serial numbers of everything with a cord, along with a copy of your passport and verification of your address. They take it from there. If your mover won't do it, get another mover.


Georgia


Jun 20, 2005, 7:52 AM

Post #18 of 51 (14539 views)

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Re: [stanwolf] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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Actually, when you ship household belongings with Mexpack they take care of the menaje.


gbatrucks


Jun 20, 2005, 9:33 AM

Post #19 of 51 (14528 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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When I asked Strom, they replied " Yes you are required to have a Mexican Consulate Stamped Inventory Visa if your are crossing your belongings in a commercial trailer."
"The trouble with life is there's no background music."


Georgia


Jun 20, 2005, 5:23 PM

Post #20 of 51 (14474 views)

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Re: [gbatrucks] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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If that commercial mover won't take care of the paperwork for you, use someone else.


RosanaHart

Jun 21, 2005, 7:35 PM

Post #21 of 51 (14384 views)

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Re: [Ratigan] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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I'm not saying you could count on something like this, but I do know two different people with FM3s who have come into Mexico with a fair amount of stuff in their vehicles and been charged nothing. One friend had a brand new mountain bike in his SUV, along with a bunch of new clothing and some other things... this was earlier this year. He is a very friendly person and speaks Spanish quite fluently. He said that he and the customs guy had a pleasant chat about getting in condition by biking and then he was waved on.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Rosana Hart
http://www.mexico-with-heart.com


lakechapaladreamer

Nov 11, 2006, 4:00 PM

Post #22 of 51 (14172 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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We are leaving for Ajijic at the end of the month and are buying a few things for our house, mostly linens and a mattress topper from Costco. If we are using a mover, will we need to take all new (non-electrical) items out of the original wrapping, or is customs mainly just interested in electrical stuff not being new? We will be using a Menaje de Casa and have our FM-3s.


Bloviator

Nov 12, 2006, 5:40 AM

Post #23 of 51 (14138 views)

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Re: [hartworks] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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We went through two times, once with my FM3 and once with my wife's. The first time, they charged us $110 pesos for our completely packed SUV. The second time, for some reason we just spaced out. We had no inventory list, having forgotten to prepare one. It was a cold January day and they didn't really want to deal with us. Plus, I swear, the realized that we were just very much confused and perhaps a little stupid. They just passed us on through with no taxes.

Our main inventory came through with Strom. At that time, they took care of everything. They loved me because I made my own inventory list, but they would have done so. That was under the real Stroms. Perhaps things have changed, I don't know.


(This post was edited by dlyman6500 on Nov 12, 2006, 5:43 AM)


Curandero

Nov 18, 2006, 8:03 AM

Post #24 of 51 (14046 views)

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Re: [dlyman6500] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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Hola, gringos. My first post. The FM 3 and the menaje stuff interests me, but I've always done the Mexico residence thing a bit differently. I have a Mexican degree, plus MA and 3 yrs toward doctorate in Hispanic Lit, and have lived in Colombia as well. My whole life has been Mexican language and culture, and though I'm a gringo most wouldn't guess it. So I've been able to bring things across on a tourist visa and somehow talk my way through it when I was stopped at those check points. Over four years ago I moved down to Xalapa and brought espresso maker, laptop, kitchen stuff, guitar, and -- get this -- a $1200 electronic piano with its stand which I actually used to play and receive moolah under the table. I worked freelance as an editor and translator, and had payments made into my account in the US. As a tourist, you just have to find a fiador and get a cheap apartment. When the 180 days start to expire, take a little trip north and renew. You can also bring a few more things down. I know it's an odd approach, but it works. I now live in Tucson, but I'll be returning to Xalapa in two years. For good, probably. Maybe I'll have to go "legitimate" by then, ¿Quién sabe?


Rolly


Nov 18, 2006, 10:19 AM

Post #25 of 51 (14032 views)

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Re: [Curandero] Taxes/fines on bringing new items into Mexico?

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Glad you had good luck at the border. But it is worth noting that the laptop, guitar and keyboard are all duty-free items. So only the espresso thing and the kitchen stuff were subject to duty, and the aduana probably figured they were within the $50 limit.

Rolly Pirate
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