On July 13, 2012, the Mexican President, Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa, published in the Federal Official Gazette the Decree that amends, adds and revokes several provisions of the Internal Regulations of the Tax Administration Service (the "Decree"), which will enter into force within one-month from the day following its publication, i.e. on Thursday, August 16th, 2012. Exception is made of the reform to Article 37 of the Internal Regulations relating to the creation of Regional Administrations of Foreign Trade and their territorial jurisdiction, which will enter into force when the corresponding administrative regulation enters into force.

Creation of the General Administration of Foreign Trade Auditing

The most relevant aspect of the publication of the Decree is the creation of the eleventh General Administration depending of the Tax Administration Service ("SAT"): the General Administration of Foreign Trade Auditing ("AGACE").

This Decree establishes the faculties of the AGACE, which have two main approaches: foreign trade audits during customs clearance and foreign trade audits after customs clearance.

The Decree sets six offices that will be part of the AGACE, as well as the Regional Administrations of Foreign Trade Auditing.

Regional Administrations of Foreign Trade Auditing will be empowered to exercise their functions within the territorial jurisdiction that corresponds to each of them. These Regional Administrations of the AGACE will continue with the processing of cases according with their authority which used to be in charge of the Local Administrations of Tax Auditing dependent of the General Administration of Federal Tax Auditing ("AGAFF").

Moreover, please note that the administrative units assigned to the AGACE shall have the authority to manage both the Importers and Exporters' Registry and the Certified Companies' Registry.

Changes in the Customs General Administration

The following administrative units of the General Customs Administration ("AGA") are eliminated by means of the Decree: Central Administration of Customs Regulations, Central Administration of Customs Planning, Central Administration of Accountancy and Documental Records, Central Administration of Tax and Customs Inspection, and the Central Administration of Customs Modernization.  

Conclusions

According to the transitory provisions of the Decree, in case that any of the administrative units of the SAT changes its name or is eliminated, the new administrative unit shall be competent to conclude handling matters that still pending.

In this regard, the Central Administrations of the AGACE will continue processing the cases within their competence and shall give written notice to taxpayers regarding the replacement of authority.  

The creation of the AGACE is another example of the tendency of tax and customs authorities to emphasize the intelligence and auditing of matters relating to foreign trade.

The AGACE will be implementing new research and planning risk models to develop new auditing strategies focusing on international and inter-institutional exchange of information to enable the authorities to have greater visibility of foreign trade activities carried out by taxpayers.