Starting a Business in Mexico

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Escrito por Scott desde ( el día sábado, 12 de noviembre, 2005 a las 14:38:16 horas :

Your understanding of business formation/ownership in Mexico is way off base. You've been misinformed. Best bet is for someone to speak with a Notario Publico, before forming/buying a business.

First, you're going to go to public notary, and tell them that you want to start a business. First, they are going to ask if you have an FM3 and tax number (RFC). If you are a retiree with an pensioner visa, or an FM3 under any other category, you're in luck. Things should go smoothly for you.

If not, the notary is going to tell you that he can't form a business without the shareholders having tax numbers. Then he or his assistants will either tell you or imply that they can't be bothered dealing with a company formed solely by foreigners, because they don't know the laws.

So you'll go to the tax office, and ask how to get yourself inscribed in the registro federal de contribuyentes. They'll tell you that you need an FM3 to be inscribed.

So then you'll go to immigration, and ask: how do I get an FM3 to operate a business? Immigration will tell you that you must already have the business on paper in order to get an FM3 to operate and / or work for that business.

So for those who do not already have an FM3 as a pensioner or other means, it is a vicious circle, and very difficult to deal with.

Eventually, you'll figure it out, after many trips to immigration, the tax office, and the notary. Of course, none of these people will speak English, except maybe some of the folks at immigration.

Immigration is then going to tell you that they need proof that your new business is a real company. They are going to ask to see photos of your work locat1on, your desks and computers, the outside of your building, and so on. But when you go to rent your office, in the name of the company, the landlord is going to ask to see your FM3. By this point, you're going to have a company that exists on paper, but that you can't legally operate. But anyway, you're going to rent your office, but when you are setting it up, you can't make any deductions from your taxes for what you are buying.

If you do, and you have dealings with hacienda beyond zero declarations, they're going to threaten to fine you for doing business on a tourist card.

And then they are going to tell you that they might send out an investigator during the FM3 process to see your office locat1on. But your office was rented after the company was created, in the name of the company, but that it's real fiscal address is the address you registered with the tax office before you had your RFC which you needed to rent the office in the first place. So they're going to tell you to set up the office at the fiscal address that was in the original papers, until your immigration papers are approved.

And then after several months of this, one day at what you thought was the very end, they're going to ask to see your apostilled titulos, showing that you have expertise in the area of business that you declared in your formal acta constitutiva.

So after dealing with this issue, they're going to take your papers upstairs to the review them with a higher up, to see if they are eligible to be formally submitted. Then they're going to come back and tell you something very bad, that sort of defies your better judgement, like that the tourist card number of anyone named in the acta constitutiva needs be included in addition to their passport number that the notary used for identification.

So you're going to realize that even the notary who finally accepted to create your company, wholly owned by foreigners, he didn't even know how to do it correctly. And to make matters worse, since your tourist card was only good for up to 6 months, and this process has taken several months, you've had to leave the country and re-enter, turning in your old card on the way out. And now you don't know what one of your partners old tourist card number was when he originally signed the papers.

Once you figure this out, they're finally going to ask to see the money. They will hopefully understand that you can't yet open a Mexican bank account, and will accept recent bank statements in your name from your American / Canadian institution.

Then hopefully immigration will accept your papers, and you'll get an FM3 to work for your own company.

But it is NOT easy if you do not already have an FM3. I'm sure those who have had the process go much more smoothly for them are those who already had an FM3 as a pensioner, and / or have Mexican wives as the other poster suggested.

And all along the way there are going to be other minor headaches, like the notary's secretaries not even transcribing your passport number correctly, and so on.

Starting a business in Mexico without previously having an FM3 is not easy. I keep repeating that part about not previously having an FM3 because I'm sure it makes a huge difference to already have one as a pensioner.

Perhaps having $250,000 in the bank would make the process go more smoothly as well. Then you could be classed as a large scale investor, with the FM3 allowing you to soley invest in companies listed on the BMV etc. or any other company you want, rather than as a person trying to operate their own business.

It isn't easy, but it can be done.

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