Paying Our Property Taxes in Mexico

Source: Linda Kurtzweil

In 2015, my wife and I sold our modest Florida home where we had lived for over a decade and bought a 2 BR/ 2 BA condo in a gated community in the Riviera Maya. Since our former home and our new condo were similar in terms of value, I originally expected the property taxes to be similar as well — about $1,600 USD a year.

I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of money to many of the readers — especially those living in California where property values are insanely high — but like I said, it was a modest house.

The Riviera Maya is a popular tourist destination and property values are often higher than many other parts of the country. Nevertheless, our property taxes for 2018 only came to $2,832 pesos or about $153 USD.

That amount reflects the discount that we received for paying it early.

Let’s Wrap This Up

When I told a friend of mine back home how much our property taxes were, he jokingly asked if we lived in a tent in the middle of a vacant field. He then commented that his cell phone bill was more than that every month.

I think that Americans in particular have trouble accepting that you can spend less money and still improve your quality of life. Most of us were raised hearing the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ and as a result, we tend to determine quality based on price.

Admittedly, I used to hold the same belief before we moved to Mexico; however, after experiencing the opposite to be true time and time again down here, I have since changed my tune.

About the Author

Q-Roo Paul

Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years and retired at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He moved to Mexico with his wife six days later to enjoy a laid-back, Caribbean lifestyle on a tight budget.

In 2016, Paul started a blog to share information with other people who may be thinking of making the move to Mexico. The blog, Two Expats Living in Mexico (qroo.us), has been viewed over a million times and Paul’s articles appear in periodicals across Mexico.

36 Comments on "Paying Our Property Taxes in Mexico"

  1. You are so right-on! Can’t wait to move to the Riviera Maya next year…currently paying almost $7000 a year in property taxes for a similar sized condo in a gated community in Huntington Beach, California….crazy!

  2. Our annual property taxes for our beautiful three bedroom home in Cabo San Lucas are $123 USD per year. (Our property taxes were $11,000 a year in California!) Love living in Mexico!

  3. Just out of curiosity, what is the value of the property that you purchased in Riviera Maya? Just so we can understand the tax rate on the total value.

    • I don’t mind answering that one. Ours is a 3 bed 3 bath two story condo with about 1800 s/ft. We paid 145k pre-construction seven Don’t know for sure because haven’t checked market but in today’s prices I’d bet it would probably be worth 200k. Maybe more. Property taxes for us last year were around 2700 pesos – at current exchange rate right at $200 USD for the year.

  4. We are in La Penita (about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta) and our yearly property taxes are $27.

  5. David Allen Akins | December 4, 2017 at 11:43 am | Reply

    In a sense you do “get what you pay for”.

    In the US these taxes pay the lion’s share of the expenses for basic services provided by a city or county:
    • Local road maintenance/signs/lights
    • Utilities infrastructure (water/wastewater/trash are typically city-administered; electrical and telecom it handled more directly by providers, but government has a hand in it)
    • Local first responders (police/fire/EMS)
    • Local government offices (courts, county clerk, commissioner, animal control)
    • Mass transit subsidies (lowers the ticket price to encourage ridership by making everyone pay a little from their other taxes whether they ride or not)
    • Municipal facilities (parks, pools, etc)
    • Public schools and interscholastic facilities (teachers’ salaries, building maintenance/upkeep, administration, athletic facilities)

    However, the average citizen cannot afford higher taxes which means there is a lower tax base to improve infrastructure, properly treat water, raise the salary of teachers, improve the public school system, and raise the salary of underpaid police, fire, and other first responders.

    • I’m certainly not arguing that property taxes are necessary but they can be excessive in many parts of the country.

      The problem with property taxes is that they are not based on income. When we retired, we lost 67% of our annual household income; however, our property taxes stayed the same. When you factor in the high cost of everything else in the U.S. (e.g. health insurance), it’s easy to run out of disposable income. Here in Mexico, we don’t have that problem.

      As far as the infrastructure goes in our part of Mexico, it’s actually pretty good. The tourism industry generates a lot of tax revenue.

      • David Allen Akins | December 5, 2017 at 9:27 am | Reply

        As a former deputy sheriff, you are going to get a kick out of this response. I agree that property tax is exceedingly high in many states. In fact, I am shocked at some of the property taxes being reported on your post. And, like you and those with high taxes, I would move if I had to ride a donkey to town (forget the road conditions where I live now). I moved to Mexico for the climate. Back in the US, before I sold, my property tax was exempt for age on the primary homestead residence and only $200 a year on a second residence (a small farm and house). Our roads there were bad, we only had two deputies after midnight patrolling 805 sq. miles with 75,000 residents (that’s a 100% increase with the new sheriff, before we only had one deputy after midnight and he could be found playing an illegal slot machine at a remote rural store). Life in rural Alabama is much different than those states with very high taxes. You can see where I might say, “you get what you pay for” coming from where I lived.

  6. Indeed, Property Taxes are a such good deal, we are paying, with the December Discount, just shy of MX$1800. for our modest townhouse in Playa del Carmen. We payed almost 50% more in dollars back in Canada ..oh yes, no snow here either, happily retired!! Enjoying your postings, Paul, and thank you ~

  7. I’m in Southern California also. Very tempting, especially since my taxes may go up with the proposed rewrite of the Federal Tax Code.

  8. Rick @ Flower Plourde | December 4, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Reply

    Yep, Thats one of the many reasons we are also moving to the Riviera Maya in 2018.
    We sold our modest home in California which we were paying $6700.00 a year in property taxes. Soon California will be a distant memory for us and we will be happy to pay our new tax rate in Mexico.

  9. I think you have to pay $500 a year also for owning by the beach?

  10. Just had to join in on the discussion. Had we stayed in Texas (we moved to San Antonio Tlayacapan earlier this year) our property taxes this year would have been $9,100! That’s several months worth of living expenses down here south of the border. We’re very happy we took the plunge, retired early, and moved to Mexico!

  11. Paul, do you have a feel for how much (percentage) the price of your condo has changed since you purchased? I’m not so much looking to make money, but more to know how much my wife’s reticence in moving is costing us!!

    • Hi Scott. That’s a really tough question to answer because we’ve only been here for about two years.

      I can tell you that the demand still appears to be high for properties like ours and over the last year we have gained several new neighbors.

  12. Our property taxes in Canada are $6000.00 Cdn! My husband keeps telling me thisas a reason to move……

  13. I’m yet another Californian headed to the Riviera thanks to you and this Blog. I don’t know off hand what my property taxes were this year but that’s not why I’m making the move!

    My house here is on the market (the market is HOT) and when it sells I’ll be buying somewhere near you. From my research, again thanks to you, It seems that both the appreciation and the vacation rental market mean I can do as well, if not better, there than here during the 6 years until I make a permanent move – AND I’ll have a free Vacation spot until then! 😀

    One of the hardest parts of the decision to do this is that I will have to eat a SUBSTANTIAL hit in Capital Gains but I am fully committed now!! 😀

    Next time I’m down there drinks are on me!!

    • Good luck on the sale of your home in California. Keep me updated on your progress and let me know when you’re in the area next time so I can collect on that free drink…lol.

  14. What they don’t tell you however is the high closing costs to purchase property. I was shocked by that. About 15000 for a 250000 condo. But the property taxes are about 160 a year and the trust about 450-500

  15. A previous comment mentioned that you get what you pay for because if the taxes are low, you do not get much in the way of infrastructure. In Huatulco the Federal government picks up the tab for most of the infrastructure and it is managed by FONATUR not the local municipality. Big Bonus!

  16. I know you guys are staying there indefinitely, but I heard if anyone sells a condo or house in Mexico, the government takes a lot of money. Have you heard this?

    • It’s similar to a capital gains tax and can be as high as 35%. You can qualify for an exemption though if it is your primary residence and you are a “Mexican tax resident”.

      That means that you can’t use this one for a vacation home or rental.

  17. I tried to pay my property taxes online today, but the site doesn’t recognize my catastro number. I didn’t have any trouble paying online last year. I’m in Xcalak. Does anyone have any suggestions? I used Firefox. My have to try Chrome.

  18. Hey Paul, To add to the conversation, we just sold our house in the Washington DC area, our property taxes were over $14K per year – now it was a nice home, but nothing special. We just closed on a house in the Yucatan… just down the road a bit.. .. As I was going through the closing paperwork, I found the paid property tax for last year, it was a whopping $503 pesos (or $26 dollars)…Life is good!

  19. “Good luck on the sale of your home in California. Keep me updated on your progress and let me know when you’re in the area next time so I can collect on that free drink…lol.”

    If you watch the news down there you are probably aware that California is ON FIRE (once again)! Thankfully my home is not threatened, THIS time, it’s in Central Cali.

    I expect to close a deal in the next 60-90 days and once I have the CASH IN HAND I will be spending all of my available free time in the area looking to spend it – and you have my WORD I’ll be knocking on your door to deliver on my promise when I’m there!! 😀

Leave a Reply