First of all, if you have a vehicle registered anywhere in Mexico, I want you to burn the following date into your brain — or at least put it in your phone calendar:
That’s the cutoff date to renew your vehicle registration each year. It’s also the cutoff date to pay your property taxes.
And don’t wait around for the government to send you a tax bill or some type of reminder to pay because they don’t do that.
Paying Late Can Be Costly
Last year, I paid my car registration in Quintana Roo before March 31st and it cost me $349 pesos (about $18 USD).
One of our friends missed the due date and his registration renewal cost him $7,856 pesos (about $404 USD).
The disparity between the two numbers is not due to a late fee –although a small one is added — it’s because he missed the deadline to participate in a program that waives a special tax on vehicles called a tenencia.
Explaining the Tenencia
The tenencia is a special tax assessed on vehicles that are less than 10 years old.
This is not a flat tax based on the estimated value — because that would be way too easy — but rather it’s calculated using a variety of vehicle factors such as type, age, purpose, and estimated value (Blue Book).
The tenencia dates back to 1962 when it was created under the premise of being a temporary tax to raise money for the 1968 Olympic Games. So much for that idea. Over 50 years later this thing is still hanging around.
Let’s Wrap This Up
Mexico has 31 states and one federal district. Each one of those entities determines if the tenencia will be assessed in their jurisdiction and under what conditions. In some states, like Coahuila and Sonora, the tenencia has evolved into a tax known as el refrendo vehicular.
In Quintana Roo, the program that gives a 100% discount on the tenencia for on-time payment is called Cero Tenencia.
Well, that’s it for today. It’s too nice a day to spend any more of it sitting in front of this laptop teaching folks how to save money. Hasta luego.