Tag Archives: not the news

No More Tenencia?

For those of you who do not have the privilege of owning a vehicle in Mexico, this will be of little interest.

For those that do, you probably know it already: in Mexico we have to pay a tenencia, or tax just to own a car. This on top of all the other taxes that one must pay in Mexico, this great land where those that pay taxes (30% of the population) pay for the other 70% who either evade taxes completely – those at the top end of the economic spectrum with good fiscal lawyers – and those who are ‘too poor’  at the bottom, because ‘ay poooobres‘ the government and politicians feel sorry for them.  They don’t want to help them, educate, raise the minimum wage, whatever; but they do feel sorry for them. And so they don’t pay taxes either.

Once again I digress. I was talking about the tenencia.
In a nutshell, it is a tax that is based on the value of the car and decreases as the car ages. Implemented in the late 1960’s to pay for the Mexico City Olympics, it turned into such a cash cow that it never went away.

There has been talk about the tax being unconstitutional and the voices, during the 20 years I have lived here, have become louder and more strident; this tax is obsolete ie. the Olympics have been paid for many times over , it is unconstitutional and should be abolished for once and for all.

In the last presidential election campaign, Felipe Calderón promised to eliminate this tax. Today I received an email that explains that he has eliminated the tax at the federal level and has left it up to each state to decide whether or not they want to continue charging this tax. This is why, in a bold and rare move, the state government of Queretaro has eliminated the tenencia tax altogether. Finally, some good news!

So if you are here in the Yucatan and wondering why we pay this onerous tax, know that it is now in the hands of our governor, not Felipe Calderón.

Welcome to LawsonsYucatan!

If you have found this then you are on the new William Lawson Yucatan site!

This will be the new repository for all things related to William Lawson and my take on life in the Yucatan, which dates from the NotTheNews days to the elmaloso blog to the Casual Restaurant Critic blog. This is over 10 years of writing about life here. Eventually, it will all be here.

The immediate priority is to get the theme (the look of this WordPress blog) working, and then transfer content from the other online areas and sites to ‘populate’ this one. Sort of a one-stop for all things related to the topic of life in Merida or Yucatan, from a neurotic foreigners point of view.

Comment at will and spread the word!

More on the $2000 Peso Rule for Small Business Owners

This note is of interest for those considering coming to Mexico and starting a small (or large) business…

In their infinite and constantly increasing wisdom, the powers that be at the Secretaria de Hacienda y Planeacion (SHCP) known simply as ‘Hacienda’ established a rule that said you can not declare as a legitimate expense any expense that reaches or exceeds $2000 pesos if you paid for it in cash. This ingenious little rule will somehow make the country less prone to tax evasion and help the 30% of Mexico that pays taxes pay more taxes either directly or in fines and therefore support the other 70% that pays no taxes whatsoever.

Let’s say you are buying something in Costco and the bill comes to $1999.99. That’s OK, you can pay in cash. But if it comes to $2000.01 then you must pay with a company check.

There are a couple of ways around this little rule, none of them particularly illegal (check with your accountant though, don’t take my neurotic word for it):

  • Let’s say you have $7000 pesos worth of goods you have bought for your business. You ask the cashier, or the person who is making up your invoice, to split the purchase into several separate purchases with each invoice totaling less than the $2000 peso total. This way you can pay for them in cash (petty cash) and then issue a check later for reposition of petty cash. This helps because if you want to pay by check in some of these places, it’s a pain in the butt since you will need to have extra paperwork done in the case of Sam’s Club or Costco, for example.
  • The other way is to pay your $7000 in cash; then make the check, and it’s accompanying poliza* out separately. Make the check out to yourself, but on the poliza make it look like the check was paid to the company in question.

This ‘petty cash’ rule is one of the rules that business owners must abide by and that make doing business in Mexico such a downright pleasure, especially when you see so many people not paying any taxes at all; it makes you feel proud to be part of that select group that pays for all the rest of the population.

The poliza is the copy of the check that must accompany each and every check in your accounting records and contains all the information on the check. It’s usually green which is another bit of completely useless information.

Oaxaca and Mexico City / Mob Rule in Mexico

I have lived in Mexico for some time now, and it is amazing to me how this country cannot move forward. Or maybe it is and I haven’t noticed; the times we are living in, are the baby steps (complete with leaky, shit-filled diapers) the country is taking in the direction of a true democracy.

Excuse me – I had to laugh while I wrote that last line.

The situation in Oaxaca, where a screaming militant mob disguised as a teachers union has taken over the city center until their demands to negotiate with the federal government are met, is completely over the top. They will not negotiate at the state level and would like the governor removed, thank you very much. Maybe they would enjoy a non-fat latté with that order? Anyone living in Oaxaca or wanting to visit the city are prevented from visiting the city center thanks to these hooligans who may or may not be justified in their demands. The fact is, they are affecting the interests of many many other people who have nothing to do with their protest. The owners of businesses in downtown Oaxaca are unable to open, since there is no one to open for, besides the protesters. This has been going on for over 80 days now. No one has done anything. The governor is either incompetent, impotent or an idiot. I suspect maybe all three.

Not to be outdone, in Mexico City, the thugs, goons and all those lazy shits who prefer protesting to actually getting a job have been hired by the second place presidential candidate, Andres Manuel Lope Obrador (PRD) to blocking entire avenues in the nation’s capital. Hotels, restaurants and other businesses are suffering, as are all the people who have jobs in the area. No pedestrians or cars can enter the Reforma zone and the protest has spread to other areas as well, including banks and toll road booths leading in and out of the city. One of the largest cities in the world is becoming a parking lot, thanks to a few misguided militant mudslingers holding it’s 24 million inhabitants ransom.

My question is this: where in the hell are the laws in this country? Is there no law that says that blocking streets to effect a protest is illegal? In Mexico City there is one, put into place by a former mayor of Mexico City by the name of… get this: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. This guy, AMLO, is the Master of Cynicism. The current ‘elected’ mayor of the city is a Lopez Obrador crony (also PRD) who has refused to move the protesters since this would be considered ‘repression’. So much for the rule of law. It’s mob rule.

And the federal government has not intervened – not in Mexico City, not in Oaxaca – since that would make them seem ‘repressive’ and that the situations in both cases are state issues that have nothing to do with the federal government. I wonder if anyone in the federal government has any balls whatsoever or were they all castrated before moving into Los Pinos?

What a crock of shit. If a state governor cannot (or will not) act in favor of ALL the citizens of his or her jurisdiction, then there must be a mechanism by which a higher authority – in this case the federal government – steps in to restore order.

President Fox has tried to limit his interference in state and local issues, preferring to let the system deal with these as they arise. This is probably good in a democracy. But a democracy must have that mechanism mentioned in the previous paragraph. Can he just sit idly by as millions of dollars are lost each day and thousand remain unable to work or freely move about their cities? So he hides behind his position of ‘I don’t want to go down as a repressive Presidente‘. Well gues what Vicente? You are going down in history as the most useless, ineffectual and ‘most given to making idiotic declarations’ of all Presidentes. I mean, Zedillo was pretty lame. But your presidency takes the cake.

As you can tell by this rant, it pisses me off to no end that the Mexican politicians in power right now are so chicken-shit and unable to restore the rule of law. There is no law in Mexico right now. If you get enough people together, you can do whatever the hell you want. No one will interfere since they don’t want to appear ‘repressive’ and use that excuse to hide behind their cowardice.

Viva Mexico!