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SECTION VI.—PUBLIC FINANCE AND BANKING

THE TAX SYSTEM OF MEXICO

LORING OLMSTED, Mexico City

The Tax Law (Ley de Ingresos) of Mexico is an authorization of those taxes which shall be legal, by virtue of this law, for the procuring of revenue for the ensuing year with which to meet the Government's expenses, for and during that period. Sometimes one or more of the resources specified are not utilized, and thus no revenue is produced from such item in the list of authorized levies.

In recent years these Tax Laws have been formulated by the Executive by virtue of special powers delegated to him by Congress.

In 1920 the law was thus made by the Executive. It was accompanied by a prefatory statement that such action was taken because Congress had failed to enact the law providing for the taxes necessary to cover the annual estimate of expenses.

For the year 1921, also, President Obregon, by virtue of the special powers conferred upon the Executive in Treasury matters, stated that the Executive's draft of the budget sent to the House was approved and then sent to the Senate for consideration of its constitutional aspects; but inasmuch as it was not acted upon by that Chamber, and as the amendments suggested by the House also required detailed study and the time was limited, he therefore decreed that the law covering the 1920 budget should be extended to the year 1921 also. Since Congress failed to enact a new law for the year 1922, the law of 1921, with the modifications made in

year, was continued by a circular issued under orders of the President by the Secretary of the Treasury, Adolfo de la Huerta.

The law for 1923 has been duly enacted by Congress and the estimates of the amount to be realized from its operation have just been approved. These accordingly are given with the law.

In order that an understanding may be had of the general features of the Tax System, it has seemed best to give the law for 1923 nearly in its entirety, but some of the clauses are transposed so as to make the matter clearer.

The Federal Tax Law for 1923 in the modified form mentioned above, is as follows, the matter in parentheses being observations or explanatory matter, not belonging to the text of the law :

that

A. TAX LAW OF THE FEDERAL TREASURY FOR THE

FISCAL YEAR 1923

Article 1. During the fiscal year of 1923, the federal revenues shall consist of the following imposts, duties, products and in

comes.

IMPOSTS AND DUTIES

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I. IMPORT DUTIES

(Estimated product, in pesos) a. Import duties

55,000,000 b. Ten per cent surcharge on import duties...

15,500,000
(This is the old redemption of the “infalsificables”
in banknotes—which have now been covered. There are
practically none in the market, but as the redemption
was fixed at ten per cent of their face value, and the
public has become accustomed to the tax, it goes on as

a revenue producer.)
Surcharge on imports by postal service....

500,000
(This has been increased from 25% to 50% of the
duties. It was originally designed to bring in an
amount equal to the consular fees in the case of im-

portation by other channels.) d. A certain per cent ad valorem, to be a surcharge upon certain specified articles......

400.000 (This is the product of certain special taxes or surcharges on imports to which special decrees have referred in their respective cases.)

II. DUTIES ON EXPORTS a. Export duties....

6,000,000 b. Surcharge on exports by postal service...

100 (This is 25% of the regular duties.) C. Export charge or tax on national petroleum...... 26,000,000

(This is payable monthly. The tax is determined at the close of each month and is payable during the month following. It varies with the market price of oil in New York, so that, for a clearer understanding of it, the circular issued at the end of December, 1922, is copied here. The prices are in Mexican pesos and an addition is made in the column at the right giving the equivalent in charges per barrel since the unit adopted by the Mexican government is the cubic metre.)

Pesos per

Pesos per

Calculated Values-
Fuel Oil, 0.95 density..
Gasoline
Kerosene

cu. met. $ 20.14 103.56 42.27

barrel $ 3.20 16.47 6.72

Circular

According to the provisions 3rd and 4th of the
Decree of May 17, 1922, the cuotas for Dec., 1922, shall
be the following:
Crude Petroleum, 0.93 density....$2.557 $0.4066
Crude Petroleum, 0.96 or more. 1.410

0.2241
Fuel Oil, 0.95 density..

2.336

0.3714 Crude Gasoline..

4.142

0.6586 Refined Gasoline.

2.071

0.3293 Crude Kerosene..

2.536

0.3714 Refined Kerosene.

1.268

0.2011 Lubricants

2.500

0.3975
Paraffine, per metric ton, pesos. . $2.00
Asphalt, per metric ton, pesos...

0.25 Goods subject to export and import taxes will pay, besides, a surcharge of two per cent on the amount of such taxes, which shall be applied in favor of the municipality wherein is situated the respective customhouse.

a.

III. MARITIME TRAFFIC AND NAVIGATION TAX
Services rendered in ports..

200 b. Maritime traffic charges.....

2,000,000 c. Loading and unloading charges.

400,000 d. Coastwise traffic charges.

600,000 Tax for Navigation Patent, Matriculation and Registry

5,000 f. Measurement fees.........

5,000 (Boats of national registration in the coasting trade, and of less than a hundred tons, are exempt from charges under this tax.)

e.

IV. CUSTOMS SERVICE

a.

Guard and storage..... b. Charges for inspection of animals, seeds, fruits, etc..... C. Extra services.....

150,000

5,000 10,000

V

Transit Charges...

5,000

VI. CONSULAR CHARGES

a.

Certifying documents according to the Customs Reg

ulations. b. Legalizing Signatures. C. Certifying as to the legality of foreign organizations. d. Certifying, and other acts according to dispositions

in force.

e. Issuing, renewing and visé of passports in the Con

sulates.
Total

$10,000,000
(The following extracts from Articles 3 and 4 of
this law are of interest:

Art. 3. The consular charges, referred to in Frac.
VI of Art. 1 of this law, shall be collected in the
following manner:
(a) Those in section (a) according to the provisions

in the General Regulations of Custom Houses,
and such modifications as may be made subse-

quently.
(b) For legalizing signatures as referred to in Sec-

tion (b) of Frac. VI Art. 1, of this law, the
charge shall be ten pesos for each signature
legalized, in whatever form the legalization be

done.
(c) Certificates issued as per Frac. VI, Section (c)

of this law as to the legality of the constitution
of foreign organizations, in compliance with the
Commercial Code and the laws of Nov. 19, 1897,
and July 4, 1902,—the fee shall be one hundred

pesos for each certificate.
(d) For such other certificates and acts specified in

other dispositions than those expressed in the pre-
ceding sections, the charge shall be ten pesos for

each one, or such act as may be determined.
(e) For certifying to the list or manifest of a crew,

ten pesos.

(f) For visé, or renewal, in a Mexican Consulate, of

passports, referred to in Sec. (e) of Frac. VI of
this law, a charge of twenty pesos for each visé,
renewal or issue of passports issued to foreigners
by Mexican Consulates or issued by foreign

authorities.
Art. 4. The charges referred to in Art. 3 of this
law and in Frac. VI of Art. 1, shall be collected by
ministers, diplomatic officers and consuls abroad;
moreover, when such officials find it necessary to employ
legal counsel for the issuance of certificates, the fees
of such counsel shall be paid by the organization or
person interested, independently of the respective con-
sular fees.)

VII

General Stamp Tax on all Documents, contracts,

etc.

$20,000,000

VIII

Federal surtax on all taxes received at the tax collect

ing offices of all States, Territories, Federal District
and municipalities. Twenty-five per cent on all
such payments.....

(This was reduced in 1922 from 50%.)

-$20,000,000

a.

IX. SPECIAL TAXES

(Viz.: Twenty Per Cent Ad Valorem) Manufactured tobacco.........

(To illustrate: On cigarettes this tax is one cent for each five cents of the value of a packet, or for fraction of five cents.)

$5,000,000

b. Cotton fabrics, spun or woven..

(Five per cent of invoice from manufacturer, in

special stamps.) c. Tax on value of all prizes paid by lotteries.......

(This varies from a high percentage of the large

prizes to a small one on the lower prizes drawn.) d. Tax on real property, rural or urban..

(This is a new tax. Hitherto the taxes on real prop

erty have been only levied by the States.)
e. Tax of ten per cent upon the gross receipts of all rail-
roads .....

$10,000,000
(This is also a new tax, designed to cover the pay-
ment to the committee of the foreign bondholders in ac-
cordance with the terms of the Lamont-de la Huerta
agreement. Articles 17 and 18 provide that this shall
be collected in such a manner as not to fall upon the
existing freight and passenger tariffs, and authorize
the Executive to establish proper regulations for its col.
lection. A law was published January 31st providing
for the collection of this tax by means of special
stamps.)

X

a.

Special taxes to be covered in stamps or cash, as the Executive
may determine:
a. Tax on the production of wines, excepting those legiti-

mately made from grapes, sugar cane or fruits; and
on the production of alcohols, spirits, liquors,
tequilas, mezcals, pulques and tlachique (incom-
pletely fermented maguey sap) of national origin,
which are to be levied by allocation according to the
enabling laws, provisions and circulars which the
Executive may direct with that object, and which
are expected to produce the following amounts:

Alcohols, liquors, spirits, tequilas, mezcals and
wines of national production........

6,500,000
Pulques, tlachique and the like, of national pro-
duction

5,000,000
(The pulque tax is about double the former one and
the alcohol, etc., tax is an increase of about two mil-
lions over its predecessor. It is also now collected in a
different form.)

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