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Thinking of Selling Your Property in Mexico? Don't Get Hit with Unexpected Capital Gains Tax

Many people dream of owning a slice of paradise in Mexico, and that dream often includes property ownership. But what happens when it's time to sell your Mexican property?

Capital gains taxes can come as a surprise for unprepared sellers.

capital gains tax in mexico

Capital Gains Tax in Mexican Pesos, Not Your Purchase Currency

All real estate transactions in Mexico are recorded in Mexican pesos (MXN), regardless of the currency you used for purchase (USD, CAD, etc.). This is essential for calculating your capital gain.

For example, let's say you bought your property in Mexico on January 1, 2010 for $100,000 USD. Fast forward to January 1, 2023, and you sell it again for $100,000 USD. In USD terms, there appears to be no gain. However, you must use the daily exchange rate from the Diario Oficial de la Federación to convert both the purchase and sale prices to MXN for an accurate capital gain calculation.

Exchange rate 1/1/2010: $13.0437 MXN per $1 USD = $1,304,370 MXN (purchase price) Exchange rate 1/1/2023: $19.3615 MXN per $1 USD = $1,936,150 MXN (sale price)

Capital Gain: $631,780 MXN which translates to roughly $32,630.73 USD.

Resident vs. Non-Resident Capital Gains Tax Implications

Mexican residency status significantly impacts capital gains tax. As a non-resident without an RFC (Mexican tax ID number) or CURP (unique population registry code), you face a flat 35% tax on your net capital gain, with an additional 2% withholding tax by the buyer. This can take a big bite out of your profits.

Benefits of Mexican Residency for Capital Gains Tax

Obtaining permanent or temporary residency in Mexico offers significant advantages when it comes to capital gains tax:

  • Potential Exemption for Primary Residence: As a foreign resident with Mexican residency, you may qualify for a complete exemption if you can prove:

  • You're selling your primary residence.

  • You've resided there for at least three years.

  • You have an RFC and CURP.

  • The property doesn't exceed three times the standard home size.

  • Reduced Tax Liability Through Deductions:  Even if you don't qualify for full exemption, being a resident allows you to reduce tax liability by deducting approved expenses related to the property. These include:

  • Officially documented improvements (facturas)

  • Broker fees

  • Legal fees

  • Taxes paid on the property

Maximizing Deductions and Benefits

  • Maintain Official Invoices: Ensure all property improvements and related expenses have official invoices (facturas) to be eligible for deductions.

  • Co-Ownership Advantage: If you co-own the property with your spouse and it's your primary residence, both of you can claim the deduction, potentially further reducing capital gains tax.

Taking Action: Be Prepared for a Smooth Sale

  • Consult a Tax Professional: A Mexican tax advisor can assess your specific situation, calculate potential tax liability, and recommend tax-saving strategies.

  • Plan Your Sale Timeline: Residency requirements for capital gains exemptions can influence your sale timeline, especially for temporary residents.

  • Keep Detailed Records: Maintain thorough records of your property purchase documents, closing costs, inflation adjustments, and improvement invoices. These are essential for accurate capital gains calculations.

By being proactive and informed about capital gains tax in Mexico, you can ensure a smooth and financially sound sale of your Mexican property.

Remember: This article provides general information and shouldn't be considered tax advice. Always consult with a qualified Mexican tax professional for personalized guidance on your specific situation.

Contact us right now if you're looking for a trusted tax professional in the Riviera Maya!


Do I have to pay capital gains tax in Mexico if I am a non-resident?

Yes, non-residents are subject to a flat rate of 35% on the net capital gain from selling a property in Mexico, with an additional 2% withholding tax by the buyer.

Can I reduce my capital gains tax liability?

There are ways to potentially reduce your capital gains tax burden. These include deducting certain expenses from the purchase price and claiming the principal residence exemption (if applicable). Consulting a Mexican tax professional is recommended for personalized advice.

What documents do I need to file my capital gains tax return in Mexico?

The specific documents required will vary depending on your situation. However, you will generally need documentation related to the property purchase and sale, such as the purchase agreement, closing cost receipts, and proof of any deductible expenses.

How long do I have to file my capital gains tax return in Mexico?

You typically have 30 days after the sale of the property to file your capital gains tax return in Mexico.

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