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Mexican RFC: Everything You Need to Know
VAT Ai Team

As online sales grow globally, e-commerce sellers seek to expand into new markets. One such market with major potential is Mexico, yet its tax system presents hurdles for foreign entities. To legally sell goods and services in Mexico, international companies must obtain a Registro Federal de Contribuyentes, or RFC. This unique tax ID number allows businesses to comply with Mexico's tax laws and policies. In this blog, we will provide a simple guide for online sellers looking to obtain an RFC, outlining everything you need to know for a smooth registration process and continued compliance when selling goods online to Mexican consumers. With the proper understanding of Mexico's tax requirements, e-commerce businesses can confidently expand while adhering to regulations.

What Is Mexican RFC Registration?

The Registro Federal de Contribuyentes (RFC) is Mexico's federal taxpayer registration. The RFC serves as a unique identification number that allows businesses and individuals to legally operate and pay taxes in Mexico.

Overview and Purpose

• The RFC is administered by Mexico's Servicio de Administratión

Tributaria (SAT), the Mexican Tax Authority.

• The RFC registration process registers businesses and individuals with

SAT for tax purposes.

• Once registered, the entity receives an RFC number that serves as a unique identifier similar to an SSN or EIN.

Required for E-Commerce Sellers

Per Mexican law, all businesses and individuals conducting commercial activities in Mexico must obtain the RFC. This includes:

• Foreign online merchants selling goods or services to customers based in Mexico.

• Marketplace platforms like Amazon facilitating transactions from

Mexican buyers.

Failure to acquire the RFC when operating commercially in Mexico can result in financial penalties from SAT or blocking from payment providers.

Who Needs an RFC Number in Mexico?

Companies and individuals who want to engage in e-commerce and sell products or services online in Mexico must obtain an RFC number, which serves as a federal taxpayer identification. There are a few key situations where an RFC will be required:

• Non-Mexican companies without an established legal entity in Mexico that want to sell products or services online to customers located in Mexico must acquire an RFC number. This includes online marketplace sellers and e-commerce websites targeting Mexican buyers.

• Individual entrepreneurs, sole proprietors, service providers, and freelancers located outside of Mexico planning to sell products or services online to Mexican residents will need to get an RFC number.

• Mexican citizens or foreign residents living in Mexico selling online require an RFC number to comply with SAT tax obligations and issue digital invoices. Both individuals and legal entities need one.

• Businesses with a legal entity set up in Mexico already have an RFC number. However, foreign owners, shareholders or high-level personnel are also expected to acquire an RFC.

In summary, the RFC number allows online merchants selling to Mexico to comply with tax duties, issue invoices, open a Mexican bank account, import and export goods, and gain credibility with customers. Any seller targeting Mexican e-commerce is advised to apply for one with the SAT. Those unsure if they need one or not are recommended to consult with an accountant or lawyer specialized in Mexican tax law and e-commerce.

How to Obtain Your RFC Number as a Foreign Seller

To legally conduct business and commerce in Mexico as a foreign seller, you must first obtain a Registro Federal de Contribuyentes (RFC) number, which is issued by the Servicio de Administración Tributaria (SAT). This unique 13-digit tax identification code allows you to pay taxes, issue digital invoices (called CFDIs) to customers, import/export goods, open a Mexican bank account, and more.

Follow these key steps to get your RFC:

• Determine your tax residency status - There are two main categories for foreign RFC applicants: tax residents and non-residents. Your status depends on factors like the length of your stay in Mexico, visa type, purpose for obtaining the FC, etc. Non-residents have a simpler application process.

• Gather required documents - At minimum, you'll need a passport, proof of address in your home country, and possibly other supplementary paperwork to verify identity. Requirements can vary for residents vs. non-residents.

• File online or visit an SAT office - You can either file for your RFC digitally through the SAT website or make an appointment to apply in person at an SAT administrative office in Mexico. Processing is typically faster online.

• Receive your RFC - After your application is reviewed, you'll be issued your 13-digit RFC number. This code serves as your identification for tax and business purposes when selling products or services in Mexico.

• Get an e. firma (digital stamp) for invoices - To legally issue electronic CFDI invoices to customers, your RFC must be linked to an efirma (electronic signature). This encrypts invoices with a verification code.

As a foreign seller, properly obtaining this identifying tax number is essential for legally operating in Mexico. Confirm the specific requirements for your residency status and purpose of stay before starting the process. Consulting a local tax advisor can also help ensure you submit the necessary documentation and follow all regulations.

Using Your RFC for Mexican Tax Compliance and Reporting

Once you obtain your RFC number, here are the key ways you will use it for tax compliance and reporting in Mexico:

• File Monthly and Annual Tax Returns - All companies registered in Mexico must file monthly value-added tax (VAT) returns and annual income tax returns using an electronic signature (.firma) associated with your RFC number. These outline sales volumes, VAT collected, and total income. You will need accounting software or an accountant to help prepare these.

• Issue Digital Tax Receipts - Any sales to Mexican consumers require you to issue a digital receipt called a "Comprobante Fiscal Digital" (CFD) which contains your FC. This helps ensure the buyer can deduct the purchase and allows tax authorities to track transactions.

• Report Payroll Taxes - If you hire employees in Mexico, you must report employee salaries and calculate income tax and social security payments each month using your FC. Payroll rules can be complex, so many companies use a service provider.

• Stay Current on Changes - Mexico's tax laws and reporting requirements change frequently. Sign up for updates from SAT (Mexico's IRS) using your RFC or follow current events to avoid penalties.

The RFC brings companies into Mexico's tax ecosystem. While it creates administration work, the long-term opportunity in Mexico's large market makes it worthwhile. Engage knowledgeable accounting and legal support to ensure ongoing compliance. With the right help, your Mexican FC can power your company's growth for years to come.

RFC Registration FAQs

When establishing an online business to sell products in Mexico, registering for an RFC tax number is a necessary step. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the process:

• What is an RFC?

The Registro Federal de Contribuyentes (RFC) is a tax identification number required for individuals and companies to conduct business and pay taxes in


• Who needs an RFC?

Any foreign company or seller that wants to ship commercial goods into Mexico, open a business bank account, import/export, or sell products and services to customers in Mexico needs an RFC.

• How do I apply for my RFC as a foreign business?

You can hire a tax advisor or accounting firm in Mexico to handle the application on your behalf. Alternatively, you can work with an apostilled FC agent service that specializes in assisting foreign nationals and businesses to obtain FC numbers remotely.

• What documents do I need to supply?

At minimum, you will need to provide official copies of business licenses, tax IDs, articles of incorporation, passports/photo IDs for company owners or officers and completed RFC application forms. Some additional paperwork may be required depending on your business structure.

• How long does it take to get my RFC number?

The standard processing time is 4-6 weeks. Hiring professional services can help expedite the process. You'll receive a digital copy of your registration confirmation with RFC details.

• Do I need to visit Mexico or have a registered address to apply?

No, the entire RFC application process can be handled remotely by authorized third-party agents without needing to travel to Mexico or have a registered Mexican address.

Obtaining an RFC enables you to legally sell products and services in Mexico. Be sure to work with a reputable RFC agent to ensure proper registration and tax compliance.

In conclusion, a Mexican RFC is a requirement for all businesses selling online in Mexico. Though the process of obtaining one can seem daunting to international sellers, there are many reputable services that can assist with the application and guide sellers through the necessary steps. With an RFC, the door opens to this lucrative e-commerce market. Businesses that educate themselves, plan ahead, and enlist help where needed will be best positioned to navigate the process smoothly and begin legally selling their products to millions of Mexican online shoppers.

VAT Ai provides a complete suite of services required for the registration & filing of your RFC in Mexico. For more details, contact us to learn more.

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