Starting a Business in Mexico

An introduction to the process of starting a business in Mexico...

The process of setting up a business in Mexico is not normally difficult or complicated. However, there are a certain number of obligatory steps that must be followed.

The involvement of all of the following is required: a public notary (notario público) and one of the notary’s lawyers, the Mexican tax authorities (SAT) and the Registry for Foreign Investment if any of the owners of the business do not have permanent resident status. Thus it is not possible to say how long the process will take, although it can be relatively quick.

The law governing the creation and operation of a business in Mexico is the Ley General de Sociedades Mercantiles (PDF in Spanish). A Sociedad Civil and Asociación Civil (non-profit association) is governed by the Código Civil Federal.

Note: Requirements for business licensing and registration can vary for different types of business, across different business sectors, and in different states and municipalities. This section provides an overview of the process, and professional advice (from a lawyer, accountant or other specialist) should always be sought.

Who Can Set Up a Business in Mexico?

Anyone who has the legal right to be in the country, or who has appointed power of attorney in the business start-up process, can open a business. The Mexican legal system does not distinguish between foreign and domestic ownership, although if a company is owned or part-owned by anyone not permanently resident in the country, a declaration needs to be made to the Mexican Institute for Foreign Investment.

The Mexican tax system also does not distinguish between businesses owned by Mexican nationals (or by Mexican corporations) or those owned by foreigners (or by foreign corporations), subject to the provisions of any double taxation agreements that may exist.

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