Understanding Mexico’s Carta Porte Supplement

Ramón Frias
June 15, 2021

On 1 May 2021, the Mexican tax administration (SAT) released one of the most important updates to the electronic invoicing system of the country since 2017.

The update was about the new Bill of Lading Supplement (locally known as Suplemento de Carta Porte) that should be added as an annex to the electronic invoice (CFDI) of Transfer (CFDI de Traslado) or to the CFDI of Revenues (CFDI de Ingresos) that are issued for hauling services.

This supplement is based on the provisions of Articles 29 and 29-A of the Fiscal Code of Mexico, and the rule of the Miscellaneous Fiscal Resolution. The articles of the tax code grant the tax administration the power to define the documents to be used for supporting the legal transportation goods inside that country via specific rules. The mentioned rule describes the specific requirements of the Supplement of Carta Porte.

Why has Mexico introduced the Carta Porte supplement?

Latin American countries have a serious problem with tax evasion, usually made possible by smuggling goods without paying the corresponding taxes. According to the information provided by the SAT, 60% of the goods transported in Mexico have an illegal origin.

Therefore, the purpose of enforcing the use of the Carta Porte supplement, whether as an annex to the CFDI of Transfers or the CFDI of Revenues, is to ensure the traceability of the products moved inside the Mexican territory by requiring the provision of additional information about the origin, location, precise destination and routes of transport of the products transferred by roads, rail, water or air in Mexico.

Once this change comes into effect, transporters of goods by road, rail, water or air must have a copy of the Supplement of Carta Porte in the vehicle that proves lawful compliance with this mandate.

Who is required to issue the Carta Porte supplement?

    • The owner of goods transporting its own assets: When the owner is moving assets from one location to another without making a sale (i.e. from a warehouse to retail store) or when such owner is shipping the goods on consignment. The same obligation to issue the Carta Porte supplement applies when the seller ships the goods to their customer using their own means of transport or when they are shipping those goods for export. In those cases the Carta Porte supplement will come as part of the CFDI of Transfers.
    • The intermediaries and agents of transport: These agents of transport are known in Mexico as ‘Agentes de Carga’ and they act as intermediaries between the owners of the goods and the hauling companies controlling the logistics, legal documentation and other issues necessary for the delivery of products. In these cases, they will be required to issue the Carta Porte supplement as part of a CFDI of Transfers. The same obligation applies to those that provide intermediation services on behalf of the owner of the goods being transported.
    • The hauling companies: When they supply services of transportation of goods by whichever means: water, air, road or rail. The suppliers of transportation services should issue a CFDI of Revenues with the Carta Porte supplement.

When will the supplement become mandatory and when should it be issued?

    • The new Carta Porte supplement became effective on 1 June 2021, but its use will become mandatory 120 days counted from that effective date (30 September 2021). The Carta Porte supplement, whether as part of a CFDI of Transfer or a CFDI of Revenues, should be issued by any of the three parties indicated above, before the transportation of goods begins.
    • The transporter of the product should have with him a copy of the digital CFDI of Transfer or the CFDI of Revenues, properly validated with the SAT via the corresponding authorised provider of certification services (PAC). The tax and transportation authorities will enact random verification checks on the roads, airports, waterways, train stations, and other transportation means, to ensure compliance with this mandate.

The Carta Porte as a supplement of the CFDI of Transfers or the CFDI of Revenues

As we know, the new regulations require the Carta Porte supplement to be added to the CFDI of Transfers or to the CFDI of Revenues, depending on who is transporting the goods.

The Carta Porte supplement will be added to the CFDI of Transfers when the transport of goods is made by the owner (i.e. internal distributions between warehouses and stores, consignment, etc.) or when the seller assumes the shipment of the products to the purchaser.

The Carta Porte supplement will also be added to CFDI of Transfers when the shipping of the goods is made by an intermediary or by an agent of transport as explained before. In such cases the current regulations provide that the CFDI should have zero as a value of the products and the RFC key to be used is the generic key established for transactions carried out with the public. In the field for description, the object of the transfer should be specified.

When the Carta Porte supplement is issued as part of the CFDI of Revenues (CFDI de Ingresos) as a result of the goods being transported by a haulage company, the haulage company should issue the CFDI of Revenues with the Carta Porte supplement. However, different to the previous case where the CFDI had a value of zero, the value to be included in the CFDI of Revenues will be the price of transportation services charged by the haulage company to the client.

It is important to mention that Carta Porte supplement does not substitute other documents necessary to prove the legitimate origin or ownership of products. Other additional documents will be required for this purpose.

Documents accompanying the Carta Porte supplement

While the Carta Porte supplement provides clear information about the transportation of goods being transferred, that document alone does not prove the lawful status of the goods being hauled. That status should be proven by whoever is providing the transportation, with the corresponding documents proving the origin of those hauled products, such as import documents, CFDI of Pagos, registrations and licenses etc.

In the case of transportation of petroleum products, the lawful status of the product will be proven with the printed representation of the supplement established for that type of products (the Complemento de Hidrocarburos y Petroliferos).

Structure of the Carta Porte supplement

According to the technical documentation released by the SAT, the information provided via the Carta Porte supplement will be conveyed via a number of fields (around 215) that will contain optional and mandatory information about the product being transported, type of packaging used, weight, quantity, insurance, the permit of transportation provided to the hauling company by the Secretary of Public transportation, plate and registration of the motor vehicle used, driver, as well as information about the recipient of the products being transported within Mexico.

The information of those fields will be filled via direct input by the taxpayers or in some cases via the specific choices available in a set of catalogs established by the SAT.

Such catalogs can be grouped as follows:

Catalog of transport: Contains the keys for choosing the means of transport used to move the goods (01 transport by land, 02 Maritime transport, etc.)

Catalog of station: Describes the place from where merchandise was shipped

Catalog of waterways ports, airports and train stations: Lists all the ports, airports and stations across Mexico

Catalog of units of measurements and packaging: Informs the choices about the type of container and the measurements related to the goods being transported.

Catalog of products and services: Indicates the different codes used to identify the products being transported.

Catalog of dangerous materials: Lists the options to describe and identify the products considered dangerous, when they are being transported.

Other catalogs included in this supplement are those related to the type of transport and trailers used to transfer the products by land, packaging, the types of permits, the municipalities, neighborhoods, and locations, among others.

Penalties and Sanctions

Once the use of the Carta Porte supplement becomes mandatory, noncompliance with this requirement will have several immediate consequences for the violators.

      • Seizure of Hauled Goods: The Authority of Roads and Transportation enacts random verification checks of the goods being hauled on public roads in Mexico. If the vehicles transporting goods do not have the proper documentation proving the lawful transportation and origin of those goods, the authority will proceed to seize them until they comply with these requirements.
      • Fines: both the haulage company and the owner of the goods will be subject to fines by the SAT. In this case, the sanctions will be applied in proportion to the severity of the infraction. Most of the infractions are contained in Articles 84 and 85 of the Federal Fiscal Code and in Annex 5 of the Miscellaneous Fiscal Resolution. In addition to this, the transportation authority may suspend or cancel the driving permissions of the haulage company.
      • Non-Deductible VAT: When the CFDI of Revenues does not have the corresponding Carta Porte supplement, the VAT charged by the hauling company will not be deductible for the owner of the goods being transported.

Additional clarifications about the scope of the Carta Porte supplement:

When the SAT released the new Miscellaneous Fiscal Resolution for 2021 there were several doubts about the scope of this mandate. This was because for the case of land transportation, the rule established that the use of the supplement would be required only when the goods were transported via federal roads. That original release of the Miscellaneous Fiscal Resolution also established compliance with this mandate would be required to owners of national goods that are part of their assets when they haul those assets in Mexico.

To remove those misunderstandings and limitations, the SAT has recently released a new modification specifying that the mandate will be required for all movement of goods, regardless of the road used. The new resolution also excluded the reference to “national goods that are part of their assets”, so that it is clear now that it applies to any goods being transferred, regardless of its origin.

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Ramón Frias

Ramon is a Tax Counsel on the Regulatory Analysis team at Sovos. He is licensed to practice law in the Dominican Republic and is a member of the Dominican Bar Association. He has a Certificate Degree from Harvard University as well as a J.D. from the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo. Ramon has written a number of essays about tax administration and has won the first prize in the international essays contest sponsored by the Inter American Center of Tax Administrations (CIAT). Prior to joining Sovos, Ramon worked for more than 10 years in the Department of Revenue of the Dominican Republic where he served as Deputy Director. He is proficient in French and Spanish.
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