As reported recently in Reuters, the federal government of Mexico recently commenced an expansion of its investigation of its citizens and companies for tax evasion by requesting foreign banks and brokerage firms to disclose the identity of Mexican individuals and/or companies with accounts, investments or transactions in foreign tax havens. According to said reports, the Mexican Servicio de Administración Tributaria (SAT) of the Secretaria de Hacienda y Crédito Publico (SHCP) has sent a formal request to banking regulators in over one hundred countries requesting official assistance to compel banks and brokerage firms to provide the SAT/SHCP with the identity of their Mexican clients with accounts, investments or transactions in said jurisdictions. Reuters reports that among the countries targeted by SAT/SHCP are those countries listed in the OECD’s 2000 tax haven list, as well as the United States and Ireland. According to Reuters, the letter from the Mexican SAT states “To comply with its fiscal responsibilities over resident taxpayers with presumed financial assets in countries designated as ‘tax havens’, SAT . . . requires information and documentation to plan and schedule tax examinations of those taxpayers . . . ” In addition to the identity of the Mexican nationals and companies with accounts, investments or transactions in said jurisdictions, SAT/SHCP has requested specific information relating to deposits, withdrawals and foreign taxpayer identification numbers.
As is readily apparent from the foregoing, the initiative of the Mexican SAT/SHCP constitutes an official effort to identify Mexican nationals and companies for subsequent audits and investigations into tax evasion, and possibly money laundering under the recent amendments and reforms to the Mexican fiscal law.
Mexico is not alone with regard to these new investigations into tax evasion. Many other governments, including the United States, have also launched additional investigations and audits of the foreign accounts, investments or transactions of their respective citizens and taxpayers following the recent leak of the “Panama Papers”. With regard to Mexico, Reuters also reports that the head of the SAT stated in May 2016 that they had commenced investigations of over thirty individuals identified in the “Panama Papers” for tax evasion and money laundering. More individuals and companies under investigation by the SAT/SHCP are expected to be identified in the coming months.
In the event you learn, or become informed, that you are the focus or target of an audit or investigation by the United States IRS, the Mexican SAT/SHCP or any other foreign jurisdiction, you should immediately contact and retain legal counsel to inform you of your legal rights. Further, if you feel you may become the focus of an audit or investigation based upon your prior international transactions, you should also retain legal counsel to inform you of your legal rights. In addition to informing you of your legal rights, you will need legal counsel to protect you from making foolish errors and mistakes that may violate additional criminal laws of the United States, Mexico and other foreign jurisdictions.
In the event you would like to discuss these issues further, or in the event you would like to schedule a confidential consultation with Walroth-Sadurní Law, please feel free to contact us. Our contact information can be found in our website, at www.walsadlaw.com.