Living in Mexico as a US Expat

Living in Mexico as a US Expat


Mexico stands out as an appealing destination for US expatriates seeking an enriching and cost-effective lifestyle abroad. Despite its allure, residing in Mexico entails navigating tax obligations in both the United States and Mexico, making it essential for expats to comprehend the intricacies of tax laws in both countries.

Tax Obligations:

Living as a US expat in Mexico means being subject to taxation in both nations. While Mexico taxes worldwide income, the US mandates tax filing for all citizens, irrespective of residency status. Therefore, US expats in Mexico must fulfill tax obligations in both jurisdictions.

Filing Taxes in Mexico:

Understanding tax filing requirements in Mexico is imperative for expatriates. Mexican tax laws dictate that both residents and non-residents earning income within the country must file tax returns. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in penalties and legal repercussions.

Mexico Income Tax Rate for Residents

Earnings in MXN Tax Rate Applicable to Income Level
₱0.00 to ₱8,952.49 1.92%
₱8,952.50 to ₱75,984.55 6.4%
₱75,984.56 to ₱133,536.07 10.88%
₱133,536.08 to ₱155,229.80 16%
₱155,229.81 to ₱185,852.57 17.92%
₱185,852.58 to ₱374,837.88 21.36%
₱374,837.89 to ₱590,795.99 23.52%
₱590,796.00 to ₱1,127,926.84 30%
₱1,127,926.85 to ₱1,503,902.46 32%
₱1,503,902.47 to ₱4,511,707.37 34%
Over ₱4,511,707.38 35%

Mexico Income Tax Rate for Non-Residents 

Earnings in MXN Tax Rate Applicable to Income Level
₱0.00 to ₱125,900.00 Exempt
₱125,900.01 to ₱1,000,000.00 15%
Over ₱1,000,000.01 30%

Expatriates must also pay local taxes to whatever Mexican state they live in. These taxes typically range from 1% to 3%.

Non-cash compensation is considered taxable in Mexico, including any benefits or taxes paid on your behalf by your employer. Foreign nationals do not get an exception.

Tax Residency in Mexico:

Determining tax residency in Mexico involves meeting specific criteria, including the duration of physical presence or establishing significant economic ties to the country. Tax residents in Mexico are obligated to report and pay taxes on their worldwide income.


Types of Taxes in Mexico:

Mexico imposes various taxes, including income tax, capital gains tax, corporate tax, value-added tax (VAT), and real property tax. Understanding these tax categories and their corresponding rates is essential for US expats residing in Mexico.


Tax Filing Timelines in Mexico

For individuals residing or engaged in business activities in Mexico, a comprehensive understanding of the country’s tax deadlines is imperative. Failing to adhere to these deadlines may lead to penalties and legal ramifications, underscoring the importance of staying well-informed. Here’s a breakdown of the essential aspects concerning tax deadlines in Mexico.

The Mexican tax year spans from January 1st to December 31st, requiring taxpayers to submit their tax returns to the Servicio de Administración Tributaria by April 30th of the subsequent year. While there are instances of potential extensions, particularly for electronic filers with a deadline extension until May 31st, it is advisable to meet the initial deadline of April 30th to preempt any potential issues.

Beyond the annual tax return deadline, residents or businesses in Mexico must be cognizant of additional tax deadlines. Monthly or quarterly tax payments are due by the 17th of the month following the respective reporting period. Business owners may encounter supplementary deadlines related to activities such as filing payroll tax returns or fulfilling value-added tax (VAT) obligations. Staying well-versed about these deadlines is crucial to ensure the timely fulfillment of all tax responsibilities.

US-Mexico Tax Treaty:

The tax treaty between the US and Mexico aims to prevent double taxation and foster economic cooperation between the two nations. This treaty provides certain tax benefits for US citizens living in Mexico, such as the foreign tax credit, which allows offsetting US tax liability with taxes paid in Mexico.

Totalization Agreement:

The Totalization Agreement between the US and Mexico simplifies social security tax matters for citizens working in each other’s countries. This agreement ensures that individuals do not face double taxation on their earnings and facilitates access to social security benefits.

US Tax Reporting Requirements and Deductions for Expats in Mexico

As a US expatriate residing in Mexico, you’ll need to fulfill US tax obligations by submitting certain forms, including:

  1. IRS Form 1040: Individual Income Tax Return

– Form 1040 is the standard US individual income tax return, mandatory for all US citizens regardless of their place of residence.

– The typical deadline for Form 1040 is April 15th, but expats enjoy an automatic extension until June 15th, with the option to request a further extension until October 15th.

  1. IRS Form 8938: Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets (FATCA)

– If you own non-US financial assets exceeding specific thresholds, you must file a FATCA report, with thresholds contingent on your filing status and residency in Mexico.

– Complete the FATCA report, attach it to your Form 1040, and submit both simultaneously.

In addition to these reporting requirements, expats in Mexico can benefit from various tax deductions, including:

  1. Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE)

– The FEIE allows expats to exclude a portion of foreign-earned income from US taxation, with the exclusion amount varying annually (e.g., $120,000 for the 2023 tax year).

– Claim the FEIE by filing IRS Form 2555 if eligible.

  1. Foreign Tax Credit

– Expats can offset US tax liability by deducting income taxes paid to foreign governments using the Foreign Tax Credit, effectively reducing the risk of double taxation.

– Eligible individuals can claim this credit by filing IRS Form 1116.

  1. Foreign Housing Exclusion

– The Foreign Housing Exclusion enables expats to deduct qualifying housing-related expenses from their US tax liability.

– To claim this exclusion, file Form 2555, which is also required for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.

Understanding and leveraging these reporting requirements and deductions can significantly impact the tax liabilities of US expatriates living in Mexico, ensuring compliance with US tax laws while maximizing available benefits.

Navigating Tax Filing:

While tax filing as a US expat in Mexico can be complex, seeking professional guidance and staying informed about tax laws and deadlines can streamline the process. By understanding their tax obligations in both countries, expatriates can manage their finances effectively and enjoy their experience living abroad.