Recently several people have contacted me asking for assistance with the sale of their time share in Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta.
The scam usually goes like this. In these cases, two different US real estate company contacted both clients directly saying that they have a buyer for their time share. They have sales contracts, they have a business license in the state that they operate, the even have their real estate license. Everything seems legitimate.
As they guide you through the transaction, making it at smooth and simple for you as possible, you get to the part where you owe money to the Mexican government. You have now reached the part of the scam.
It is true that when selling property in Mexico you must pay capital gains tax also called ISR tax to the Mexican federal government.
Normally one of two things happens, you either pay the maximum amount of capital gains taxes which is 35% of the gain if you are not a resident of Mexico and have no fiscal status in the country. The other way to proceed is that you have Mexican residency status and comply with the fiscal obligations in Mexico by obtaining your RFC, which is essentially your Mexican tax payer ID. With your taxpayer ID and a few other documents, you can then qualify for capital gains exemptions.
In many scenarios, even with capital gains exemptions, you might still owe a little bit of money. In both of the cases presented to me, both parties owed several thousand dollars.
They were both presented with official looking documents that contain their RFC information with all of their personal information. If you have any experience with the Mexican IRS, called SAT, you know what this document looks like. As a real estate professional in Mexico, I have seen hundreds of these documents, and I have helped clients to obtain this document many times. Right away I could tell that something was odd. For one, both of the people who presented these documents to me do not have residency status and therefore would not qualify for an RFC. This was an instant red flag; but two, the document itself was not printed in the same government format that you would expect to see.
Furthermore, when I entered the SAT website to verify the RFC numbers of the clients, both RFC numbers came back as invalid, or not in the SAT system.
The other document they were presented is a very formal looking document with the amount of money that they owe to the government. This document was also a fake document. We call this bill a ‘factura” in Mexico, and it also has a very particular look to it.
I share this experience with you as a real estate professional to inform you to be cautious, and if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you are ever unsure, ask a real estate professional in Mexico when it comes to Mexican real estate. Many times people feel the need to hire lawyers from the United States or Canada, but lawyers there do not always know the laws in Mexico.