Holding an event in Mexico can offer a variety of advantages, including good airlift between Mexico meeting destinations and hubs in the US, Canada and Europe, short travel times (four hours or less from most points in the US) and high quality venues, including all-inclusives, at attractive prices.
One little-known benefit of holding a meeting in Mexico is the Tax-Free Meetings promotion, offered by the Mexican Government. International planners, associations and businesses can avoid paying Mexico’s Value Added Tax (VAT, or “IVA” as it’s known in Mexico), resulting in a 16% savings on your event. Think of it as a big Duty-Free shop for meetings! Here’s what you need to know to book your 16% savings:
1. Work through your venue. The Tax-Free offer begins and ends with your venue. All paperwork must be booked through your hotel, and that bill will form the basis for the exemption. You’ll want the venue to subcontract the lighting, audio, meals and entertainment and other expenses, and consolidate them into one unified bill.
2. All participants must provide documentation. ALL of your attendees must provide a copy of their passport and tourist visa, and they must sign a registration book for the event. Your hotel will charge tax on the rooms and meals if you fail to provide documentation for even one of your international participants.
3. You must pay from abroad. The payment for the event must be made with a non-Mexican credit card or transferred from a non-Mexican bank. In some cases, these payments can be made to Mexican PCOs, but restrictions apply and you need to make certain it is done properly. Check with your venue or local event organizer as soon as possible to make sure that all of your payments are processed correctly.
4. Two days Pre- and Two days Post are covered. The Tax-Free exemption is meant to apply to business meetings, conventions, congresses, fair and exhibitions….not incentive trips. However, your group can count two days before and two days after the event in the tax-free period, which can be a cost effective way to offer attendees four days of luxurious down time.
Don’t leave money on the table by not taking advantage of the Tax Free Meetings exemption. If you need more information about how to file your Tax Free Meetings application, contact the Mexico Tourism Board.
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