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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Transfer of car ownership in Mexico.

Well I renewed my Mexican Driver Licence for another year recently; then proceeded to buy a 1999 Pontiac Sunfire from my Landlord in Cuernavaca.  I think I got a good deal, and paid approximately 2,500 Cdn for the car.  It needed a few repairs, but is in perfect working condition now.  Remember if you are buying a car in Mexico, stick with the older models of Chevrolet, Ford, Chrysler and of course Volkswagen.  Also remember if you happen to buy a new vehicle, the Dealership repair shops are rip-offs.  Find a good cheap mechanic instead.

So, I finished paying off the car a few days ago, and it was time to do the transfer of ownership.  Instead of going to the main office up north, we decided to go to the central, and much smaller, office downtown.  I'm not sure if it was a mistake or not because it was quite busy too.  Also, let me mention, that one of my fellow tenants last year was an employee responsible for installing the new, improved computer system for these types of transactions.  I heard the company sold the system to the Government for 50,000,000 pesos (about 4 million dollars Cdn), and I must say, it sucks.

Outside the office was a photocopy business, and they are making a fortune.  Any vehicle transfer involves at least 5-10 photocopies, and we were not excluded.  We needed a copy of the registration, a copy of my Temporary Resident card, a copy of the original vehicle registration from the dealer, and copies of the past 5 years of tax receipts.  Taxes must be paid annually on all vehicles, but used vehicles are much less.  Mine was 250 pesos per year, and this amount decreases as the vehicle gets older.

We first joined the long information line with all of our original forms and copies.  After about a half hour, we reached the first clerk, and she handed us a new form to enter the ownership transfer information.  The bill of sale was not sufficient.

We then had to join the second lineup to get these forms processed.  Because my Resident photocopy was not adequate, I had to run next door to the photocopy store and get an enlargement of it.  This took some time, and meanwhile, Raul waited with this second clerk to ensure they continued with the processing.  The clerks had trouble with the new system, and then after about an hour of waiting, instructed us to go to the photocopy store and use their internet to obtain a Mexican form stating I was a Mexican citizen - which I'm not.  Raul told them this, but they insisted.

We both went next door and obtained a printout stating that I wasn't Mexican, but I was assigned a temporary tax number anyway.  After about another hour of the clerk entering and re-entering this data, we finally got the transfer document and the estimate of cost of the transfer.  It included a 350 pesos amount for the transfer tax, a 250 peso amount for the 2015 taxes and a 147 amount for the transfer itself.

Then we proceeded to lineup number 3.  This was a much shorter line, fortunately, and I was able to use Visa to make the payment.  I was then given two more forms showing the payment and then we went to line number 4.  The last one, but much longer than all of the preceding lines.  I stood in this line and inched forward for just over an hour, and we finally reached the clerks.  Fortunately a clerk from lineup #2 moved over to this lineup to give the clerks a hand.  This seemed to move the line ahead a little faster thank goodness.

After re-entering all the information one last time, I was given a form to sign and enter my cell number; and was then given my registration form and 2015 tax decal (which had to later be applied to my back window of the car.  Total time for this transaction was about 5 hours.  I must say that I wasn't impressed with this new computer system.  But I must also say - it was an experience.  Hopefully paying the 2016 taxes will go a little faster next year.

Oh, one last thing, one of the problems they had at lineup #2 was that I only have one last name.  The computer system was designed for Mexicans, who have two last names (father and mother).  So my last name on the registration now ends with XXX.  Too funny, but at least now, I finally own the car.  Now to file all the original forms in a safe place at home so no one steals them.  If they have the original registration from the dealer, they own my car.