License plates, a way to elude the authorities

Felipe Calderón, issued a decree that determined that every state had the faculty to collect the ownership tax or not

License plates, a way to elude the authorities
Mexico City collects the ownership tax, unlike Morelos - Photo: Carlos Mejia/EL UNIVERSAL
English 03/09/2018 09:01 Mexico City Newspaper Leader Actualizada 09:13
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Starting a few years ago, the presence of cars with foreign license plates in Mexico City has increased, especially ones from Morelos. The main reason is to avoid paying an ownership tax in cars worth over MXN $250 thousand, but now there is another reason: avoid paying traffic violations or to commit or hide illicit acts.

In regards to avoiding paying taxes, is it the buyers' fault if since the moment they buy the car in a car dealership, they are offered the option to get license plates from another state? Local authorities should have to make sure these places are working properly.

Since 2012, the federal government stopped collecting the car ownership tax, after former President, Felipe Calderón, issued a decree that determined that every state had the faculty to keep collecting the tax or not. Now, some entities collect it in relation to the car's price. In Mexico City, cars worth over MXN $250,000 pay the tax; in Querétaro, those worth over MXN $400,000; but in other states such as Morelos, the tax doesn't exist. The disparity between places less than three hours away from each other make buyers evaluate what's best for their finances.

A different situation is to apply for foreign license plates with the aim of avoiding paying traffic violations in the entity where the driver lives.

These kind of problems aren't unique to Mexico's center area. Today, in an article published by EL UNIVERSAL, El Informador, from Guadalajara, and Pulso, from San Luis Potosí, it's documented that drivers who have accumulated several unpaid traffic violations in their states hire agents who help them not to pay their debts.

In Jalisco, authorities have noticed that criminals change stolen car's license plates for foreign ones so they can drive it around the states without a theft report. This type of actions should be an opportunity for a dialogue between entities. Although every state is sovereign when it comes to applying certain taxes, they could set up coordinated actions so that if a car with a license plate for Morelos commits a traffic violation in Mexico City, the neighboring state's authority can collect the payment.

In regards to security, coordination is mandatory. A bigger information exchange between state authorities will contribute to uniting against criminals, at least in relation to car theft.

Many problems in this country will be solved quickly if there is cooperation between the states. Some willpower would help a lot.


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