What To Do With That Extra School Bus

For years my friends and I have been bringing goods to Mexico that we have no further use for, and donating them either to helping institutions in Baja or to the families themselves.  Little did we know that we were breaking the law.  There is a correct way to import these gifts,, and some things are  illegal to bring in.

The SAT (Servicio de Administration Tributaria) the Mexican tax authority has established a process where in-kind donations to authorized donees may be given. A form is available online, that when filled out and presented at the border, will facilitate the process. Unknown to many, there is a cost attached to giving of in-kind gifts which may be levied on the donor and/or the recipient. These costs may result in a hardship to the recipient, so think carefully before making your donation. Some costs to think about: paperwork processing; storage of goods in the U.S. or Mexico; and transportation of the gifts.

For these purposes, used clothing and home goods are not allowed. If you are caught bringing these items into Mexico for other than personal use, not only will the items likely be confiscated, but the authorities may also confiscate your car, and you may even face criminal charges.

A partial list of permitted in-kind donations to Mexico includes ambulances and medical equipment; medicines; wheelchairs; busses or cars for use in educational institutions; computers and other technological items for use in schools; garbage or tow trucks; fire engines; bottled water and canned foods; musical instruments; new clothes and shoes (not made in China).

Not permitted are: used clothes and shoes; new shoes from China; expired canned foods and water; medicine that will expire within one year; items wherein the donor and recipient are the same person. This is only a partial list.

If you still wish to make an in-kind-donation, the full detailed instructions are available online at http://www.sat.gob.mx/sitio_internet/home.asp. Go to “Otros Servicios”; then go to “Promotions Juridicas”; click on “Manual Practico para las Donaciones del Extranjero – Articulo 61 Fraccion XVII de la Lew Aduanera.” For English instructions, now click on “Version en Ingles” Appendix.

A guide to help your generosity has been created by the International Community Foundation, in conjunction with Mexican authorities. For more information, please contact them at www.icfdn.org; phone: 1-619-336-2250; address: 2505 N Avenue, National City, CA 91950.