Lading Bill Poses Digitization Challenge
The Bill of Lading Complement will soon become mandatory, affecting those who transport goods in Mexico. Under these circumstances, digitization is no longer a choice for owner-operator truck drivers, argue experts.
The Mexican Service Tax Administration (SAT) announced that transportation companies’ electronic invoices, also known as online digital tax commitments (CFDIs), will have to mandatorily comply with the Bill of Lading Complement as of December 1.
“With the supplement to the Bill of Lading including up to 160 questions in some cases, digitization enters center stage not only as a means to comply but as an enabler for innovation. It will be essential in making the process go faster, enhancing coordination and communication, and ensuring the seamless exchange of information between shippers and carriers, all key aspects for compliance success. With technology now so ingrained in the process, there is a competitive and operational advantage at stake for companies that can use software as a differentiator to offer security and full legal compliance to their partners,” wrote Deepak Chhugani, Founder and CEO of Nuvocargo, in MBN.
The bill requirement involves any trucking or transportation company that mobilizes goods through the country using land, sea, air, rail or sea means of haulage. However, this decision represents a technological challenge for the transportation business in Mexico, especially for small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs), including microbusiness owner-operators of trucking companies that own fleets of one to five trucks.
“Owner-operator truck drivers are used to handling operations, administration, invoicing, collection and basically any other process on their own, which makes them taxpayers that will require resourceful information and simple procedures to make filling out the CFDI with the Lading Complement as easy as possible,” argued Lis Software Solutions’ Araceli Hernández.
However, transportation microbusinesses might see filling out the Lading Complement as unnecessary as they consider it an issue for bigger companies only, agree experts. Despite the expected resistance to digitization, it is an unavoidable transformation that needs to be kicked off with the efficient administration of the service’s data.
“If owner-operators of trucking companies administer carefully their data, configurations and catalogs, their Lading Complement should be ready within two to three minutes,” mentioned Hernández.
When filling out the complement document, operators must indicate the type of transportation used, detailed locations by origin and destination, relevant domiciles, travel distance, goods detailed by quantity and description, vehicle I.D. number, operator’s data including their identifier (RFC) and information of the vehicle’s owner, among other requirements.
This mandatory digitization process could not be efficient if operators pass on the responsibility of filling out the complement document to CPAs, signing off from their obligation to get involved in this technological process, said Buzón’s Octavio Ocaña. The process could help transportation companies to have broader control over the cost of their services, as the digitization process needs them to manage their data efficiently to allow an exchange of information between these companies and the Tax Administration.
If transportation companies were not to comply with the mandatory bill, tributary authorities could consider the company’s CFDI non-deductible, creditable for income or with value-added tax purposes, leading to the loss of clients. In addition, companies could receive US$37 to US$713 fines.
SAT’s electronic accounting system poses numerous complexities because it requires all transactions to be digitally recorded to facilitate traceability, argued Mónica Vera, Managing Director, TMF Group.
“In the midst of this uncertainty and a complex landscape, your best option is to have the help of local experts with the necessary knowledge to navigate the system, helping you keep your company in strict and disciplined compliance and, of course, to be successful in your business,” wrote Vera for MBN.