RFC in Mexico-Who Needs It?

Recently there’s been an uproar of confusion regarding an acronym, an RFC in Mexico, and another document, a Constancia de Situacion Fiscal.
If you’re scratching your head, you’re not alone.

A few weeks ago, some people started getting notices from their electric company asking them for their Constancia de Situacion Fiscal (tax certificate in Mexico). And to get this, you need to have an RFC in Mexico (Registro Federal de Contribuyentes)- so naturally, misinformation started circulating the online groups. So, let’s clarify a few things because many people are stressing out when they probably don’t need to.

What Is an RFC in Mexico?

The RFC or Federal Taxpayers Registry is a unique registration code that identifies every person who carries out an economic activity in Mexico where taxes are collected or have to be paid to the SAT (the Mexican equivalent of the IRS).

These economic activities include

  • Working in Mexico
  • Buying a property
  • Submitting “facturas” when you sell a home in Mexico to avoid capital gains
  • Opening a bank account in Mexico
  • Buying a car from a dealership
  • Setting up new utilities with the CFE or other

Now a lot of you will never need an RFC in Mexico. Especially if you rent and your utilities are in your landlord’s name. Or if you never have a bank account in Mexico. Or if you never plan on buying a new car from a dealership. Most expats moving to Mexico will never work for a Mexican employer and, therefore, will never have a tax liability. However, I still think it’s a good idea to obtain yours.

But first, let’s talk about how to get an RFC in Mexico and why I think you should wait.

How do I get my RFC?

To begin with, you must have your CURP, which is: The Unique Population Registry, our version of the social security number, which is an instrument used to register individually all the inhabitants of Mexico, including nationals and foreigners, as well as Mexicans living in other countries.

You get a CURP when you become a resident of Mexico. So if you’re a tourist, you don’t even need to worry about this step yet.

Once you have your CURP, you can apply for your RFC at the SAT- Tax Administration Service. Which oversees and reviews our tax returns and our tax payments. The SAT is Mexico’s equivalent of the IRS.

To get an appointment with SAT there is a virtual queue and depending on the city you are trying to apply to it can take 2-6 months for you to get an appointment. This is a process that must be done in person or through a Power of Attorney to your designated facilitator.

In our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide we have a list of vetted and trustworthy facilitators who can help you obtain your RFC if you need one.

Once you have obtained your RFC in Mexico, you can request your Tax Status Certificate or Constancia de Situacion Fiscal- which contains data on your identity, location, and fiscal obligations as a taxpayer. This document is only used when you plan to generate a factura (or tax receipt) to make deductions to your taxes.

But I’ve Heard I Need It Or My Electricity Will Get Cut Off?

Recently many people got a notification from the CFE- Comision Federal de Electricidad (or the federal electric commission in Mexico) stating that their service could be interrupted if they didn’t update their Constancia de Situacion Fiscal.

And that’s because even CFE (Federal Electricity Commission), along with other companies like Cable TV, Telmex, gas services, etc are requesting you to update your personal and fiscal information. So that when they issue your electricity bills, tall information is correct as these are bills susceptible to deduction from earnings and have all the requirements that the law mandates.

But don’t worry if you don’t have this document! They will not cut off your electricity. They are complying with the new tax laws that took effect in January 2022 and have sent out a mass memo to all of its customers.

So I suggest you wait. Because unless you need to sell a house right now, open a CFE account, or open a new internet service account today- then you really don’t need an RFC in Mexico right away. You’d be better off waiting the 4 – 6 months in a “fila virtual” (virtual line, online) waiting to get your email notifying you of your appointment with SAT.

Other Cases When You May Need an RFC

There are some additional cases where you may still need an RFC even if you don’t plan to buy a house, set up new utilities, a new internet account, or generate an income in Mexico.

And this is when you plan to buy a new vehicle at a dealership. More and more dealerships are requesting buyers to have an RFC as part of the car-buying process. And the lack of an RFC number could prevent you from making the purchase until you have fulfilled the SAT requirements. 

Other retailers requiring RFCs include Liverpool, Palacio de Hierro, and the like who require an RFC when buying large items such as furniture.

When I Recommend Getting an RFC

If you are a visitor, renting, staying on a tourist visa, with no plans of purchasing a home, no income generated of Mexican origin, and do not hold a bank account, then you don’t have to worry about getting an RFC.

But I still recommend residents to look into the process because it seems things are changing and you may need it in the future. I would however wait until the problem with the lack of appointments at SAT has been settled and you don’t have to wait in line with everyone else. I don’t know when this will happen exactly, but I would assume it would be at least another 6 months or so.

If you are a resident of Mexico, you own property of any type or receive any income that originates from Mexico, or hold Mexican Bank accounts should, at your earliest convenience, start by getting your RFC, as well as your Tax certificate (Constancia de Situacion Fiscal) so you can be better prepared if it becomes more of a requirement in the future. At the very least, it is a good idea to wait until the virtual queue isn’t so long.

Can I hire someone to help me?

Yes- there are professionals that can help you get your RFC if you’re not currently in Mexico, or if you would rather have someone deal with the process for you.

BUT-Be careful who you hire to help you get your legitimate RFC. There are scammers out there who have been promising expats the issue of an RFC only to find out that they belong to someone else or are a fake number.

To work with reputable people, check out our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide where you can find a directory of trustworthy and reputable Facilitators to help you get your residency visa, your CURP, your RFC, and also our list of recommended CPAs in Mexico that can help guide you in the Mexican Tax Law.

Mariana Lange

Mariana Lima-Lange was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. when she was a child. She spent every summer visiting family throughout Mexico and is very knowledgeable about Mexican culture, lifestyle, and traditions. She is fluent in both Spanish and English.

Reader Interactions


  1. K.C. says

    Excellent article! Thank you! One question, I have just received my permanent residency card, but I still don’t plan on moving until next year. Can I go ahead and get in the virtual line now (I live in a border city, so can cross over anytime) to obtain my RFC? Or do I need to wait until I’m in Mexico permanently?

    Thank you again for your site and the email updates – so much awesome content!

    • Mariana Lange says

      Hi KC- go ahead and get on the virtual line now. But keep in mind you will have to show a utility bill (electric bill from CFE in Mexico) when it’s time for your appointment

      • K.C. says

        Thank you for the quick response!! So that is the confusing part – I need the RFC to set up utilities once I move to Mexico. But I can’t get the RFC until I have utilities in Mexico.

        • Mariana Lange says

          The utility bill for the RFC doesn’t have to be in your name

          Why do you need to set up utilities? Are you buying a house and getting a new account?

  2. K.C. says

    Correct. I am moving to Mexico and will buy a house/set up utilities/open a bank acct/etc. I am moving permanently.

    • Mariana Lange says

      Okay- understood. In this case, you would need to have an RFC when you want to set up utilities. To get the RFC your utility bill doesn’t have to be in your name but you do need to have one proving you are in the city you plan to have your SAT appointment with.
      If you would like help from one of our recommended facilitators, we include them when you purchase our COMPLETE Mexico relocation guide 🙂

  3. Scott says

    Do you need an RFC if you are a Foreign Investor in a Mexican (Cabo San Lucas) property that you may rent out periodically?

    • Mariana Lange says

      Yes. And you will also need to have permission to work in Mexico 😉

      • Scott says

        Maybe i should clarify, i don’t live in Mexico. Only visit from time to time. I own a condo in Cabo that I’m thinking i may do short-term rental with. Do i need an RFC for just owning property there and not living there long term?

        • Mariana Lange says

          Yes- I understood your question.
          If you plan to rent it out from time to time that is considered a business and you will not only need an RFC but you will also need permission to work in Mexico 😉
          Regardless of how much time you spend in Mexico you are generating an income in Mexico which is subject to taxes in Mexico

          • Scott says

            Thank you for this. Very helpful!

            Where does a US Foreigner go to help get this done properly? What are the typical costs, taxes, or fees?

          • Mariana Lange says

            You can use a CPA that can help you if they offer the service to foreigners. Not all of them do.
            If you need a recommendation, we offer them in our Mexico relocation Guide

          • Scott says

            Thank you Mariana. I will look into getting your guide. You given me some great info and insight here. Much appreciated! Gracias!

            How much is the guide?

          • Mariana Lange says

            Hi Scott. The online guide is $395 USD currently. It’s a one-time fee and you get lifetime access.

          • Donna Juell says

            I am following this discussion, as I am in the same position as Scott. I own a condo and want to rent it out. I am never in Mexico long enough to apply for and get an RFC.
            Yet you are saying I need one to rent out the condo…
            Are you saying you can get one via a CPA, although I am infrequently there, and not for more than 2 weeks at a time?

          • Mariana Lange says

            If you are generating an income in Mexico – in this case rental investment property- you are legally obligated to pay taxes in Mexico. Unless you earn less than a certain amount per year. You should both be talking to a CPA in Mexico to ensure you are doing everything above board. Even if you don’t plan to live in Mexico. The law is clear that if you earn an income, you should have work permission and an RFC

  4. Juanita says

    Hi, Mariana. We have permanent resident status in Mexico. We generally spend between 6 and 8 months of the year in Mexico. We rent a house. CFE is in our landlord’s name, as is SAPAO. Telmex is in our name. We do not own a house, or a car, or have a Mexican bank account. We do not work or earn money in Mexico. Do we need to get an RFC?
    Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Mariana Lange says

      Hi Juanita
      Not unless you plan to use facturas which are official tax receipts to deduct taxes. Which you could only do if you had a company in mexico, where renting out a property, or we’re trying to sell your home in Mexico. In most cases, these companies should be able to put a generic RFC on file for you if you don’t have one

  5. Tanis Gray says

    As a tourist how do you apply for a RFC?

    • Mariana Lange says

      You can’t- RFC’s are Tax ID Numbers used for residents and citizens only.

  6. ERIC PHAM says

    Hi Mariana, I have temporary resident status in Mexico but I do not have a work permit. I heard I need a work permit in order to apply for RFC but I cannot get a work permit without RFC. Could you advise?

    Thank you Mariana,

    • Mariana Lange says

      You don’t need a work permit to apply for an RFC.

  7. mike Schneider says

    Hi Mariana

    I have had my property for 20 years in Cabo San Lucas and split my time between the USA and Mexico. I have my CURP but not an RFC

    When applying for an appointment do I choose:

    Register as an individual with special circumstance (because I only have a residency card)
    Registar as an individual

    • Mariana Lange says

      Hi Mike
      You should consult with a CPA in Mexico to ensure you are registered correctly
      If you need a CPA recommendation in Cabo, we have one in our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide

  8. Janie Walters says

    Hello Mariana,

    We’re buying a home in Chicxulub. We don’t have temporary residency and won’t be living there full time for a few years. The home will be a vacation home for us until we finally move there. Will we have problems getting electricity turned on, water and internet service?
    Thanks for your help!

  9. Ellie Brown says

    We Applied online for RFC appointments April 28, 2022 but have not received notice of appointment yet, it is now November 29 2022. I was advised to start applications over, but when I try to at a certain point it will not let me go forward, I’m assuming because we are already in the system. What do we do??

    • Mariana Lange says

      Hi Ellie
      You can either choose to cancel your appointment when you get a notice of it, or you can wait for your appointment notice to come up. It takes 6-8 months for appointments.
      However, we have a few CPAs in Mexico that can move you to the top of the line if you wish to hire their services.
      Their contact information is in our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide. When you buy the guide you get instant access to our information about moving to Mexico and our complete directory of contacts

  10. Shahzeb Sultan says

    Hello I need RFC ID for selling on amazon In mexico Country. I have US LLC and i non resident.
    How can i get rfc id How it’s Works?How can i get RFC ID on US LLC Company Details.
    And how Much charges

    • Mariana Lange says

      You will need to sign up on the virtual queue on the SAT website. The lines on the virtual queue are currently about 4-6 months wait.
      You will need your CURP and to show up in person at the nearest SAT office whenever you get a notification of your appoinymenyt
      You will then set up your RFC based on your fiscal situation.

      If you’d like to expedite the process and avoid having to go to SAT in person then we recommend hiring a facilitator. We have facilitators in Mexico that can get you an RFC in a matter of weeks and not months. Without you having to ever go to SAT in person. When you purchase our Mexico Relocation Guide you’ll get access to our directory of recommended contacts

      • Virginia Morgan says

        I was told by SAT in Puerto Vallarta that no facilitators are allowed. You must go in person yourself.

        • Mariana Lange says

          Facilitators are not allowed in the building with you, correct- but facilitators can help to make your appointment, or even get your RFC on your behalf if you have a power of attorney

  11. C Robert says

    I own a timeshare in the US. A Mexican company is buying my timeshare. Do I need a RFC to complete the transaction?

    • Mariana Lange says

      Not if the transaction is taking place in the US

    • Teresa says

      Robert, were you able to sell the timeshare? I have a Mexican Company wanting to buy mine as well and require me to get an RFC and pay$5,300 to open the acct. They says they will reimburse me etc? Sounds so shady and I am skeptical. PLease provide any inside if you can please. Thank you in advance

  12. Debbie says

    I own a residency at Garza Blanca Resort in Mexico, which I paid hundreds of thousands of dollars when I bought in at the resort, as well as yearly maintenance fees. I am renting it out occasionally. Can I get an RFC for this? And if so, how should I do go about this? I don’t pay utilities or have a Mexico bank account. Thank you for any help.

    • Mariana Lange says

      If you rent it out occasionally, then that is considered income generated in Mexico and subject to taxes in Mexico.
      You can also deduct expenses such as maintenance, repairs, and utilities if you were to sell it some day and are a resident of Mexico
      But I am not a CPA, and you should consult with one in Mexico to ensure you know your obligations specific to your situation.

      And you would need an RFC for both situations. I’m not sure if you need a Mexican bank account to fulfill the requirements of the taxes or for deductions. That is a great question for a CPA.

      If you need a CPA recommendation, we recommend a few in our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide.
      Our recommended CPAs can help you understand your tax obligations, prepare any tax filings, and help with deductions etc. And most of them can also help you apply for your RFC.

      To get access to our directory of contacts, check out our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide

  13. Don says

    Good morning … I own a condo and have a MX bank account c/w a term deposit that generates interest. I currently have a “sin obligaciones fiscales” RFC (told the thumb drive was not required). Is this the correct ‘type’ of RFC to allow me to proceed with the sale of my condo and/or address interest from the term deposit?

  14. Virginia Morgan says

    Totally confused. I own a condo in Puerto Vallarta and I’m now told I need an RFC. But I’m not a resident. I only come on a tourist visa and I just stay a few weeks at a time. How can I get an RFC if I’m not a resident? I’m also told I can’t hire a third person to this for me and I need to do it in Mexico but I’m never there that long.

    • Mariana Lange says

      You cannot apply for an RFC if you are not a resident

  15. Sonja Bricker says

    Good Morning-
    I purchased land in El Sargento, BCS in May of 2022 as a tourist. I am building a house with fully legal permits as a tourist. The house is almost at the point to connect electricity with CFE. Will I be able to use the generic RFC number when completing the application? If not, is there a way around this without having to apply for temporary residence/apply for RFC?
    Thank you so much!

    • Mariana Lange says

      You should be able to use the generic RFC

  16. Susan Plecko says

    Hi Mariana,
    We live in the US and are US citizens. We have a timeshare in Hawaii and through a title and closing company in Atlanta, GA we potentially have a buyer in Mexico that wants to buy our timeshare. We were told we needed to send money to Mexico to register. We are not buying poperty in Mexico, we are selling our timeshare. Are me missing something or is this a requirement to sell our timeshare to someone in Mexico?

    • Mariana Lange says

      Sounds confusing to me as well. Why would you need to send money to Mexico if the property is in Hawaii.
      Something sounds fishy

  17. Michael says

    I am not a resident or currently in Mexico but work remote as a freelancer for a company in Mexico. Is this permitted?

    • Mariana Lange says

      No- even as a freelancer you are technically required to have a work permit in Mexico if you are earning pesos or if your clients are in MX

  18. Sue Elizabeth McDonald says

    I have my RFC, but the CFE wants my RFC to be issued within 3 months…How can I get it reissued online?

  19. Joe Kuzyk says

    I am trying to sell my timeshare in Mexico. Is it true that I need an RFC in order to do this? If so, where would I be able to find a reliable representative to be able to obtain it for me as I live in the southeast United States?

  20. Marcus says

    My wife and I are planning to buy some property in Mexico, and eventually build a house on it for vacationing. We will only be staying at most a month at a time.

    Do we need an RFC number in order to do this?

    • Mariana Lange says

      No you don’t need an RFC if you don’t intend on living in Mexico.
      However, it is recommended for you to have one if you ever plan on selling your property. If you want to sell your property as a resident instead of as a tourist, you can avoid a significant amount of capital gains. Whereas a tourist will have to pay the 30% tax on capital gains. Your RFC allows you to take deductions to avoid capital gains, and an RFC is only available to residents or nationals.,

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