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PTU in Mexico 2023: The Ultimate Guide

Feb 21st, 2023

When companies decide to hire talent in Mexico, many of them are confused by PTU, or employee profit sharing. 

What is PTU (profit sharing) in Mexico?

PTU, also known in Mexico as employee profit sharing, is a constitutional right for employees who have worked at least 60 days for a company. According to Mexico’s federal labor law, an employer must divide 10% of their profit equally among all employees.

Profit sharing payments are capped at 3-months of an employee’s salary and prorated for employees who have been with the company for less than a year. 

The goal of PTU is to reward employees for their hard work and valuable contributions to the company. 

Like social security taxes, PTU is a required part of navigating payroll in Mexico

How does profit sharing work?

In Mexico, profit sharing, like social security, is a constitutional right and mandatory benefit. Here’s how it works:

  • Per the constitution, a National Commission establishes what percentage of profits companies must pay their employees. This is determined by government officials and labor experts.

  • Companies that meet the requirements for PTU (in most cases, businesses that have been operating for 2+ years) must pay 10% of their taxable income to their employees. This percentage is subject to change.

  • Per law, employers in Mexico must explain how their profit-sharing calculations are made by giving their workers an annual report. The profits are determined by the annual Income Tax Return (ISR) with the Tax Administration Service (SAT).

  • Companies must make the previous year’s PTU payments by May 30th. If you’re a sole proprietor or another single-member business, then the deadline is June 29th. 

You can read more about PTU in Fraction IX, Section A of Article 123 in the Mexican Constitution. You also check out Chapter VIII for more information. 

What companies must participate in Mexican profit sharing?

In most cases, PTU is a right, or mandatory benefit. If your business is registered with the tax authority and has employees, then you are required to pay profit sharing in Mexico.

According to Article 126, certain organizations and companies are exempt from PTU, including:

  • Companies that are newly formed and have been in business in Mexico for fewer than two years and are actively building a new product or offering a new service. After the first two years, employees will receive PTU payments

  • Companies that are newly formed and in their first year of operation

  • Companies with a taxable profit that does not meet their industry’s threshold, as outlined by the Department of Labor and Social Services 

  • Nonprofit organizations 

  • Government institutions, including organizations with cultural and charitable missions 

  • Mexican Social Security Institute 

  • Mining and extraction companies (during the exploration and development phase)

  • Private assistance companies

If your business is profitable, the government will find out. Evading PTU payments can lead to steep fines and penalties. 

How to determine if your employees are entitled to PTU 

Most seasonable and full-time employees are entitled to PTU, given they have worked at least 60 days in the calendar year. For employees that did not work the full year, payments are prorated. 

Certain workers are exempt from PTU, including:

  • Directors

  • General managers

  • Board members

  • Partners 

  • Domestic employees, like janitorial workers

  • Independent contractors

  • Workers who have spent less than 60 days with the company

  • Technicians 

  • Artisans 

  • Others that provide temporary services 

  • Board members

If you fail to enroll an eligible employee in your company’s profit sharing program on their first official day of employment, your business could be fined upwards to $18,000 USD.

How companies can structure their compensation and benefits packages 

Employers in Mexico must take PTU into consideration when determining compensation and benefits packages further. To make the process smoother, companies should take PTU, stock options, private health insurance, performance bonus, and other forms of variable compensation into account when determining each employee’s base salary. 

However, you cannot use PTU to pay for other bonuses or incentives unless that is clearly spelled out in the contract. 

Calculating profit share 

In theory, you take 10% of your profits and divide them among employees. In practice, dividing PTU can be more complicated.

To calculate PTU in Mexico, companies divide the profits into two equal parts. 

  1. The first part is distributed equally among employees (this is prorated for employees who worked less than 1 year)

  2. The second part of the profits is based on the employee’s base salary–the payout is divided in proportion to the worker’s annual salary or wages. 

In general, workers with higher salaries will receive a higher PTU payment.

Exceptions to the 10% rule

In practice, payments can become more complicated, since you need to take into account 1) how long an employee has worked for your company and 2) if the PTU exceeds a certain proportion of their salary. 

  • If an employee worked for less than 1 calendar year but 60 days, their PTU will be prorated 

  • If the PTU is higher than an employee’s three months of salary on the date of payment, then the PTU is capped at three months. Commission payments should not be counted towards salary.

Surplus profit 

If, after completing the above calculations, your company has a surplus amount, then this profit is considered surplus profit. The company can re-invest these funds into the business.

When is PTU paid?

The deadline for companies to pay PTU is May 30 or within 60 days of filing the company’s annual tax return for the previous year. For “natural persons” with business activity, the deadline is June 29. 

What is the difference between profit sharing retirement plans? 

Many US employers think that profit sharing is like a 401K or other retirement plan, but that is not the case.

401K contributions are not directly related to the company’s profits (technically speaking, they are deferred employee wages). They aren’t legally required, either. 

In the US, profit sharing looks different. It generally takes the form of end-of-year performance bonuses, stock options, and equity. 

Contractors and PTU

Independent contractors do not receive profit-sharing payments, even if they have worked 60 days for the company. However, misclassifying workers as contractors to avoid PTU payments can lead to lawsuits and fines.

Not sure if you’re misclassifying workers in Mexico? Partner with an EOR like Via to help you navigate payroll in Mexico. 

PTU and foreign employees

Given that they meet all of the requirements, foreign employees living and working in Mexico are entitled to receive PTU benefits. 

Why companies choose Via

Many companies want to hire workers in Mexico and build hubs in places like Mexico City and Guadalajara, but aren’t sure how to navigate PTU, or employee profit sharing, and other aspects of compliance abroad.

With Via, we can help you calculate and understand profit sharing. We have on-the-ground experts within the country with the legal knowledge to understand exactly what employees are entitled to. 

Our team of local labor lawyers and experts ensure that your company remains compliant while expanding abroad. As your employer-of-record/entity in Mexico, Via assumes responsibility for employment liability, so that you can focus on what matters: recruiting and managing your team. 

With Via’s transparent pricing, you can pay full-time employees or contractors in Mexico with no hidden set-up fees, no foreign exchange or transaction fees, and no minimums–start with 1 employee and scale up at your own pace. 

Need help building your global team?

Alex Torres
Alex Torres
Alex Torres is the Head of Content Marketing at Via. Previously, he's written for a number of startups, including Pathrise, Bubble, and Business Insider.

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Frequently asked questions

  • What is PTU payment in Mexico?

  • Is profit sharing required in Mexico?

  • How does Mexican profit sharing work?

  • What is PTU in accounting?