There was a hum of voices coming from the Corona Salon
on Tuesday morning (April 5, 2005) as home owners and
local contractors sat in folding chairs and waited the
arrival of Jose Luis Gonzalez Robles, Alberto Mario Isoto
Ibarra and Pedro J. M. Castro Blanco. These were the keynote
speakers who promised to clarify a muddy subject that
has been a growing concern
for home builders in the San Felipe area --Social Security
Unlike businesses north of the border, where an employee's
Social Security payments are arranged by the business
that employs them, Mexico seems to take a different approach.
It follows the responsibility back to an entity that isn't
directly involved in a project's chain of employment,
in this case, the home owner. Ultimately, the person who
is paying to have his or her home built must ensure that
all their contractors' employees are having their Social
Security payments met, either out of their own pocket
or as part of the bid for building the home. Even if the
payments are made on paper, as in a job bid, it was strongly
suggested that proof of payments should be provided on
a monthly basis to the home owner to ensure that the process
is actually being performed. Seguro Social will provide
a contractor with a monthly receipt as each payment is
met. It was further suggested that the home owner hold
back the final payment (in the amount equal to the Social
Security payment for the project -typically 30% of the
labor cost) until proof of payment is made by the contractor.
Alternatively, the home owner can make the payments on
their own at the Oficina de Seguro Social, prior to the
17th of each month.
A nervous ripple passed through the audience when they
were told that even casual labor, someone hired for one
day a week to do gardening, for example, was legally entitled
to Social Security payments by their employer and arrangements
had to be made so payments could be established for them.
And then outright panic and shock swept through the hall
when everyone was informed that if they did not have a
complete history of receipts for the construction of their
homes and if the construction company was unable to produce
any, then 37% of the appraised value of their house (based
on square footage) would have to be paid to Social Security.
A few people sat back with color slowly returning to their
faces when it was mentioned this would only apply to homes
built within the last five years.
Of course that begs the question, why only five years?
Two reasons come to mind. Either Social Security acknowledges
that not everyone clings to receipts for decades, or perhaps
homes older than five years just aren't valuable enough
to 'tax'. Within the last few years, serious money has
been changing hands in San Felipe. Half million dollar
homes have literally sprung out of the sand in developments
both north and south of town. Golf courses and condo empires
are squirming through the circuitous birth canals of bureaucratic
paperwork. Perhaps the sound of all that lucre has awakened
the percentage people.
When a deer mouse is born, the mother occults it from
the eyes of eagles. It doesn't teach the infant to stand
on its hind legs in the middle of a field and wave its
arms. For many decades San Felipe was hidden, safe in
its obscurity. Poverty was its mother and the paucity
of its flesh was enough to discourage the predators. But
the arm-wavers have arrived. They are converting sand
into gold. Can the eagles be far behind?
If you have any questions about Social
Security, here is contact information for the meeting's