Conflict between the Federal Tax Code and the Customs Law upon review of documents filed with customs clearance Currently, there are several controversies resulting from the exercise of the review and enforcement
powers of the tax and customs authorities. In some of them, the authority has not enforced the
proper legal provisions; that is, although the authority bases its conduct on certain legal standard and
in compliance with its provisions, and it may appear that it conducted its act of nuisance in the correct
manner, it did not, since there was a special provision that should have been used. This provision
should have prevailed over the general provision and, therefore, the failure to carry out the special
proceeding would render the act null and void pursuant to the law.
As an example to the foregoing, we have the case concerning the review of documents filed during a
customs clearance, in which the authority applies its review and enforcement powers based on article
48 of the Federal Tax Code, which studies the desk audit proceeding, instead of conducting the one
specified in article 152 of the Customs Law that stipulates that such action must be deemed a review
of documents filed during the customs clearance.
Special standards prevail over general standards
In case we have a special standard, the authority cannot apply a general standard instead; it does not
matter if the proceeding stipulated in the latter is complied with, given that this will be illegal because
the authority did not apply the correct standard. Constitutional article 16 explains this categorically,
when it establishes that all official government actions shall be grounded in law, understanding as
properly grounded in law the enforcement of the applicable provision.
The criterion of specialty (lex specialis derogat legi generali) sets forth that when we have two
incompatible standards, one general and one special, the latter shall prevail, due to the fact that the
special law takes a part of the matter ruled by the general standard to submit it to another regulation
(contrary or contradictory.)
General Audit Proceedings
To understand the concept of specialty of article 152 of the Customs Law over the Federal Tax Law
first we must understand why the inspection visit to the principal place of business of an entity and
the desk audit consider a general proceeding over the special proceeding set forth in the above-
Article 48 of the Federal Tax Code sets forth that in those cases in which the tax authorities request
form taxpayers, joint responsible persons or third parties, reports, data or documents or the filing of
the accounting records or a part of them, for the exercise of their review and enforcement powers,
outside of an inspection visit, such actions must be conducted based on the proceeding stipulated in
this article, bearing in mind that the foregoing does not put away the specialty established in the
Customs Law, in the understanding that the authority shall obey such standard in the first place.