Mexico is relatively advanced in its preparation for international policy on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) and has many of the pre-conditions needed to support a community approach in the implementation of a national REDD+ programme, particularly as regards tenure of forests and experience with community forest management and PES schemes, although these conditions do not pertain everywhere. One critical issue that is yet to be resolved concerns rights to carbon credits and distribution of the financial benefits flowing from REDD+. We demonstrate that attribution of carbon credits from reduced deforestation and degradation at the community level is virtually impossible from a technical viewpoint, since these credits are counterfactual. Payments based on assessment of performance of each community in terms of such reductions would moreover be inequitable and inefficient. Flat rate payments in return for agreed improvements in management are likely to be more motivating and much easier to administer. However, increases in carbon stock (forest enhancement) can be physically measured on site, and could be more easily attributed to each individual community. We therefore propose a system in which reduced deforestation and degradation are considered environmental services, with credits accruing to national government. The financial value of the credits may be used to finance flat rate payments to communities who agree to implement improved management. On the other hand, credits for forest enhancement, which reflect measurable increases in carbon in the communities’ trees, would be considered environmental goods. These should be considered the direct property of the owners of the forest (in the same sense as wood or poles) and it would be possible for communities to sell these credits themselves. We acknowledge however that many other problems face implementation of REDD+ in Mexico, and provide a number of important examples.