Tax free salary does not equate to tax non-resident

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South Africans living in the UAE (Dubai) or Qatar (Doha) not paying South African tax on their foreign earned salary,  in most cases will remain tax resident in SA.

The 183/+60-day rule only speaks to the (partial) exemption of remuneration from employment. South Africans will continue to pay SA tax on worldwide income from all other income, including most retirement fund income albeit that the retirement fund is foreign based.  Immigrant South African may enjoy some limited tax exemption on foreign pension, yet the SA retirement funds will indeed pay SA taxable retirement benefits, albeit that contributions were made from tax exempt foreign employment income.

Immigrants must therefore distinguish between retirement funds accumulated before they arrive in SA, funds transferred from a foreign fund to a SA fund (QROPS to Living Annuity in SA) and funds contributed since they arrived in SA.

Because of the 2021 tax year changes (effective as of 1 March 2020 [#Tax2020], SA expats (being tax resident in SA, albeit that they are) residing and working in say UAE, Germany, USA and most other countries, will no longer enjoy full tax exemption on all their foreign sourced salary.

In fact, as of 1 March 2020, the taxpayer’s tax exemption will be capped at R1m per tax year.

This aligns the SA system with that of the USA yet we are not taxed based on nationality (as in the USA) but on tax residency status. SA tax residents can therefore tax emigrate (#taxmigration) unlike USA taxpayer that remain IRS tax filers on worldwide income, despite living in SA.

The USA exempts foreign earned income to a specific monetary value, which is adjusted upwards annually. Will SARS increase the R1m cap annually? Perhaps this where the Tax Petition Group need to focus on?

One is also extremely concerned about the misleading articles carried by news agencies! Even the News24 articles stating that “When one “emigrates financially”, however, they cease to be a South African tax resident and will not be liable to pay any South African tax on their worldwide income. ” is so far removed from the truth!

What is required is to tax emigrate and formal or financial emigration are not directly link and neither does the one guarantee the other.

Many expats now rush to tax emigrate from South Africa, all in an attempt to save the SA tax on the foreign income. In doing so the taxpayers may indeed trigger capital gains taxes on the tax exit placed on record, so late in the relocation process.

The unpaid exit charges may call for a VDP process! Need some guidance? Feel free to contact us

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24 Jan 2019

USA celebrates 4th of July! Aliens funds the party

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As Americans recover from their 4th of July parties, it is indeed time to consider the tax cost and consequence for aliens investing with Uncle Sam

Yes, South Africans are aliens. President Trump may or may not have referred to people from South Africa as living in a s’hole country, who am I to say!

The IRS and USA tax laws most certainly labels us South Africans without an USA passport or green card as non-resident aliens.

We may not be from Mars nor Jupiter yet we are, upon death to pay FET (Federal Estate Tax) on our USA situs assets.

FET’s maximum rate is 40% and there is no spousal roll over. The exempt amount is a mere $60 000. No further SA estate duty is payable on the said USA assets, as there is a treaty in place

No spousal roll-over you ask? Yes, no roll over and the take home is that USA stock and cash held by you USA stock broker, should NOT be bequeathed to your spouse!

No, not to the offshore trust either as your wife will be taxed, upon her death assuming she is the surviving spouse, on the USA situs assets held within the offshore trust.

Who then, should be nominated as the named legatee in your will, as the person to inherit eBay, Facebook and all other USA equities?

Indeed an interesting question and one best addressed during a one-on-one meeting, with your SA accountant, duly present.

Need an appointment? Feel free to make contact on

 

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