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

FATCA in Afrikaans? BRS:AEOI? Is this Marmite on Toast you ask?

BRS: AEOImeans Business Requirement Specification: Automatic Exchange of Information

There is so many new tax acronyms, one can’t be blamed for not always knowing  the full phrase behind the tax acronym.

To guide you, we add a few new once, all from an SA perspective yet they are all well-known international acronyms or abbreviations.

Here they are, but it is not an exhaustive list:

  1. AEOI – Automatic Exchange of Information aka AEFAI as per SARS press release on BRS
  2. AEFAI – Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information
  3. ATO – Australian Tax Office www.ato.gov.au
  4. BRS – Business   Requirement   Specification or Direct Data Flow Channel Guide  aka SARS Modernised 3rd Party Reporting platform, used to report inter alia PAYE, VAT, Investment Income (IT3’s).
  5. CRA – Canadian Revenue Authority – http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/menu-eng.html
  6. eFile – the South African online tax filing portal www.sarsefiling.co.za
  7. Excon – Exchange Control aka FinSurv- SA monetary laws administered by SARB
  8. FATCA – Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act – FFI and other tax offices dotted over the word reports on you to the IRS. An USA Act see http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Corporations/Foreign-Account-Tax-Compliance-Act-FATCA
  9. FBAR – Report on Foreign Bank Account reporting – you tell IRS
  10. FFI – foreign (non-USA) financial institutions – FATCA terminology compare with USFI or FI that is USA based
  11. FinSurv – Financial Surveillance, previously known as Control or SARB’s Exchange Control watchdog
  12. HMRC – Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs – UK tax office http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/
  13. IGA – Model 1 and Model 2 intergovernmental agreements (IGA) or FATCA agreement between IRS and SA on the AEOI process using the BRS designed and implemented in the various IGA jurisdictions
  14. IRD – Inland Revenue – New Zealand aka Maori as Te Tari Taake
  15. IRS – Inland Revenue Services in the USA www.irs.gov
  16. MTP (SA) – Master Tax Practitioner in SA – the Who’s Who in SA tax environment 
  17. PR – Tax practitioner registered with SARS
  18. SARB – South African Reserve Bank, equivalent to the Central Bank in international terms www.resbank.co.za
  19. SARS – South African Revenue Service – www.sars.gov.za
  20. TAA – Tax Administration Act – South African Act dealing with C:SARS rights to administer tax acts
  21. USFI – U.S. financial institutions the internal US hold Co aka as lead FI reporting for all FFI’s in the FI Group

OK, you still lost? Need some more info on all the buzz words and your compliance risk and obligation? Feel free to ask the questions:

Ex-pat Pensioners enjoy Exchange Control Freedom

On our Exchange Control Blog we posted an interesting Exchange Control update (Circular 4 of 2014) refers. See http://wp.me/P4efR1-q

In short:

Ex-pat Pensioners residing abroad (not having formally emigrated) can now extract their monthly pension and retirement annuity income from South Africa (SA) without the need of a tax clearance certificate, despite living abroad as so called temporary non-residents.

TAX ISSUES

UK resident ex-pat pensioners must take note of their NDR status and the tax consequences of remitting SA pension to the UK.

UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand ex pat pensioners may need to avail to treaty benefits to extract their pensions tax free from SA.

Should you need help complete the section below and we will be in contact.