The Tax Vs Financial Emigration


Various South Africans are required to work abroad. Many questions arise related to the taxing of income earned by these South Africans. Double tax agreements, the location of the employee’s family and home, the duration of the agreement and various other factors could impact the tax consequences and considerations. An assessment is then necessary of whether the South African is tax non-resident or has emigrated because of a treaty or other circumstances, and whether the correct process was followed from a financial, legal and tax perspective. The new tax rules impact differently on expats, all depending on the Income Tax Act’s definition of “tax resident” as applied to their personal circumstances.

Course Content

Join Hugo van Zyl who will share his expertise on, inter alia, the following practical problems:

An update on the process already put in place by SARS (existing and new processes).

What does South African employers of seconded staff need to do?

What are the VAT implications of assignment-related cost charges?

Are the assignment-related costs borne by the home entity deductible for corporate income tax purposes?

Some countries in the Middle East have double tax agreements with South Africa, but the problem is that a lot of them don’t have a tax revenue office, which means you cannot get a tax resident certificate to prove to SARS that you’re a tax resident there. What process should then be followed?

If a couple is based in South Africa, and one spouse is predominantly working outside the country in Africa and the other is working in South Africa, will they be regarded as SA tax residents?

Does it matter whether you work in a country with no double taxation agreement or in a country where there is a double taxation agreement? Does it have an impact on residency?

What is the (financial, legal and tax) process to change my residency status? Can I do this myself or do I need to get a professional involved? How does it impact on my employer?

If I change my residency status to not resident, can I still own property in SA?

What will be the tax consequences when changing my residency status and are there ways of reducing this tax?

Must I give SARS a physical address in SA or outside SA when I am a non-resident?

Does the fact that I have a dual passport impact my residency status?

I have left SA and don’t have the intention to return. Could I be subject to penalties on my unplanned return? If so, can I get them reduced or remitted?

Do I still need an active tax reference number if I become non-resident and own property in SA or have an investment in SA?

As a non-resident, must I still submit a return when withholding tax was withheld on interest or royalties or dividends?

OK, I am liable for expat tax, but when and how do calculate it and how do I pay SARS?


Hugo van Zyl

CA (SA) TEP MTP(SA) MCom (Tax)

Based in Cape Town, Hugo runs his own private tax practice as well as a joint venture tax and formal emigration business.

Hugo emigrated his first client in May 1993 two months after the Chris Hani murder, and since then he has lectured SA expat, SA CGT and income tax in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Mauritius, as well as locally throughout South Africa. Since 1993, Hugo has assisted several ex-pats, Saffas and global citizens in entering and exiting South Africa, not only from a tax perspective but also as a cross-border exchange control and multi-jurisdictional trust and estate specialist.  

In 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2019 Hugo was an active tax specialist and fiduciary panelist at the Tax Indaba. In 2020 he was a guest speaker at national AGM of the Fiduciary institute of South Africa. For SAIT and The Tax Faculty he has done more than five webinars and a country-wide roadshow on the then new section 7C tax rules.

Hugo is not only a PBO/NGO specialist providing tax and practical advice; he also spent many years as national treasurer for both the Association of Round Tables (ARTSA as it was then known) and Chaine des Rôtisseurs Afrique de Sud (

Hugo is known by his international Twitter name @wegkaner.


This webinar and successful completion of the online assessment will secure 2 hours verifiable output TAXCPD points/units.

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— Read on


12 March 2020
Cape Town

simply do not FEOn February 26th, 2020 our Finance Minister Tito Mboweni was brave enough, and so openly “bragged”, to go where others feared to go and came close to abolishing old-fashioned exchange control (Excon) measures resulting in blocked assets and blocked accounts. Could we see the closure of entire bank divisions dealing with blocked accounts? This is yet to be seen; time will learn as to the fate of existing blocked accounts. 

Why simply financially emigrate based because a product punter offered a free meeting? There is nothing like a free lunch to grasp a free marketing opportunity! Did the product salesperson share tax expertise or marketing skills? Aha, #FINANCIALEMIGRATION was sold a product to get rid of #ExpatTax2020, despite SARS stating it is not the answer!! 

Don’t worry, not too late. Trusted tax practitioner can fix the eFile/Tax profile errors created by proponents of financial agreements. #Tax2020Truth.

fisa agm 2020Hugo presented a paper, on this topic at the 2020 FISA AGM, held in Cape  Town. Next presentation FISA Bloemfontein 16 April 2020.

What does the announcement signify to the #financialemigration” fraternity and short-lived industry?

The SA Reserve bank press release or Circular 2 of 2020, can be downloaded from the page 

Continue reading “#RIPfinancialemigration”

Tax 2020 Time lines for SA Expats


your ref:



Monday, 06 January 2020


our ref: UAE Tax Exit Summary.docx

General guidelines for South African Expats (#Saffas) or #Wegkaner – not employed by SA employer

There is great confusion as the solutions, products and tax process to be followed by Saffas residing AND working in the UAE (in possession of an Emirates ID card)

Foreign Earned Income refers to income from employment only, as defined in ITA section 10(1)(o)(ii)

Action points Continue reading “Tax 2020 Time lines for SA Expats”

What Expats Must Do Before 1 March 2020 with Hugo van Zyl – PROpulsion Podcast

Ep. 16 – South African Expat Tax Changes and What Expats Must Do Before 1 March 2020 with Hugo van Zyl – PROpulsion Podcast
— Read on

  • Your first tax payment – due 31 August 2020
  • Your first tax filing date – Probably late 2020 

Hugo van Zyl CA(SA) TEP MTP(SA) is well-known for his expertise in cross-border tax and financial planning.  It is no surprise that his colleagues refer to him as “ask Hue’Gle” when all other resources fail.  His track record speaks for itself. Continue reading “What Expats Must Do Before 1 March 2020 with Hugo van Zyl – PROpulsion Podcast”

SARS FAQ: Foreign Earned Income Exemption

#Tax2020Truth on the Capped Foreign Earned Income Exemption being R1 million as from 1 March 2020. First tax due 31 August 2020.

SARS now has a dedicated page dealing with:


Continue reading “SARS FAQ: Foreign Earned Income Exemption”

#taxmigration vs. #financialemigration

And the scoreboard reads:

#taxmigration                    10        

#formalemigration              5         

#financialemigration       0 (failed)

Eventually, we have SARS buy-in and confirmation that formal emigration is not a tax act process.

Yes, SARS punched the punters of financial emigration, a bloody if not deadly blow! Continue reading “#taxmigration vs. #financialemigration”