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Pension funds & emigration – tax impact

Investing in an offshore retirement fund is one way of growing your wealth in a stable economy over the longer term, or even gaining residency in a foreign country. However, for South Africans, this scenario presents as many challenges as it does opportunities and should only be considered after consulting with a financial adviser and tax expert.

Trusts, far from obsolete

Locally, as trust compliance becomes more complex and trusts become more costly to administer, their value is increasingly being questioned. However, a trust’s worth extends beyond its financial benefits, and as such, they are still very relevant tools to use in a well-crafted estate plan, especially for high-net-worth families. 

Decoding expat tax

Expatriate tax is complex, intricate and can be challenging to understand – especially if one does not have the basics, such as what is an expat, down pat. Simply, an expatriate, or expat, is an individual who has relocated from their home country to another, either temporarily or permanently.

Ceasing SA tax residency in countries that don’t offer permanent residence

To be released from their local tax obligations in relation to foreign income, emigrating South Africans must be able to prove to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) that they have permanently left the country.

Budget 2022 – South African expats remain top priority for SARS

The Budget Review 2022 was far from a 'good news' budget for South Africans working abroad (expats). For the 5th consecutive year, there has been changes proposed that clearly indicate that SARS is still targeting expats and view them as low-hanging fruit to boost revenue collection.

The ‘silent’ changes affecting South Africans who are emigrating

The transition from the old emigration regime to the current regime - ceasing of tax residency, came with some relief. However, there were some silent changes that went unnoticed. The most notable change has been the requirement of a SARS Tax Compliance Status (TCS PIN) for every capital transfer a Non-Resident/Non-Tax Resident makes to offshore.

2021 tax proposals signed into law

The President has given effect to the 2021 tax proposals by signing three tax Acts into law. On 14 January 2022, the President gave his assent to the Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws Act No. 19 of 2021 (Rates Act), the Taxation Laws Amendment Act No. 20 of 2021 (TLAA) and the Tax Administration Laws Amendment Act No. 21 of 2021 (TALAA). These Acts were promulgated on 19 January 2021.

Government withdraws proposal to impose exit tax on retirement interests

Expatriates and those with plans to emigrate will be relieved to learn that the proposal to impose an exit tax on retirement interests will be withdrawn. In presenting their Draft Response Document on the 2021 Draft Tax Bills, National Treasury and SARS confirmed that the proposal will not be included in final Taxation Laws Amendment Bill that will be tabled in tomorrow’s Medium Term Budget.

The glitch in our new residency-based system

South Africa’s exchange control regime has relaxed considerably over the last few years, but the most recent amendments have created widespread confusion around the definition of non-residency for exchange control purposes. In particular: When is a person non-resident for exchange control in South Africa? How do they cease to be resident for exchange control purposes? And what does all this mean?

Is the proposed tax on retirement interests an ‘exit tax’?

The most contentious proposal introduced by the 2021 Draft Tax Bills is arguably the tax on retirement interests when a person ceases tax residency. The proposed tax has widely been christened as a further 'exit tax' imposed on South Africans leaving the country. However, based on responses by the Minister of Finance to a written parliamentary Q&A, some have questioned whether the proposal can rightfully be classified as an 'exit tax'.


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