switch your retirement fund out of South Africa in 2021 and past

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Monetary emigration is being phased out from March 2021 and there’s some confusion about what this implies for individuals who are emigrating from South Africa, or who’ve already left however who’ve by no means accomplished “formal emigration”/”monetary emigration” with the South African Reserve Financial institution. Right here’s what it is advisable to know. 

Monetary emigration is the advanced technique of declaring your self formally a non-resident of South Africa with the South African Reserve Financial institution (SARB). Monetary emigration solely impacts alternate management and doesn’t have an effect on your citizenship or whether or not you pay tax in South Africa.

An finish to monetary emigration

In January 2021, the Taxation Legal guidelines Modification Act (TLAA) was signed into legislation and it seeks to get rid of the excellence between residents and non-residents for alternate management functions (and subsequently, monetary emigration).

One of many major advantages of this distinction was that in case you had been thought-about non-resident by SARB, you had been capable of entry your retirement annuities earlier than they matured and switch them in a foreign country. Now, the federal government wants one other solution to decide whether or not an individual has emigrated earlier than they’re granted entry to their retirement funds.

The significance of tax emigration

As of 1 March 2021, South Africans wishing to maneuver their retirement annuities in a foreign country want to indicate proof that they’ve been non-resident for tax functions for an uninterrupted interval of three years.

Whereas monetary emigration means altering your residence standing with the reserve financial institution, tax emigration means altering your residency standing with the South African Income Service (SARS) and there are extra advantages to doing this.

Since South Africa has a tax residence-based tax system, in case you’re thought-about a tax resident within the nation, you might be taxed in your worldwide revenue and nonetheless must file taxes in case you stay overseas. The primary R1.25 million of overseas revenue is exempt from tax, however you possibly can nonetheless be charged penalties for non-declaration to SARS. It’s additionally attainable that you could possibly be chargeable for to pay tax twice on the identical revenue in case your new house doesn’t have a Double Taxation Agreements (DTA) with South Africa.

In case you are thought-about non-resident in South Africa for tax functions, then you definitely solely must declare and pay tax on South African-sourced revenue.

How SARS determines your tax residency standing

You could be dwelling outdoors of South Africa and nonetheless be thought-about a tax resident. SARS considers three components when deciding whether or not to declare you non-resident. First, the place you might be ordinarily resident and second, the place you might be most bodily current and thirdly if a double taxation settlement deems you to be tax resident in a foreign country.

The ordinarily resident check takes inventory of your everlasting house, the place you retain your belongings and the place your loved ones relies, as an illustration:

  • If you happen to stay in a spot in South Africa with some permanence
  • If you happen to repeatedly return to a spot in South Africa
  • You probably have a everlasting house in South Africa
  • You probably have belongings in storage in South Africa

Do you have to be declared ordinarily resident outdoors of South Africa, SARS will take a look at what number of days you’ve spent within the nation.

To cross this bodily presence tax check and be deemed non-resident for tax functions, it is advisable to be current in South Africa for fewer than:

  • 91 days within the yr of evaluation
  • 91 days in every of the previous 5 years of evaluation
  • 915 days in combination in the course of the above 5 previous tax years – which quantities to a median of 183 days a yr

If SA and one other nation sees you as tax resident, then the DTA guidelines which nation can see you as a tax resident and this overrides the traditional tax resident legal guidelines of the opposite nation.

When to vary your tax standing

When you could be anxious to vary your standing sooner fairly than later to minimise the time you need to wait earlier than you possibly can entry your RA, there are another components to think about.

If you change your tax standing, you’ll set off Capital Beneficial properties Tax (CGT), generally referred to as “exit tax”, as you’re deemed to “promote” your worldwide belongings (excluding SA fastened property and retirement funds) to your overseas self. South African CGT isn’t a flat charge. A portion will get added to your different revenue, relying on what tax bracket you’re in. If you happen to change your standing late within the tax yr, your taxable revenue is greater and subsequently the share of CGT you need to pay could be greater too.

On the day you modify your standing, you may additionally must file a provisional tax return and any taxes will likely be due instantly, even when the tax yr hasn’t ended.

We suggest searching for skilled recommendation earlier than making an attempt to change your tax standing. We’re South African tax emigration specialists who can help in managing the whole course of from end-to-end. E-mail us on [email protected] or give us a name on +27 (0) 21 657 2120.


Learn additionally:

  • South African expat tax exemption enhance and no extra monetary emigration
  • Emigrating from South Africa? Timing is important

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