4 Tax Aspects that can Dog your Life as a South African Expat

Apr 24, 2018 | Trusts & Tax Planning

south africa tax expat

Although you can start a new life in a far away land your tax records do not automatically transfer with you. Instead, you have to go through various processes to ‘break clean’; to ensure the South African tax authorities no longer have a fiscal claim to your income.

This presents a number of problems given that the scale of scrutiny by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and other services is intense.


75% of Tax Cases are Considered Non – Compliant

The issue here is that unless you have gone through the legal hoops to make a clean break with the tax authorities, your tax dealings may well be deemed non-compliant and you will be eligible to pay tax to South Africa even though you live and work in a different country.

Small Fry Means Nothing

The thing to remember here is that just because you are small fry does not make you exempt from SARS and other agencies pursuing you for tax payments. The net is designed to catch as many as possible. Foreign banks will report your income to SARS and so sooner or later the net will catch you.

Being Tax Audited Means Very Little

There are two misconceptions that most expats are under where auditing is concerned. One, there is a confusion between being verified and audited. If you have not been asked to provide your last three year’s worth of bank statements you have only been verified.

Two, if you are audited you can be audited again at a later date. There are no time limits that can protect you.

Tax Authorities are Sharing Information

The fact is that taxation is changing with an ever shrinking net. Tax authorities around the world are sharing information so the information you put on a tax return is more easily checked by SARS. It is believed in the future tax offices will populate your tax return on information provided by other authorities and simply send you the bill.

Obtain a SARS Issued Emigration Tax Clearance Certificate for Peace of Mind

The only way to avoid the tax issues is to obtain a SARS Emigration Tax Clearance Certificate which shows that you are resident in a different country and no longer part of the South African Tax system. Getting one is complex, and this is where my award winning financial planning services can help.

Click here and complete the Call Back Service form and schedule your appointment. Together we can ensure you do not pay tax when you do not need to.

Source: The South African

For more information, please contact Michele Carby at Holborn Asset Management on +971 50 618 6463 and on e-mail at [email protected]


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