You will need tax advice should you want to emigrate from South Africa, especially in light of recent tax legislation changes, requiring expatriates to financially emigrate in order to change their tax status from resident to non-resident.
Many people mistakenly believe that once they have emigrated, they do not have to file annual tax returns with SARS. Do not make the same mistake. Get professional tax advice on what is required before you no longer have to file tax returns.
You have to apply for a tax clearance certificate from SARS. The certificate shows that you have no outstanding returns and payments due and that all your tax-related affairs are in order. Get tax advice before you apply for the tax clearance certificate. We will help you get your tax returns up to date and make sure all tax issues are resolved before applying for the tax clearance certificate from SARS. Once everything is in order, SARS will issue the emigration tax clearance certificate.
If you have already left the country, you should note that SARS still sees you as a South African taxpayer until you have financially emigrated. Here too, we can provide appropriate tax advice on which route to follow and will then help you change your tax status from resident to non-resident.
When you financially emigrate and still have existing bank accounts in the country, those accounts must be closed and transfer of the accounts must be made to your non-resident bank account. You will, furthermore, be able to transfer any proceeds that you receive from your retirement annuity before the 55 years age cut-off and your inheritance from a source in the country. You will also be able to transfer proceeds from your assets in the country; you must declare such on the emigration form. In addition, you will be able to transfer proceeds from rental income, remuneration, director fees, and income from trusts, as well as proceeds from third-party life insurance.
Once you have financially emigrated, you will only be subject to paying tax from income derived from South Africa. This also applies to capital gain tax. Such income includes rental from an immovable property and dividends received from South African-based firms. You will still be liable for capital gains tax on the growth in the value of your South African-based fixed property. We recommend seeking tax advice on this issue as well.
Call us for professional tax advice regarding issues such as financial emigration and getting a tax clearance certificate.