Taxes in South Africa

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is the equivalent of the UK's HM Revenue and Customs or America's Internal Revenue Service. Tax in South Africa is similar to the UK regime with some differences that expats should be aware of.

An expat's tax obligations are to a large degree determined by their tax residency status. Those who are not residents for tax purposes are taxed on their South African income only. Residents for tax purposes are taxed on their worldwide income, but there are double-taxation agreements in place with the UK and other governments.

The tax year begins on 1 March each year. Expats are categorised as residents for tax purposes if they have been in South Africa for 183 days or more during the tax year. Conversely, those who are in South Africa for less than 183 are not considered residents for tax purposes.

It may well pay for an expat to ensure that they do not become a tax resident in South Africa. If this is unavoidable, expats should make sure they are aware of when they become resident so that they can plan accordingly. Potential expats are strongly advised to take tax advice from an expert before moving to South Africa.

Income tax rates in South Africa range from 18 percent to 45 percent.

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