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South African tax

We provide comprehensive tax services and advice for both South Africans at home and abroad and anyone with South African income. From tax registrations, returns and South African Revenue Service (SARS) correspondence, to expat tax consultancy and international tax guidance, our South African tax practitioners can assist.

South African tax returns

Our end-to-end assistance with individual tax returns covers everything from registering as a South African tax payer to calculating and submitting your tax return. We make sure you get the maximum benefit for your tax situation and that you’re always ready come tax season.

We’re fully compliant with South African income tax legislation and always in contact with SARS. This ensures we can make submissions as fast as possible and keep up to date with all process and systems changes.

Individual income tax

We check if you need to register and submit an individual income tax return by doing an assessment of your situation.

Tax registrations

We deal with SARS on your behalf. You won’t need to wait in queues and worry if you’ve brought the right documents. We take care of your income tax registration from start to finish.

Provisional tax

If you receive income other than a salary, you’ll need to register as a provisional taxpayer. Being a provisional taxpayer means you’ll be required to pay your estimated tax in advance. We can assist with registration, calculation and submission to make sure you’re always prepared.

Tax calculations and submissions

We can help you submit the most beneficial SARS tax return for your personal situation. Equipped with expert knowledge and years of tax experience, we advise, calculate and submit for you.

Voluntary disclosure applications (VDP)

SARS has set up a programme to allow taxpayers to make a disclosure to avoid prosecution. If you have any outstanding tax affairs and are facing penalties, we can put together your VDP application and submit it to SARS. We will mediate an agreement to waiver any penalties and correct your standing with SARS.

Tax file maintenance

By law, all tax-related files need to be kept for five years. It can get quite confusing trying to keep track of everything and stay compliant. We can maintain and store all your tax records and documents for the compulsory five-year period. All physical and electronic documents will be kept safe and secure.

We offer specialist, personalised, end-to-end accounting and tax advice

Tax advice

The way you manage your tax can have a big effect on your finances. We advise on all South African tax matters and structure the best solution for you.


Personal tax compliance

We make sure you’re 100% compliant with South African tax law. We’re always up to date with any changes in legislation, processes and systems at SARS.


Personal tax planning

Planning your tax affairs can be complicated. We ensure you’re always getting the maximum benefit no matter your situation.


Tax status check

Not submitting tax returns can result in non-compliance penalties. We can check your tax status with SARS to ensure there are no admin penalties due.


Tax consultancy and structuring

Whatever your need, we can realise a solution. Personal consultation gives us a better picture of your requirements so we can recommend the best way forward with any tax requirements.

We offer specialist, personalised, end-to-end accounting and tax advice

SARS maintenance and correspondence

Our direct contact with SARS allows us to provide fast and effective service. We’ll always deal with SARS on your behalf, so you can avoid lengthy queues and slowdowns.


Updating details

If your details have changed and you need to let SARS know, we’ll correspond with them to update your bank account, address or any other information. We’ll let you know exactly what we need from you to avoid any unnecessary confusion.


SARS refund delays

Sometimes there are delays in getting your tax refund and it’s difficult to get a reason. It could be anything from outdated tax returns or a special stopper on your account if SARS believes your bank details are incorrect. We can find out the exact reason for the delay and get a fast resolution.


SARS negotiations and appeals

We’ll assist with any irregularities from SARS. If your assessment is incorrect or unfair, we’ll appeal the decision or negotiate with SARS for a better tax treatment.




We offer specialist, personalised, end-to-end accounting and tax advice

International tax

South Africans with international affairs have unique tax requirements. Whether you live in the country and have foreign income or you’re an expat living abroad with local revenue, you’ll need to declare it to SARS. We can set up the best solution to support your international interests.

South African residents

Income from outside South Africa is subject to specific declaration and management requirements. We can help you structure your earnings to be tax efficient and comply with any relevant regulations.

Expat tax

If you’re living overseas and earn money from South African sources, we can handle your income tax in South Africa. We’ll work with you to arrive at the best solution and deal with SARS on your behalf. If you’re interested in learning more about financial emigration from South Africa, our specialists can assess your needs and advise you on the best path.

Tax residency

We can assist with any tax residency queries. This includes determining your tax residency status, advise regarding double taxation agreements (DTAs) between South Africa and foreign states.

Every country’s tax system works differently, so you always need to check if there’s an agreement in place that prevents you from getting taxed twice on your income. We can advise on whether a DTA is in place, and how you can prevent getting taxed more than necessary.

Income from certain employment outside South Africa is exempt from tax. Most employees fall under section 10(1)(o)(ii) of the Income Tax Act. In order to qualify for the exemption, you need to be employed outside the country for at least 183 full days during a 12-month period, with at least 60 of those days spent consecutively outside the country. While currently all foreign income is exempt, from 1 March 2020, only the first R1 million of foreign income will be exempt from tax.

Officers and crew members working on ships fall under section 10(1)(o)(i), with differing requirements for exemption. We’re equipped to answer any queries you have about this section of law.

If you’re classified as a “non-resident” for tax purposes, you’ll be exempt from paying tax on your foreign income. We can check where you stand, advise how this affects your tax affairs and plan your future tax requirements.

We offer specialist, personalised, end-to-end accounting and tax advice

The SA tax year runs from 1 March to 28 February each year

During the year you are required by SARS to estimate your taxes and make partial payments (provisional tax).

  • In August, during the tax year, calculate your estimated taxable income and pay 50% to SARS (first provisional tax).
  • In February, before tax year end, you again estimate tax due - less what you paid in August during the year (second provisional tax).
  • After the tax year end, between July and January, do your final tax calculation and compare it with your provisional estimate. Then pay the balance or claim overpaid tax back.
  • SARS charges interest on unpaid taxes from 1 October each year. To avoid this, a top up (third provisional tax) payment would need to be done by 30 September.
March 2018 August 2018 February 2019
Start of the tax year SA tax year End of the tax year
Based on 5-6 months income First provisional tax  
Based on 10-12 months income   Second provisional tax
July 2019 January 2020
Tax season for provisional tax payers
Final tax calculation done
Third provisional tax (top up)

What is a provisional tax payer?

In essence a provisional tax payer is a person/entity:

  1. Who earns enough to pay tax to SARS
  2. Who earns income from a source which does not deduct tax i.e salary
  3. Where the total taxable income, which is not taxed at source, exceeds R30,000

We offer specialist, personalised, end-to-end accounting and tax advice


What is a “special stopper”?

A special stopper is a hold that SARS places on your account that prevents your tax refund being paid out. It’s usually due to banking details being suddenly subject to verification, even after having been accepted in previous years.

What’s the difference between section 10(1)(o)(i) and section 10(1)(o)(ii)?

Both these sections of the Income Tax Act deal with exemption from tax for South Africans on foreign income earned. Most employees will fall under section 10(1)(o)(ii), while ship crew members working outside South Africa will fall under section 10(1)(o)(i) or section 10(1)(o)(iA).

The main difference between each section is the requirement in the amount of days spent working outside South Africa to qualify for exemption*:

  • Section 10(1)(o)(i): Period exceeding 183 full days aggregate during a year of assessment.
  • Section 10(1)(o)(iA): No days requirements during a year of assessment.
  • Section 10(1)(o)(ii): Period exceeding 183 full days aggregate during any 12-month period and for a continuous period exceeding 60 full days during the 12-months.

*From 1 March 2020, for people falling under section 10(1)(o)(ii), only the first R1 million of foreign income will be exempt under these conditions. There is no change to to the exemption for people working under section 10(1)(o)(i) and section 10(1)(o)(iA).

How does capital gains tax (CGT) affect my tax status?

If you are a South African tax resident, you’ll be liable for CGT on your assets both inside and outside South Africa.

When your tax status changes to non-tax resident, you’re deemed to “sell” your worldwide assets to your foreign self. The exception to this is South African property. If you’re classified as a non-resident for tax purposes, CGT is applied only on immovable property within South Africa. This includes assets of “permanent establishment” in South Africa, as well as certain indirect interests in immovable property (i.e. shares in property companies).

Do I need to sell my South African property when I emigrate?

No, the process of emigrating or even financially emigrating from South Africa will not require you to sell your South African assets.

Our accountants are available to answer your questions

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Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services Licence issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS Licence number 335 126).

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