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Making the most of an offshore allowance and moving money internationally

by Andrew Rissik | Jun 24, 2014
  • Moving your money offshore, whether you are buying property or investing, can present a minefield of tax and bureaucratic obstacles. Every country has its own policies on managing currency exchange and foreign investment and there can be serious pitfalls for the unwary.
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    In South Africa, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) allows you, as an individual, to move up to one million Rand per annum under a discretionary allowance without tax clearance, and another four million with tax clearance. This gives a large opportunity for investment, particularly if your spouse has a tax number as the amount could be doubled; but moving that amount of cash on your own can be complicated, costly, and time consuming.

    When investing offshore, timing is everything. Currencies are constantly fluctuating and moving money for an overseas investment carries with it a certain amount of risk. Having options, like being able to lock a forward exchange rate to hedge this risk, or move your money quickly, can make all the difference.

    When you plan to move your allowance offshore, using your bank to transfer the funds is not necessarily the best option. They will not always initiate the transfer immediately, charge unnecessary fees and will not offer you the best exchange rate. The process can take around five working days, and the final amount you receive will be uncertain until it is complete. On top of that, it is your responsibility to obtain tax clearance from SARS and report your money correctly. This all can make doing business internationally very frustrating. 

    How can Sable help you?

    South Africa’s foreign exchange regulations are complex. Moving money in and out of the country requires expert knowledge and understanding. Our business is regulated and authorised in all jurisdictions by the relevant authorities and in South Africa by the Financial Services Board, the SARB, and the Financial Intelligence Centre. 

    Our consultants highly skilled and spend every day trading foreign exchange and processing international transfers. We offer better rates than the banks and are completely transparent with all of our transactions, which means no hidden costs for you. More importantly, they are trained to take the frustration out of the process.

    Our consultants know international money exchange systems intimately, this lets us guarantee that funds are cleared within two working days. They liaise with you and assist with your SARS clearance. They are practiced at making sure every part of your transaction happens smoothly. We jump through the hoops so you don’t have to; and, more often than not, we can get approval where the banks can't. We believe that the mark of a great currency brokerage is one that can make your transaction seem effortless.

    Top tip: If you are a regular offshore investor, or, if you are thinking of investing a large amount in the future, then don't forget to use your annual allowance.  Moving an amount greater than your annual limit will need to be approved by SARB by way of special clearance, another service we can assist with. 

    This article was written by Andrew Rissik and first appeared in Real Estate Investor Magazine's Offshore Handbook 2014

    Contact Sable Forex

    SA phone number: +27 (0) 21 657 2153
    UK phone number: +44 (0) 808 141 5535 
    Email us:
    Fax us: +27 (0)21 797 2132 

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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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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