Exchange Control is the bugbear of every South African residing outside SA or even for those in SA wishing to internationalize their business or investment portfolio.
South Africans have seen a gradual ease of exchange control rules and although most transactions remain under “surveillance” the ease of transfer and tracking have been made substantially easier of the last few years.
Tucked away with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s budget address was a small note in section W3 suggesting he will make it easier for SA pensioners living abroad.
Pensioners living abroad can now extract their monthly pension and retirement annuity income from South Africa (SA) without the need of a tax clearance certificate, despite living Read More
In terms of the Right of Aliyah doctrine (the right of every Jew to immigrate to Israel) every Jew going to or intending to go to Israel will be granted an Oleh’s visa. Oleh, for my colleagues not dealing with Israeli law (plural: olim) means a Jew immigrating into Israel. The Oleh Visa is granted by mere expression of the interest to “relocate” to Israel as a qualifying Jew (albeit born outside Israel after 1950).
A person shall not be registered as a Jew by ethnic affiliation or religion and will be denied Oleh Visa, despite being a Jew as defend, inter alia because of political status / activity (i.e. is engaged in an activity directed against the Jewish people or which is likely to endanger public health or the security of the state of Israel) or secondly, where a notification (issued under the Law of Return 5710-1950 as amended by Law of Return Read More
On October 3rd, 2013 the South African Revenue Services (www.sars.gov.za) issued BPR 156 (binding private ruling) which ensure some clarity on the taxation of many expats’ pension funds stuck in South Africa.
An interesting ruling, which may be technically correct but in many ways inadequate, writer felt on first read. Perhaps incorrectly? Let’s consider the outcome and value of the ruling.
Like most SARS rulings, it brings clarity but adds several “however” warnings. Before we address them, allow me to summarize the ruling, with an extract:
SECTION: SECTION 1(1), DEFINITION OF “GROSS INCOME” PARAGRAPHS (a) AND (e)
SUBJECT: PENSION BENEFITS ACCRUING TO A NON-RESIDENT FROM A RESIDENT PENSION FUND
This ruling deals with the question as to whether and to what extent a pension annuity and a retirement fund lump sum benefit, received by or accrued to a person who is not a resident of South Africa from a pension fund registered in South Africa, will be taxable in South Africa. Read More
Real Estate Investment Trusts or REITs is a well known internationally known appropriate business structure yet South Africa only adopted its tax law as of April 1st, 2013 and its stock exchange listed or publicly listed trading rules to accommodate REIT’s as of May 1st, 2013.
Since then many property groups not only converted to a listed REIT but also restructured their balance sheets to remove the debt linked to a unit or a share. Now, on September 6th, the first American Depositry Receipt (ADR) status was granted to a South African listed REIT. One ADR unit equals 10 REIT units on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Despite the ZA Rand being at a 3 week high, the more recent currency exchange is circa R10=1U$D.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT)
REIT’s are tax transparent or tax through flow investment vehicles that invest in and derive their income from real estate properties and mortgage, without necessarily paying tax on their trade result. To qualify for the South African REIT dispensation, a the REIT (either a company or a trust) must be tax resident in South Africa and be listed as an REIT in terms of the JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) listing requirements.
REIT profits are distributed as tax deductible expenses (effectively pre-tax income) which is then received and taxed in the investors’ hands as taxable dividend income. As of 1 January 2014 the SA dividend withholding tax at 15% or the treaty governed rate where the investor is resident in a treaty country, will apply to nonresident investors. Read More
Tax year-end in South Africa, for smaller companies and all individuals, is on the last day of February 2013.
In terms of the collection process, South African Revenue Services (SARS or the equivalent of IRS and HMRC, the competent taxing authority in SA) expects all provisional taxpayers to be either 80% or 90% correct in the end February provisional tax estimate, compared to the final assessment or IT34.
Irrelevant I hear the expats shout, as non-resident taxpayers face withholding taxes and are not required to pay provisional tax. True, I agree but non-resident for purpose of the provisional tax exemption, refers to a person that is either actually tax non-resident or was never tax resident and to a person exclusively tax resident of another country in terms of an applicable double tax treaty.
SA expats residing in the USA relying on anything less than a green card is probably exclusively tax resident in South Africa, as the SA Expats in Australia are exclusively SA tax resident (normally) until they receive a Permanent Residence (PR) Permit. The USA PR obviously is the green card and most others are not adequate to change the tax treaty tie breaker outcome. Read More