2019/2020 Tax Rates (1 March 2019 – 29 February 2020)
South African Individual Taxpayers
Rates of tax (R)
18% of taxable income
R35 253 + 26% of taxable income above R195 850
R63 853 + 31% of taxable income above R305 850
R100 263 + 36% of taxable income above R423 300
R147 891 + 39% of taxable income above R555 600
R1 500 000
R207 448 + 41% of taxable income above R708 310
R1 500 001 and above
R532 041 + 45% of taxable income above R1 500 000
The primary and additional age rebate is available to all South African individual taxpayers. The rebate is not reduced where a person has taxable income for less than the standard South African tax year. The rebate is given against the tax calculated and not against the actual income. The only instance where the rate is reduced is on death of the taxpayer.
Interest Exemption (no changes from the 2018 tax year)
Individuals under 65
R 23,800 per annum
Individuals 65 and over
R 34,500 per annum
The above exemptions are applicable to interest earned from a South African source earned by a natural person.
Interest which is received or accrues by or to any person that is not a resident is exempt from tax unless:
that person is a natural person who was physically present in the Republic of South Africa for a period exceeding 183 days in aggregate during the twelve-month period preceding the date on which the interest was received or accrues by or to that person; or
the debt from which the interest arises is effectively connected to a permanent establishment of that person in the Republic.”
Dividends received by individuals from South African companies are generally exempt from income tax, but dividends tax at a rate of 20% is withheld by the entities paying the dividends to the individuals. Dividends received by South African resident individuals from REITs (listed and regulated property owning companies)are subject to income tax and non-residents in receipt
of those dividends are only subject to dividends tax.
Most foreign dividends received by individuals from foreign companies (shareholding of less than 10% in the foreign company) are taxable at a maximum effective rate of 20%. No deductions are allowed for expenditure to produce foreign dividends.
The deduction in respect of donations to certain public benefit organisations is limited to 10% of an individual’s taxable income. Such an organisation must be specifically approved by the South African Revenue Service and they must issue with their receipt confirming your contribution. The amount of donations exceeding 10% of the taxable income is treated as a donation to qualifying public benefit organisations in the following tax year.
Rates per kilometre, which may be used in determining the allowable deduction for business travel against an allowance or advance where actual costs are not claimed, are determined by using the following table:
The taxable value us 3.5% of the determined value (the cash cost including VAT) per month of each vehicle. Where the vehicle is-
– the subject of a maintenance plan when the employer acquired the vehicle, the taxable value is 3,25% of the determined value; or
– acquired by the employer under an operating lease, the taxable value is the cost incurred by the employer under the operating lease
plus the cost of fuel.
80% of the fringe benefits must be included in the employee’s remuneration for the purposes of calculating PAYE. The percentage is reduced to 20% if the employer is satisfied that at least 80% of the use of the motor vehicle for the tax year will be for business purposes.
On assessment, the fringe benefit for the tax year is reduced by the ratio of the distance travelled for business purposes, substantiated by a log book, divided by the actual distance travelled during the tax year.
On assessment, further relief is available for the cost of license, insurance, maintenance and fuel for private travel if the full cost thereof has been borne by the employee, and if the distance travelled for private purposes is substantiated by a log book.
Non-resident employees should see Expatriates regarding their housing benefit.
Where an employer provides an employee with a house, the fringe benefit value is normally the higher of the cost to the employer or a formula calculated on the employee’s salary. Let us know should you require the value calculated.
The following amounts will be deemed to have been actually expended by a recipient to whom an allowance or advance has been granted or paid –
Where the accommodation to which the allowance or advance relates, is in the Republic of South Africa and the allowance or advance is granted to pay for –
meals and incidental costs, and amount of R435 per day;
for incidental costs only, R1134 per day
Where here the accommodation to which the allowance or advance relates, is outside the Republic of South Africa and the allowance or advance is granted to pay for meals and incidental costs, an amount per day determined in accordance with the following table for the country in which the accommodation is located—
Every employer in South Africa must withhold PAYE (Pay-as-you-earn) from remuneration paid to an employee. The rate of withholding is determined by the South African Revenue Service and is published in their EMP10 Guidelines. Tax withheld must be paid on or before the 7th day after the month in which remuneration was paid.
It is the employer’s obligation to ensure the correct withholding of PAYE. Where an employer has not withheld the correct amount, it becomes a debt to the South African Revenue Service. When audited, employers often find their tax exposures to be very large and SARS is on a drive to audit all employers.
At the end of a tax year the employer must report the PAYE to SARS on an EMP501 form. This form shows what PAYE was withheld per employee. The income and benefits paid to an employee and the PAYE withheld is also shown on an IRP5 certificate that is handed to the employee. This document is filed by the employee with his or her personal income tax return.
Employees’ tax is a complex area and specific questions will be easier to answer than attempting to do the topic justice with a more detailed explanation. See Your tax questions.
Skills Development Levy (SDL) is payable by employers at a rate of 1% of the total remuneration paid to the employee. Employers paying annual remuneration of less than R 500,000 are exempt from paying SDL.
The residency test is very important for any foreigner coming to South Africa or for any South African going abroad. The reasons being primarily that:
When you are resident of South Africa you pay tax on your worldwide income and as a non-resident you only pay tax on your South African “source” income and certain beneficial exemptions apply; and
When you lose your South African tax residency, for instance you go work abroad and your circumstances dictate that you become non-resident, there is a deemed disposal of certain of your assets for capital gains tax purposes and this may cause some cash flow problems.
An individual will be tax resident in South Africa by applying the following tests:
Firstly, you will never be tax resident in South Africa should you be tax resident, in terms of a double tax agreement entered between South Africa and a tax treaty partner, in the partner country. An example will be where you go and work in the United Kingdom and you become a full tax resident there while you do not have available accommodation in South Africa. The double tax treaty between South Africa and the United Kingdom will then determine that you are exclusively resident in the United Kingdom and the result is that you become non-resident for South African tax purposes.
Provided the above does not apply, you will be South African tax resident as long as you are “ordinarily resident” in South Africa. The meaning of “ordinarily resident” is that you consider South Africa your real home and plan to return to South Africa. This is the reason why many South Africans overseas remain “ordinarily resident” in South Africa and also the reason why foreign workers coming to South Africa on expatriate assignments never become “ordinarily resident”.
When you are not treaty resident in another country and you are not “ordinarily resident” in South Africa. It is still possible for you to be tax resident through a Physical presence days test. The test determines whether you are tax resident in South Africa for a particular year of assessment and has two legs:
You are resident if you are, present in South Africa for more than 91 days in the current tax year; and
Present in South Africa for more than 91 days for the preceding 5 tax years; and
Present in South Africa for more than 915 days in aggregate for the preceding 5 tax years.
Should the test be met you will be tax resident in South Africa for the sixth tax year.
The South African Revenue Service now asks specific questions to the above effect in your personal income tax return and has become a lot more aware and active in enforcing the residency tests.
South Africa has quite an extensive network of double tax treaties with other countries. The treaties are there to prevent tax evasion and to ensure that South African taxpayers do not suffer double taxation. List of the double tax treaties are available on the South African Revenue Service website. Almost all of our treaties are schooled on the OECD Model Tax Treaty and international interpretations will therefore often be given thereto. Click here to read more about Double Taxation Agreements (DTA’s).
Foreign tax credits are generally given where a South African tax resident is taxed on income that has already been taxed in another country under a source principle and where any double tax agreement between South Africa and that other country allows that country to tax the income.
We will therefore not give tax credits where we have the right to first collect tax on income. This is pretty standard in all tax systems internationally.
The amount of credit must be claimed in an individual’s income tax return and the amount of credit given is limited to tax on the income being taxed twice. This ensures that tax credits can never be claimed against income that South Africa has the exclusive taxing right on. Exemptions however do exist. Please contact us for details.
South African resident taxpayers who work abroad still need to declare their foreign income in their individual income tax returns. This income can however be exempted from South African tax by claiming a tax exemption where certain conditions of absence have been met. These conditions are:
It must be employment income; and
The income must be earned while you were working outside South Africa; and
The time that you must have been outside South Africa on work must be more than 183 days in any 365 day period and of this 183 days 60 days of absence must have been continuous; and
The income must become taxable in your hands during the 365 days referred to in the previous point.
This is an important exemption and South Africans working abroad must plan the effect hereof carefully to ensure that they qualify for the exemption.
It is advisable to plan and consider the financial implications of estate duty well in advance.
The rate is 20% of the amount determined by the Act as subject to estate duty. There are various exemptions such as everything that goes to a surviving spouse. Whatever remains is subject to a standard exemption of R3.5 million per estate.
Estate duty is levied at a flat rate of 20% on the property of South African tax residents and the South African property of non-residents.
A basic deduction of R 3.5 million applies in respect of estate duty. Exemptions are also allowed, including deductions for liabilities, bequests to public benefit organisations and property accruing to surviving spouses.
Transfer duty is paid where immovable property is acquired and the transaction is not subject to VAT. It applies where rights of ownership are transferred to a natural person or a juristic person such as a company, close corporation or a trust.
Value of property
First R 900 000
R 900 001 – 1 250 000
3% of the value above R900 000
R 1 250 001 – 1 750 000
R 10 500 + 6% of the value above R 1 250 000
R 1 750 001 – 2 250 000
R 40 500 + 8% of the value above R 1 750 000
R 2 250 001 – 10 000 000
R 80 500 +11% of the value above R 2 250 000
R 10 000 001 and above
R 933 000 + 13% of the value above R 10 000 000
If a registered vendor purchases property from a non-vendor, the VAT notional input tax credit is limited to the VAT fraction (14/114) of the lower of the selling price or the open market value. A notional input tax credit is only claimable to the extent to which the purchase price has been paid and the property is registered in the Deeds Office;
With effective date of 10 January 2012, the restriction that the notional input is limited to the transfer duty paid is no longer applicable; and
Persons attempting to evade transfer duty may be charged with an additional duty of up to double the amount of duty that was originally payable. The person will also be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to either a fine, or imprisonment, for a period not exceeding sixty months.
No transfer duty will be levied in respect of transactions listed in section 9 of the Transfer Duty Act No. 40 of 1949.