Emigration Expo: Are You Coming Back? - Cease Tax Residency
How Do I?



Tax Consulting SA and Xpatweb were exhibitors at the Durban leg of The Emigration Expo. While fielding questions, it was evident that many people are interested in working and living offshore, but they seem unsure where to start. All their questions and concerns can be compiled into three groups.

1. Job offers, visas and permits
Most South Africans take the “shopping” approach to emigration. They plan to get a 1 or 2-year visa for the country of their choosing, then to go try it out or to see if they like it. This is obviously not how it works. Countries do not allow their borders to be crossed willy-nilly without there being some clear understanding about what the visitor will do in that country or how long they intend to stay there.

Unless you can claim residence through ancestry, the immediate obstacle is to secure a valid job offer, with which you will be able to apply for a work permit. Where you possess specific skills or expertise, you can qualify for a critical skills or talent visa without needing a job application first, but this is subject to qualifying your skills or talents in the country of choice.

A consultation with a global mobility or immigration specialist, will go a long way towards overcoming the initial stages of relocating to another country.

2. Intention or likelihood
A good consultant usually starts by asking what your intent is when wanting to travel abroad. Depending on whether it is your intent to remain overseas or to return after a year or two abroad, it will change your application process and have a knock-on effect on your finances. In the event where you are unsure of your future intentions, ask yourself what the most likely scenario would be. Are you most likely to return to SA? Or are you most likely not to return at all?

This will decide if you will:

  1. permanently cease your tax residency through financial Emigration,
  2. temporarily cease your tax residency through a Double Tax Agreement, or
  3. claim tax exemption as a South African tax resident.

3. Banking and taxes
It is alarming to note how many people are oblivious to the impact that emigration or working abroad will have on their finances. They are so focused on finding employment in another country or getting out of their own country, that they seldom look beyond the permit or visa application process. Indeed, it is important to wrap your head around the trials of leaving your home country and going to a foreign country, but have you thought about what will happen to your taxes or your life’s savings?

If you are planning to live or work abroad, whether permanently or temporarily, there are serious consequences on your finances. They will change depending on your unique circumstances, being your job, your age, the country you work in and the salary you will earn. We are there to answer your questions, to clarify uncertainties and to help you to create a roadmap that will safely guide you on the exciting journey that lies ahead.

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