Tax & Foreign Employees

Top Tip: Do you need to apply for a directive for the relief from South African tax on pension and annuity income or want a refund of tax that was withheld, click here for more information.
We have a full guide to help you through the ‘ins and outs’ of taxation in South Africa but here are a few basic principles to guide you through.
  • In simple terms, a foreigner may be liable for normal tax on income earned in South Africa. You'll pay the same as a South African National and you’ll be entitled to some of the same exemptions and deductions.
  • You need to be aware that the tax status of a non-resident may differ. So, as a foreign employee, you need to determine your status.
  • It is internationally accepted that income from employment is usually taxed at source (where the services are actually rendered) irrespective of the place where the employment contract was entered into.
  • Your tax position as a foreign employee may be affected by an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation between South Africa and a foreign government.
  • There are some exceptions affecting temporary employment and employment by a foreign government.

For further information on tax for foreign employees, please refer to the Guide on the Taxation of Foreigners Working in South Africa.

So read the guide but please remember that if you are liable to pay income tax, you must register as a taxpayer at SARS within 21 days of becoming liable for tax.
For more information on registering as a taxpayer please visit our section on registration.
Last Updated: 09/09/2016 2:49 PM     print this page
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