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I have not filed tax returns since I don't work in SA anymore. Do I need to do this?

Posted 1 February 2013 under Tax Questions



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Hi Taxtim! I'm a SA citizen but a resident in Canada for the past four years and paying taxes here (even for investment income earned in South Africa). I worked in South Africa and fulfilled all my tax obligations for the time I worked there. I still have investments (share trading and mutual funds) , Retirement annuity and joint property with my brother in South Africa. Do I need to file tax returns in SA?

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TaxTimTaxTim says:
1 February 2013 at 11:17

If you haven't officialy emmigrated from South Africa and are earning income above the threshold of R63 556 from sources within SA then you do need to file a tax return. Why are you paying taxes in Canada on your SA income? Are you a resident of Canada for tax purposes? How long do you spend in SA during each year?


RSN says:
3 February 2013 at 8:15

Thanks for your quick reply Taxtim! I'm a resident in Canada for tax purposes (I have spend a total of 2 months in SA since 2009) hence I'm supposed to declare my worldwide income here. I believe SA and Canada have a tax treaty to avoid double taxation. I wasn't certain though if I still had to file my tax returns in SA since the keep sending me empty ITR12 forms via e-filing. The income I earn through my investments in SA is well below the threshold of R63556 (maybe one tenth of it).


TaxTimTaxTim says:
4 February 2013 at 17:29

If you are tax resident and earning income in Canada then the DTT will kick in and allow you to submit and file your tax returns in Canada. If you earn less than the threshold and have been out of SA for longer than 3 years then SARS are actually quite accepting about not completing tax returns, but in order to avoid any issues it is still better to submit a nil return each year, at least until you have been gone 5 years.


RSN says:
16 February 2013 at 20:16

Thanks for the replies TaxTim. I didn't think an online site like this would be quite so prompt. If you are accepting clients I'd like to refer a few your way. Just one last comment- If I did file my returns as 'nil' from now on will I be fined for all the returns that I have not filed since 2009? Thanks


TaxTimTaxTim says:
17 February 2013 at 15:43

SARS may be lenient and not penalise, but I suggest submitting as sooner rather than later!

Thanks for the offer to refer, you can send any direct clients to marc@taxtim.com


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