To qualify for this special ā%u20AC%u0153severanceā%u20AC tax rate and the first R500,000 exemption as you mention, the employer must pay a lump sum as a result of your employment having been terminated or lost. Examples include:
- the employer stops (or intends to stop) trading or, - the employer enforces a general reduction in staff
This is not applicable however to a "restructuring" of the workforce.
It therefore depends on how SARS views the scheme. If it is part of a formal retrenchment programme then the exemption and special rates would probably apply. If it is more of a "restructuring" then the special rates won't apply and the severance package would be included in your income and taxed at normal PAYE rates for individuals.
It would be best to check with your HR department for further clarification.
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