Why Is Sars Coming After Emigrants' Retirement Funds?
Finweek English|14 May 2021
Proposed changes to tax legislation may see retirees’ funds locked in SA for three years.
Bobby Wessels

In 2017, more than 7 300 South Africans emigrated to the United Kingdom (UK). Currently, there are more than 250 000 South Africans living in the UK and this number seems to be increasing. The proposed amendments to the withdrawal of retirement interest when an individual ceases to be a tax resident will directly affect those South Africans that are planning to move to the UK as well as those that have recently done so.

These amendments have been proposed due to the nature of the Double Tax Agreement (DTA) between, amongst others, the UK and SA, but apply across the board to other similar DTAs. While the proposal is still in its infancy and admittedly contains some grey areas, there are important points to take note of when planning your relocation.

The Utopian relocation scenario would be for a person not to require their retirement assets to fund their relocation. But for most people, the hard reality is that they rely on their retirement assets to fund their relocation. This concern is greatly exacerbated if these funds would be “trapped” in SA for a period of three years.

Why has the proposal been introduced?

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