Financial Emigration Explained

Are you planning on immigrating to New Zealand, or have you already made the move and now wondering whether you should consider financial emigration to access and transfer your assets from the country? The concept of financial emigration entered the fray when it was announced that as of 1 March 2020, South African tax residents who were working and living abroad would be required to pay tax to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) if it exceeded the R1.25 million threshold under the Expat Tax amendment.  

What is financial emigration? 

It is a process you follow as a taxpayer to change your status as resident to non-resident with the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). It will not affect your citizenship as a South African but serves to regulate exchange control. This is to enable an individual to move their assets from their previous country of residence to their new country of residence.

Important information on how financial emigration could affect your financial products (H2)

  • Life insurance

Get in touch with an adviser on this aspect, as particular insurers might give you the option to continue to stay on your policy. You will have to pay your premiums from a South African bank account if you take this route and decide not to outright cancel your policy.

  • Retirement Annuity (RA)

The SARB announced in 2020 that you can no longer receive a lump-sum payment of your RA when you decide to financially emigrate. Instead, payment will now only be permitted to a person who has been a non-resident (and not paying taxes in SA) for a minimum of three consecutive years.

Does South Africa have a foreign capital allowance? 

Yes, if your taxes are up to date you are allowed to transfer R10 million out of the country each year as part of the foreign capital allowance and another R1 million single discretionary allowance. As of March 2021, your tax status will have to be verified, as well as the source of the funds to ensure that you are not funding terrorism or laundering money. 

How long is financial emigration valid for? 

Financial emigration does not have an expiry date.

Can I still own property in South Africa if I financially emigrate? 

Yes, you can. Both residents and non-residents are allowed to own property in South Africa.

Should you need to discuss financial emigration as part of your immigration to New Zealand, get in touch with our experienced team of advisers at Tri-Nations Migration today.