Tax compliance is an important matter for South African expats, particularly those who have moved abroad in the last year or two. This is because South Africa has a residence-based taxation system, which means that if you’re considered a South African tax resident, you will need to maintain compliance with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) even if you don’t physically live in South Africa anymore. Your tax compliance status in South Africa can now be queried in real-time by means of a Tax Compliance Status (TCS) PIN that is issued and verified by SARS.
Here’s what you need to know about the Tax Compliance Status PIN and how to get one.
South African living overseas? You still need to be tax compliant
If you’ve moved abroad, but not yet been out of the country for more than a year: South African tax residents temporarily abroad (in other words, you’re not yet a non-resident for tax purposes) are legally required to file a tax return with SARS. This applies regardless of where you are physically located. You are expected to use this tax return to declare your earnings and pay tax on your foreign employment income where it exceeds R1.25 million per annum. (You’ll also use this tax return if you want to make use of the foreign employment income exemption for tax residents)
If you’ve been outside of South Africa for more than a year:
If you no longer meet the requirements of the physical presence test because you have remained outside of South African borders for more than 183 days, you will need to file one last tax return and complete the process of tax emigration in order to make your non-resident status official with SARS. You will then need to pay any exit tax owing, before SARS will allow you to change from tax resident to non-resident entirely.
How do I check my tax compliance status in South Africa?
You can do this using eFiling. The option to request your Tax Compliance Status is under “My Compliance Profile”.
Step 1: Select the Tax Compliance Status Request option and the type of TCS you need. These options include:
- Good standing
- FIA (Foreign Investment Allowance) (individuals only)
- Emigration (individuals only)
Step 2: Complete the fields in the Tax Compliance Status Request form and click the SUBMIT button to send it to SARS.
- If you have already emigrated (after 1 March 2021) and you want to transfer your remaining assets, you must request a TCS for FIA using eFiling.
- Transfers that take place under the foreign investment allowance will be treated the same as any other foreign capital transfer and you must select the relevant ‘source of capital to be invested’.
Step 3: Once your request has met with SARS’ approval, you will receive an overall tax compliance status as well as a PIN, which can be sent to you via SMS.
- This can also be viewed under the “Tax Compliance Status Request” dashboard on your eFiling profile.
- The PIN can also be printed in the form of the TCS result letter, which is akin to the old Tax Clearance Certificate SARS issued before they went digital.
What is it for and why is the Tax Compliance Status PIN important?
The PIN is a secure system that provides taxpayers with the means to allow a third party to view and verify their tax compliance status on the eFiling platform.
- The organisation using your TCS PIN can then view your overall tax compliance status as it stands on the date and time at which they check it.
- This is more accurate than the previous means of a Tax Clearance Certificate which only verified your compliance as at the date of stamp.
- The third party using your TCS PIN can only view your tax compliance status and no other information can be accessed.
What is the emigration Tax Compliance Status (TCS) PIN?
This is an official acknowledgement issued by SARS to confirm that a taxpayer has successfully completed the formal emigration process and in so doing has declared their assets remaining in South Africa and settled their exit tax bill. This PIN is valid for a period of 12 months from the date of issue.
- Need more assistance on the TCS PIN? SARS has a handy guide on their website.
FinGlobal: tax emigration specialists
Need a hand with your tax exit from South Africa? We’re ready to assist you every step of the way. We’ll take all the headache and hassle out of ensuring your compliance with the South African Revenue Service, and advise you on the quickest and most cost-effective way to move your money out of South Africa.
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