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South Africa Individual - Significant developments

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The most significant recent changes impacting the taxation of individuals in South Africa are as follows:

  • As a result of the introduction of an extra 'bracket', the maximum marginal income tax rate for individuals increased to 45% from 41%, effective for years of assessment commencing on or after 1 March 2017. As a consequence, on the basis that 40% of capital gains are included in taxable income, the maximum effective rate of capital gains tax (CGT) for individuals is now 18%.
  • The harmonisation of the tax treatment of payments to South African retirement funds to ensure consistent treatment of contributions, irrespective of the type of retirement vehicle that the person is a member of, was effective from 1 March 2016. The requirement that a provident fund will also only be able to pay out one third of the value of the fund as a lump sum on retirement (with the remaining two thirds having to be annuitised) will become effective on 1 March 2019.
  • The introduction of a new anti-avoidance measure in the context of low-interest or interest-free loans made to trusts. The purpose of the measure is to address the avoidance of donations tax and estate duty through the transfer of assets to trusts on loan account. The rules deem the interest foregone to be a deemed donation, and the donor is liable for donations tax on the deemed donation. The rules are effective for tax years commencing on or after 1 March 2017, and apply irrespective of when the relevant loan was made.
  • Donations tax and estate duty was previously levied at the rate of 20% (irrespective of the level of donations or the value of the estate). With effect from 1 March 2018, a higher rate of donations tax and estate duty of 25% applies to the extent that donations made during a tax year exceed 30 million South African rand (ZAR) or to the extent that the value of the estate exceeds ZAR 30 million.

Last Reviewed - 30 November 2018

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