A natural person ordinarily resident in South Africa, or who is physically present in South Africa for a specified period, is considered a resident for tax purposes. There is no statutory definition of ‘ordinarily resident’. South African courts have held that a taxpayer is ordinarily resident in the country of their most fixed or settled residence, the country to which they would naturally, and as a matter of course, return from their wanderings, or their usual or principal home.
If not ordinarily resident in South Africa, an individual is considered a South African resident if the individual is physically present in South Africa for more than 91 days, in aggregate, in the relevant tax year and each of the preceding five tax years, and also for more than 915 days, in aggregate, in the preceding five tax years. If a person, who has become a South African resident in terms of this physical presence test, spends a continuous period of at least 330 days outside South Africa, then the individual ceases to be a resident from the date of the beginning of the absence from South Africa.