Who is a resident for tax in South Africa?

This course is aimed at natural persons who are tax residents in South Africa. If you are a tax resident in South Africa, generally you are taxed on your worldwide income.

An aside: In legal speak, a natural person is a human being, while a “person” refers more broadly to human beings as well as other legal persons, like a company.

In terms of the Income Tax Act, if either one or both of the following requirements are met, a natural person is a resident of South Africa for tax purposes:

  • if the person is “ordinarily resident” in South Africa; or
  • if the person satisfies the “physical presence” test.

What does it mean to be “ordinarily resident” in South Africa?

If you live in South Africa or even if you are travelling the world but your permanent home is South Africa, then you will be “ordinarily resident” in South Africa.

The “physical presence test”

Even if you are not “ordinarily resident” in South Africa but you satisfy the “physical presence test”, you will be a South African resident for tax purposes.

The following infographic explains the physical presence test.