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Moving abroad? Here’s what you need to know about how to update your SARS details

By May 17, 2023October 5th, 2023FinGlobal

Moving abroad? Here’s what you need to know about how to update your SARS details

May 17, 2023


Once you’ve left South Africa permanently and relocated abroad, you have a duty to inform the South African Revenue Service (SARS) within 21 days of any change in your personal details. If you’re unsure how to handle updating your personal details, we’ve put together a quick guide about what SARS needs to know and how to inform them of any changes.

Update your personal details on SARS eFiling using the RAV01 Form

The online form RAV01 serves the purpose of updating legal entity information with SARS. Also known as the Registration, Amendments, and Verification (RAV01) form on eFiling, this is used to access, manage, and modify details that usually relate to demographic information or particular tax type information for individuals and businesses.

Update specific personal information such as bank details and name/surname, as well as registered name for companies and trusts.

Details such as personal ID numbers or company registration numbers will not be accessible to update.

What is the RAV01 form used for after emigration?

You’ll use the RAV01 form on eFiling to inform SARS that you wish to change your tax residency status. This is one of the most important changes that SARS needs to know about, because it determines the basis on which SARS can tax you in the future.

As a tax resident, SARS has the authority to levy taxes on both your local and overseas income.

As a tax non-resident, SARS can only tax you on South African sourced income.

If you fail to inform SARS that you no longer qualify as a tax resident, you will be subject to taxation on your worldwide income, because SARS will treat you as a tax resident by default. When formal emigration through the South African Reserve Bank was replaced with the process of tax emigration through SARS in 2021, it was not yet clear exactly how this would work. In 2022, it was finally clarified that taxpayers must use the Registration, Amendments And Verification Form (RAV01) on eFiling in order to update their personal details and inform SARS that they have ceased their tax residency.

What happens once you’ve updated your details using the RAV01 form on eFiling?

Once your registered taxpayer details have been updated, this will raise a flag on the SARS system and a case will automatically be opened. This case is to investigate your assertion that you have ceased to meet the requirements of tax residency, and to confirm your tax residency status. To meet the requirements of SARS’ investigation, you will need to submit further supporting documentation that provides conclusive proof that you have no intention of returning to South Africa and you have relocated abroad, permanently.

Documentation required in respect of updating personal details (tax residency status) on your RAV01 form when undertaking tax emigration:

  • Copies of passports, including all entry and exit stamps to attest to the fact that you have departed from South Africa.
  • Copy of your visa/residency permit/citizenship documentation or foreign passport that shows you have settled and taken up residency outside of South Africa.
  • A signed declaration that lays out the grounds on which you assert your tax non-residency.
  • A statement that discloses your personal assets and liabilities (along with an accurate valuation of each item) as on the day before you ceased tax residency (i.e: the day before you left SA).
  • A motivational letter that states and explains your legal argument to SARS that your tax status should be updated to non-resident.
  • Depending on the manner in which you are asserting you have ceased tax residency, SARS might require further supporting documentation.

Read more about breaking tax residency with South Africa: what you need to know about the SARS Declaration of Cease to be a Tax Resident

What happens next?

Upon examining your RAV01 form and accompanying documents that confirm your cessation of tax residency, SARS will endorse your request. Subsequently, your upcoming ITR12 will be auto-populated with the date of the change in your tax residency status. Your application will be declined if you still meet the criteria for tax residency or if you cannot supply the necessary or correct documentation as requested by SARS.

FinGlobal: tax emigration specialists

Updating your tax status with SARS can get complicated if you’re trying to figure it out on your own. That’s why partnering with a tax emigration specialist makes sense. We will remove all the stress and anxiety from the process, and assist you every step of the way, so that you know exactly what paperwork is required when, and we will follow up with SARS on your behalf at every stage.

To get started with your tax exit from South Africa, leave us your contact details and we will be in touch to get the ball rolling for you.

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