Skip to main content

Breaking down the tax implications of sending money overseas from South Africa

Breaking down the tax implications of sending money overseas from South Africa

February 5, 2024


Transferring money overseas from South Africa isn’t as complicated now as it once was. Exchange control rules and regulations used to be extremely restrictive, and there was a significant distinction in the way residents and non-residents were treated, when it came to sending money out of South Africa. Today, the focus has shifted more to ensuring tax compliance when it comes to moving money offshore out of South Africa, and there is still a distinction between residents and non-residents for exchange control allowance purposes, but the processes involved are now more similar and much simpler. Let’s take a look at what you need to know about the tax implications, paperwork and procedures involved in transferring money out of South Africa.

How to send money overseas from South Africa

Whether you’re still living in South Africa, or you’re a South African tax resident temporarily abroad, you have two exchange control allowances available to you to move money offshore.

1. The Single Discretionary Allowance

This allowance is available to South Africans and can be used to move money offshore from South Africa up to the value of R1 million per adult, per calendar year. Minors under the age of 18 have a travel allowance of R200 000 per individual, per year.

The Single Discretionary Allowance can be used for any legal purpose, such as travel expenses, education, gifting, or investing out of South Africa.

What are the tax implications of using the Single Discretionary Allowance to transfer funds out of South Africa? No prior tax clearance (in the form of a TCS PIN) from the South African Revenue Service (SARS) is required to utilise this allowance.

What do you need to use the Single Discretionary Allowance? Your valid green, bar-coded South African identity document or smart identification card will be required by the Authorised Dealer, who must then in turn record your identification number when reporting the transaction in terms of the FinSurv Reporting System.

2. The Foreign Investment/Foreign Capital Allowance

This allowance is available to South African tax residents. It allows individuals to move up to R10 million offshore per calendar year. South African residents generally use this allowance for foreign investment purposes, while expats often use it to repatriate their money from South Africa.

What are the tax implications of using the Foreign Investment Allowance to move money out of South Africa? You will need to be in good standing with SARS before you submit an Approval – International Transfer application.

What do you need to use the Foreign Investment Allowance to transfer funds out of South Africa? As mentioned, you will need Tax Compliance Status (TCS) clearance from SARS – by means of the Approval International Transfer application – before an Authorised Dealer is permitted to execute an international transfer that exceeds R1 million. Your Tax Compliance Status (TCS) PIN can be obtained using the eFiling or the SARS online query system (SOQS), and you share this PIN with your Authorised Dealer who will use it to verify your tax compliance status.

Read more:

How to repatriate money from South Africa

If you’re a South African living overseas who has become a non-resident by ceasing your tax residency, you no longer have the option of utilising the Single Discretionary Allowance, the Foreign Investment Allowance to move money out of South Africa. The only exception to this is in the year in which you cease tax residency, you are granted the facility to transfer up to R1 million overseas as a travel allowance, without the need to obtain a TCS PIN beforehand.

As a non-resident, you no longer need to utilise the different exchange control allowances to move money out of South Africa. Instead, you will need to differentiate when moving money from an income source and money from a capital source.

Funds from an income source: such as rental income, dividends and pension income, etc. Permission from SARS is not required, but you will need to supply the Authorised Dealer with a Good Standing TCS PIN which you will need to obtain from SARS on an annual basis on the eFiling platform. Remember that your tax compliance status is dynamic, and that your TCS PIN will reflect this.

Funds from a capital source: such as proceeds from the sale of shares, a property, retirement annuities or an investment, for example. These are the kinds of transactions that SARS is extremely interested in, and you can only transfer funds from a capital source if you have a TCS PIN obtained in respect of Approval International Transfer. The requirements for making an international transfer as a non-resident include proof of the source of your funds, as well as proof that you have ceased tax residency in South Africa.

FinGlobal: cross-border financial specialists for South Africans

Whether you’re investing offshore, buying forex or you need assistance in withdrawing your retirement annuities or repatriating your money from South Africa, FinGlobal can assist. We’ll help you every step of the way, by making it as straightforward and hassle-free as possible. We’ll handle all the paperwork for you, while you track the progress of your transactions on our convenient online platform. Our services are secure and reputable, and our fees are only payable upon successful completion of your transactions, for your peace of mind.

To find out more about our full suite of financial solutions for South Africans at home and abroad, send an email to

Leave a Reply