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Tax rates in South Africa

Tax Rates

Consumption Taxes

Nature of the Tax
VAT = Valued Added Tax (BTW = Belasting over de Toegevoegde Waarde in Afrikaans).
Tax Rate
Reduced Tax Rate
Zero-rated items include international passenger and freight transport services and associated services, goods solely used for export, services provided outside South Africa or to foreign branches and headquarters, services directly linked to land abroad, specific services for non-residents or public authorities, certain essential food items, sanitary products, illuminating kerosene, leaded and unleaded gasoline, gold coins issued by the reserve bank, transfer of operational enterprises if all criteria are met, certain fuel levy goods, specific grants received, export of intellectual property, services to non-residents subject to specific provisions, triangular supplies with special requirements, goods stored in licensed Customs and Excise warehouses but not for domestic consumption, and certain goods for agricultural or farming purposes.
Other Consumption Taxes
Other indirect taxes include: custom duties (on certain luxury items); anti-dumping and countervailing duties; excise duties on tobacco, alcoholic beverages, fuel and petroleum products; and excise levies on fuel, road accidents, electricity, sugar and tyres.
Petroleum fuel prices encompass a fuel levy, with the general levy for 2024/25 set at 394 cents per litre for petrol and 380 cents per litre for diesel. Additionally, starting April 3, 2024, a carbon tax levy of 11 cents per litre (petrol) and 14 cents per litre (diesel) is enforced. Certain industries, including agriculture, fishing, mining, and temporarily foodstuff manufacturing, may claim a full or partial refund of the diesel general fuel levy.
To encourage energy efficiency, a levy of 3.5 cents per kWh is imposed on electricity generated from non-renewable sources, collected at the point of production and passed on to consumers in their electricity bills.
Tyres are subject to a levy of ZAR 2.30 per kilogram.
The Health Promotion Levy on Sugary Beverages, effective since April 1, 2018, is based on the sugar content of the beverage, with the current rate set at 2.1 cents per gram for sugar content exceeding 4g/100ml.
Air passenger tax is imposed on international flights, with passengers departing to Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Swaziland paying ZAR 100, and ZAR 190 for other destinations, added to the ticket price.

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Corporate Taxes

Company Tax
27% (for tax years ending on or after 31 March 2023; was 28% before)
Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
South African resident companies are taxed on worldwide income, while non-resident companies are taxed on locally-sourced income only, as well as on capital gains arising from the disposal of immovable property and assets of a permanent establishment in the country. The general rule is that taxes paid on income earned abroad can be offset as a credit against the tax owed in South Africa.
Capital Gains Taxation
While gains realized by companies are taxed at the standard corporate income tax (CIT) rate, only 80% of these gains are included in taxable income. This results in an effective capital gains tax rate of 22.4% for companies for tax years ending before March 31, 2023, and 21.6% for tax years ending on or after March 31, 2023. A resident is liable for the capital tax on assets located both in and outside South Africa, while a non-resident is liable to capital tax only on immovable property in South Africa or assets of a permanent establishment in the country. Certain indirect interests in immovable property such as shares in a property company are deemed to be immovable property.
Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits

In general, expenses incurred for the purposes of income generation are deductible.
The majority of taxes (with the exception of income taxes, donations tax, withholding taxes on interest, and dividends tax) are deductible from a company’s taxable income, provided they qualify for deduction under general rules. Assessed losses can be carried forward indefinitely, as long as a similar trade or business remains active without interruption. For tax years ending on or after March 31, 2023, companies with assessed losses can offset the balance of these losses carried forward, but the offset amount must not exceed the greater of ZAR 1 million or 80% of the taxable income for that year. Loss carrybacks are not permitted in South Africa.

Special relief is available for start-up (including pre-trade) expenditures, allowing them to be deducted in the year trade begins. These expenses are deductible only if they would have been eligible for deduction had they been incurred after the commencement of trade. Both these expenses and any resulting losses are ring-fenced and can only be deducted against income from the trade to which the start-up costs pertain.
Charitable contributions to certain approved public benefit organisations are tax-deductible (capped at 10% of taxable income).

Bad debts are tax deductible if the debt pertains to an amount that has been included in the taxpayer’s taxable income in any tax year and remains due at the end of the assessment year. Additionally, a tax allowance is provided for doubtful debts. Any bad debts from money lent are deductible if the loans were made in the course of a money-lending business.
Deductions can be claimed for royalties, managerial service fees, and interest charges paid to foreign affiliates, as long as these amounts are comparable to those that would be paid to an unrelated party in an arm’s-length transaction.
The cost of inventory is, in principle, deductible as soon as the inventory is acquired. However, at the end of each year, the cost of the inventory still on hand must be added back to the company’s income and then can be deducted again in the following year. This effectively times the deduction of inventory costs to align with their realization.
Generally, interest expenses incurred in the production of non-exempt income and for trade purposes are deductible. However, interest incurred to produce tax-exempt income is not deductible. A special dispensation allows for the deduction of interest on debt used to acquire shares in a company, provided certain requirements are met.
The sale and purchase of goodwill is typically considered a transaction on the capital account, and the buyer usually cannot claim a deduction for the payment. No capital allowances are available for goodwill.
Tax incentives are also provided for small business corporations, R&D, urban development, infrastructure development, public-private partnership grants, environmental expenditure deductions, energy efficiency savings, companies located in Special Economic Zones, etc.

Other Corporate Taxes

Micro-businesses with annual turnovers under ZAR 1 million may elect to be taxed under a micro-business tax system instead of the ordinary income tax, provisional tax, capital gains tax and VAT systems (at rates varying between 0% and 3% of turnover). Micro-businesses that qualify for the scheme can voluntarily exit the system at the end of any year of assessment. However, once out of it, they will not be permitted to re-enter.
Other special taxes include a 20% withholding tax on payments made to non-residents, individuals, and trusts for services provided, a 15% withholding tax on foreign entertainers and sportspersons, as well as a withholding tax on the acquisition of South African property by a non-resident. A tax on dividends applies to all South African resident companies as well as non-resident companies listed on the JSE at a rate of 20%. Dividends are tax-exempt if the beneficial owner of the dividend is a South African resident company, a South African retirement fund, or another prescribed exempt person.

Municipal taxes, a transfer tax on securities (0.25%), environmental taxes, financial transaction taxes, electricity and fuel levies, and donations taxes also apply (20% of the property with a value up to ZAR 30 million, 25% above this threshold; an annual exemption of ZAR 10,000 is available for companies; public companies are exempt from the donations tax; public companies, consisting of listed companies, are exempt from donations tax.). A skills development levy is payable monthly by the employers at the rate of 1% of payroll (companies with an annual payroll of less than ZAR 500,000 are exempt). Employers also contribute to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (1% of the employee’s gross remuneration, capped at ZAR 177.12 monthly) and to the fund for compensation for occupational injuries and diseases (rates vary depending on the sector of activity, salary capped at ZAR 506,473 per year/employee).

Local municipalities levy rates on land based on a percentage of the municipal valuation of land and improvements, which vary from municipality to municipality. Properties zoned for business use are generally taxed at a higher rate.
Transfer duty levied on the sale of immovable property is payable by the person acquiring the property within six months from the date of acquisition.
Transfers of immovable property subject to VAT are exempt from transfer duty. Rates vary between 0% and 13% of the purchase price, at the following rates:

  • property value of up to 1,100,000 ZAR: No transfer duty.
  • 1,100,001 to 1,512,500 ZAR: 3% on amount exceeding 1,100,000 ZAR.
  • 1,512,501 to 2,117,500 ZAR: 12,375 ZAR plus 6% on amount exceeding 1,512,500 ZAR.
  • 2,117,501 to 2,722,500 ZAR: 48,675 ZAR plus 8% on amount exceeding 2,117,500 ZAR.
  • 2,722,501 to 12,100,000 ZAR: 97,075 ZAR plus 11% on amount exceeding 2,722,500 ZAR.
  • Over 12,100,001 ZAR: 1,128,600 ZAR plus 13% on amount exceeding 12,100,000 ZAR.

Several environmental taxes apply, including a vehicle emissions tax, a fuel levy, a tyre levy and an electricity levy.

Other Domestic Resources
South African Revenue Service (SARS)

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  South Africa Sub-Saharan Africa United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 7.0 36.6 10.6 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 210.0 284.8 175.0 218.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 29.2 47.3 36.6 48.8

Source: Doing Business, Latest available data.

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Individual Taxes

Tax Rate

Individual tax rates (tax year commencing on 1 March 2024 and ending on 28 February 2025)
ZAR 0 to 237,100 18%
ZAR 237,101 to 370,500 42,678 + 26% of taxable income on the excess
ZAR 370,501 to 512,800 77,362  + 31% of taxable income on the excess
ZAR 512,801 to 673,000 121,475 + 36% of taxable income on the excess
ZAR 673,001 to 857,900 179,147 + 39% of taxable income on the excess
ZAR 857,901 to 1,817,000 251,258 + 41% of taxable income on the excess
ZAR 1,817,001 and above 644,489  + 45% of taxable income on the excess
Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Individual deductions include qualifying contributions to an approved pension, provident, or retirement annuity fund; charitable donations (up to a maximum of 10% of taxable income); and qualifying expenses for travel, motor vehicles and entertainment (limited to the travel allowance or fringe benefit). Deductions for medical expenses are converted to a medical tax rebate.
Employees can deduct certain limited expenses from their employment income, including business-related travel, automobile, and entertainment expenses. The deductible amount is restricted to the allowance provided by the employer. A capital depreciation deduction is available for assets used for employment purposes. Legal fees related to employment income are also deductible. Employees earning predominantly through commissions may deduct home office expenses, subject to conditions. Allowances provided by employers to cover business expenses are generally taxable, except when fully utilized for business purposes or within the deductible limit. Allowances for personal expenses, like living costs, are taxable.
If an individual carries on a business, the deduction of business expenditure or losses applies on the same basis as to companies.
Please refer to the SARS website for more information.
Special Expatriate Tax Regime
There is no special expatriate tax regime in South Africa. Expatriates are taxed at the same rates as locals, but only on their South African-sourced income.
Non-residents are taxed on all income derived from a South African source or deemed to have a South African source and on capital gains on the disposal of immovable property situated in the country. The source of income is determined by the location of the originating cause of the income, and not by the location of the payer.
Non-residents engaging in entertainment or sports activities in South Africa are subject to a final tax rate of 15% on gross amounts payable to them.

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Double Taxation Treaties

Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
South African Revenue Service
Withholding Taxes
Withholding taxes are: 20% for dividends paid to individuals or foreign companies, 0% if paid to national companies; 0 (resident) -15% (non-resident) for interests; 0 (resident) -15% (non-resident) for royalties.
Bilateral Agreement
The United Kingdom and South Africa are bound by a double taxation treaty.

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Latest Update: July 2024