Flying days and tax when working abroad


A Fin24 user working abroad wants to know whether days taken to fly to and from SA would count for determining her tax due. She writes:

I am currently working in Mozambique for a private medical service. Our salary gets paid by our head courters in Singapore.

I have worked outside of SA for a total of 178 days of which 60 days were continuous. My tax days are from February 6 to February 6.

I would like to know if they count the flying days from and back to SA as part of the 183 days.

Elzahne Henn, associate director of Mazars, responds:

One of the requirements to qualify for the foreign employment exemption is that the individual must render services outside of South Africa for a period or periods exceeding 183 full days.

That means at least 184 full days in any 12-month period commencing or ending during that year of assessment. The period of more than 183 days does not have to be consecutive.

A "full day" means 24 hours (from 0:00 to 0:00).

Flying days to and from South Africa will be included in the 184 days. However, the day you leave South Africa and the day that you arrive in South Africa will not count towards the 184 days.

For example, if you arrive in South Africa at 23:55 at night, that day will be regarded as a day in South Africa.

You have indicated that the 12-month period in your instance is February 6 to February 6. It should be noted that each month in the 12-month period, is a calendar month (Sars Interpretation Note 16).

The period must, therefore, commence on the first day of a particular month and end on the last day of the twelfth calendar month thereafter.

In identifying the possible 12-month periods that may be used, it is advisable to first identify the period during which the employment services were rendered to the employer (employment period).

A first twelve month period can then be determined by working forward 12 months from the first day of the calendar month - for example February 1 to January 31 the following year - in which the first day of the employment period falls.

If this twelve month period fails to meet the requirements for the exemption, another 12-month period may be used by working back 12 months from the last day of the calendar month in which the last day of the employment period falls - for example February 28/29 to March 1 the previous year.

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