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Why March 2021 is a crucial date if you've got a pension fund or RA

by , 17 September 2020
Why March 2021 is a crucial date if you've got a pension fund or RA
Odds are you have a pension fund, or money invested in a retirement annuity.

For good reason - we all need to prepare for retirement. And the tax benefits are a great benefit to these retirement funds.

But if you're planning on emigrating - even if it is something you've got planned for your distant future, you should listen up…

Come March 2021 and your plans could become considerably more difficult.

 
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Government wants to make it much more difficult for you to take your retirement money out of SA
 
South Africans emigrating for exchange control purposes are currently able to withdraw money from their retirement funds in accordance with the process prescribed by the South African Reserve Bank. If you’re emigrating from SA to another country – this is an important thing to do.
 
But government plans on putting the brakes on this process…
 
On Friday 31 July 2020, National Treasury released the 2020 Draft Taxation Laws Amendment Bill for public written comments.
 
One of the areas which greatly affects South Africans working permanently abroad, is the proposed changes to retirement fund withdrawals and other financial instruments which will come into effect from 1 March 2021. The changes make it more difficult for South African expats to withdraw their RA’s and Pension Funds when emigrating.
  
What does this mean for you?
 
The payment of lump sum benefits upon emigration is to be removed and a new test be introduced where payment is only allowed where a person has remained non-tax resident for a period of at least three consecutive years or longer. This is a double whammy on the back of the “Expat Tax” amendment which took effect from 1 March 2020.
 
So, if you’re already on your way out, or plan on emigrating in the next couple of months – you should get a move on with your finances to ensure you can withdraw your retirement funds asap.
 
Considering government wants to extend legislation surrounding ‘prescribed assets’ – forcing you to invest in government projects or government debt, irrespective of the investment case – I’m already cautious of where things are going. Add in this new legislation and you should definitely question your financial adviser whether your current plan is still suitable for you or not…
 
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Here’s what I’m doing right now
 
I’m still investing in my RA. But I’ve cut my contributions to a minimum amount. I don’t want a fortune tied up in a government regulated investment the day I retire.
 
The balance of my money I’m investing in businesses, unit trusts, the stock market and other unregulated investments.
 
I am investing money offshore as well. Remember – you can take R1 million offshore per year without any clearances needed and R10 million with a SARS tax clearance certificate.
 
It’s about more than keeping a door open for emigration. It’s ensuring that not all your eggs are in one basket…
    
Here’s to unleashing real value
 
Francois Joubert
Editor, Red Hot Penny Shares
 


Why March 2021 is a crucial date if you've got a pension fund or RA
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