May 08, 2024

Private Clients

Navigating Capital Gains Tax When Selling Property in South Africa as a Non-Resident

Navigating Capital Gains Tax When Selling Property in South Africa as a Non-Resident

As individuals increasingly explore opportunities beyond their home countries, selling property abroad has become a common occurrence. For non-residents selling properties in South Africa with the intention of moving funds abroad, understanding the implications of capital gains tax (CGT) is paramount. South Africa, like many other countries, imposes CGT on the sale of property, and navigating these tax regulations can significantly impact the financial outcome of such transactions.

Understanding Capital Gains Tax in South Africa

In South Africa, CGT is levied on the profit realised from the sale of immovable property, including residential homes, commercial buildings, and land. The tax is calculated based on the difference between the selling price of the property and its base cost, adjusted for certain allowable deductions.

Applicability to Non-Residents

Non-residents selling property in South Africa are subject to CGT, albeit under specific regulations. The South African Revenue Service (SARS) defines non-residents as individuals who are not tax-resident in South Africa.

Tax Rates and Exemptions

The tax rate may vary depending on certain factors as well as certain exemptions and deductions which may apply, such as the primary residence exclusion for individuals or allowances for improvement costs incurred during ownership.

Tax Compliance and Reporting Obligations

Non-residents selling property in South Africa must comply with SARS’s tax reporting requirements. This includes submitting a CGT return within prescribed timelines, accurately disclosing all relevant information related to the property transaction and paying any applicable tax liabilities.

Potential Relief under Double Taxation Agreements

To prevent double taxation of income earned in multiple jurisdictions, South Africa has entered into double taxation agreements (DTAs) with various countries. These agreements typically provide relief mechanisms for taxpayers to avoid being taxed on the same income in both South Africa and their home country. Non-residents selling property in South Africa should consult the relevant DTA between South Africa and their home country to understand their tax obligations and potential relief options.

Seeking Professional Advice

Given the complexity of CGT regulations and the potential financial implications, non-residents selling property in South Africa are advised to seek professional tax advice. Tax consultants or accountants with expertise in international taxation can provide personalised guidance based on individual circumstances, ensuring compliance with relevant laws and optimising tax efficiency.


Navigating capital gains tax when selling property in South Africa as a non-resident requires a thorough understanding of the applicable regulations and careful tax planning. By familiarising themselves with CGT rates, exemptions, reporting obligations, and potential relief under double taxation agreements, individuals can minimise tax liabilities and ensure compliance with South African tax laws. Professional advice is essential in navigating these complexities and making informed decisions to achieve financial objectives when moving funds abroad.

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