How South Africa’s 2019 Budget affects businesses and individuals
Article 3 minute read

How South Africa’s 2019 Budget affects businesses and individuals

23 May 2019

While there was no repeat of last year’s surprise 1% VAT rate rise, some changes announced in this year’s budget may impact South African business operations and employees.

The focus of the 2019 Budget is on improved governance in the Revenue Service (SARS); prioritising the appointment of a permanent Commissioner; reinstating the SARS Large Business Unit and increasing the efficiency of tax collection with the overarching aim of restoring public confidence in SARS. While there were no changes to tax rates in any category, by not adjusting the tax rates to inflation, SARS will generate additional revenue through the phenomenon known as ‘bracket creep’.

Following is a summary of key budget changes and 2019-2020 tax rates relevant to South African businesses and their employees. If you need more detail, or help in understanding how this information impacts your operations, get in touch with our local experts.

2019 Budget – the highlights

  • By not adjusting the income tax brackets for inflation, the government is expecting to raise R12.8 billion in revenue.
  • By not adjusting the medical tax credits, the government will raise R1 billion in revenue.
  • Increases in fuel taxes, together with the carbon tax on fuel, will raise R1.3 billion.
  • Increases in alcohol and tobacco excise duties will raise revenue of R1 billion.
  • Additional VAT zero-rated items (including white bread flour, cake flour and sanitary pads) were introduced on 1 April 2019.

Individual tax rates - applicable from 1 March 2019 to 28 February 2020

Taxable Income (R) Rate of Tax (R)
0 – 195,850 18% of taxable income
195,851 – 305,850 35,253 + 26% of taxable income above 195,850
305,851 – 423,300 63,853 + 31% of taxable income above 305,850
423,301 – 555,600 100,263 + 36% of taxable income above 423,300
555,601 – 708,310  147,891 + 39% of taxable income above 555,600
708,311 – 1,500,000  207,448 + 41% of taxable income above 708,310
1,500,001 and above  532,041 + 45% of taxable income above 1,500,000

Tax rebates

Type Rate of Tax (R)
Primary 14,220
Secondary (persons 65 and older) 7,794
Tertiary (persons 75 and older)  2,601

Tax thresholds (amount up to which no tax is payable)

Age  Rate of Tax (R)
Below age 65  79,000
Aged 65 to below 122,300
Aged 75 or older 136,750

Medical tax credits

Per month (R) 2020 2019
For the taxpayer who pays the medical scheme contributions 310 310
For the first dependant; 310 310
For each additional dependant(s) 209 209

At retirement lump sums

Taxable lump sum (R) Rate of Tax (R)
0 – 500,000 0% of taxable income
500,001 – 700,000 18% of taxable income above 500,000
700,001 – 1,050,000 36,000 + 27% of taxable income above 700,000
1,050,001 and above 130,500 +36% of taxable income above 1,050,000

Pre-retirement lump sums

Taxable lump sum (R) Rate of Tax (R)
0 – 25,000 0% of taxable income
25,001 – 660,000 18% of taxable income above 25,000
660,001 – 990,000 114,300 +27% of taxable income above 660,000
990,001 and above 203,400 +36% of taxable income above 990,000


Law changes on the horizon

The following legislation changes are expected in the 2020 financial year.

  • Amendments to the foreign income tax exemption for South African residents

From 1 March 2020, tax residents who spend more than 183 days working outside of South Africa will be subject to South African taxation on any foreign employment income exceeding R1 million. To avoid double taxation, it is proposed that South African employers be allowed to reduce their monthly PAYE withholding by the amount of foreign taxes withheld on the employment income.

  • Retirement reforms

When a member of a retirement fund retires and receives an annuity, any contributions to the retirement fund that were not deducted from the member’s taxable income are tax-exempt. However, this exemption does not apply to annuities received from a provident or provident preservation fund. It is proposed that this exemption be extended to provident and provident preservation fund members who receive annuities. If passed, the exemption would apply to contributions made after 1 March 2016.

Talk to us

TMF South Africa has tax, HR and payroll experts based in Cape Town and Johannesburg who can help you to navigate the local rules and regulations. More than simply accountants and processors of payroll, we also provide a wide variety of HR support services. We can:

  • draft employee contracts
  • create general ledger interface files
  • securely distribute payslip and tax certificates
  • provide bespoke interface integration
  • manage the online exchange of data in a common format
  • take care of leave management and reporting.

Need more information? Contact us today.

Written by

Michael Pitout

Accounting and Tax Manager, TMF South Africa

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