Record number of South Africans applying for EU passport amid tax hike fears

Pedro Gonçalves
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Record number of South Africans applying for EU passport amid tax hike fears

Tax changes to come into effect in March 2020 are driving record numbers of citizens to apply for second European Union passports by way of investment, with Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Portugal experiencing a jump in applicants, immigration firm Xpatweb said.

The immigration firm saw a 364% increase, since 2018, in the number of South Africans applying for second European Union passports by way of investments.

"With the pending tax changes in South Africa due to be enforced from 1st March 2020, the EU second passport scheme is an attractive and enticing proposal for South Africans," Xpatweb director Marisa Jacobs said.

With the pending tax changes in South Africa due to be enforced from 1st March 2020, the EU second passport scheme is an attractive and enticing proposal for South Africans"

She added that depending on the EU Scheme, these EU Passports can be ascertained through Investments starting from €250,000 and take between 6 months - 7 years to attain the EU Passport (no residency period in the country required).

Under current tax law, applicable up to 28 February 2020, South African tax residents working abroad are entitled to a tax exemption from income earned abroad, provided that they're physically outside of South Africa for 183 days in aggregate during any 12-month period.

From next March,  only the first R1million earned from foreign service income will be exempt from tax in South Africa, provided that more than 183 days are spent outside the country in any 12-month period.

Ease of travel is also a key reason, with the South African passport allowing access to 102 countries however excluding the world biggest economies such as the US, UK, Europe Schengen area and Canada.

A Cyprus passport allows visa free travel to 169 countries, Greece 183 countries, Malta 182 countries and Portugal allows visa free travel to 184 countries.

"With a European passport, the prospect of living in any country forming part of the European Union is highly attractive," Jacobs said.

 

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