There are many South Africans working abroad who have decided to return to their home country. For many, the pandemic was the rolling of the dice that sealed their fate. For others, the idea of being away from extended family was the drawing paper that pulled their heartstrings.
Regardless of the reason, repatriation following a global pandemic can prompt you to reevaluate some financial aspects of your life.
Am I ready to go back to South Africa
To extricate yourself from a country where you live and work, and then re-enter a country from which you have been absent for a long time, can be a challenge. The termination of contracts, the closure of bank accounts, the preparation of an international move and the sale of goods such as cars or houses are some of the administrative tasks when leaving a country.
In nature, the cancellation of these tasks in a host country is addressed by the reverse in South Africa.
International work experience makes you a sought-after resource for employers, especially large companies with an international footprint. Hiring a qualified South African with knowledge of foreign work environments and technological advancements can also create employment opportunities for others.
Am I covered for emergencies?
Before moving, the most important question to ask is whether you or your family are adequately covered against unforeseen accidents in South Africa. It is best to have a policy with a company that understands the nuances of risk coverage in the country where you reside. If you have international insurance coverage, consult a financial advisor who understands the coverage requirements for expats returning to South Africa.
The inevitable reality of death has not only caused people to change their lifestyles, but has also placed a renewed focus on health and safety. This causes medical care or the hospital to cover another tender topic to discuss with your partner. The public health system in other countries could vary a lot from that of South Africa. At some point, you have to consider the difference between medical care and medical bills between the two countries.
For expats in limbo, travel insurance can provide coverage for you and your family during transit and also for the first two months of returning to the country.
This gives you and your advisor ample opportunity to navigate the available risk hedging options.
What should I do with my nest egg?
In many cases, those who return do so with a small kitty of savings earned abroad. If you put it into a bad investment or spend it carelessly, you could lose most of the money you worked so hard to save for your retirement.
Returning home by keeping foreign assets in the form of offshore trusts, foreign ownership or investment can be a great way to maintain a diversified portfolio or plan for retirement. However, it is important to understand the nature of each investment, as it may have tax implications or be exposed to volatile exchange rate fluctuations and other unnecessary costs.
Expats are often determined to invest in property when they return to South Africa. Buying a home will eliminate rental obligations and give you a sense of certainty about your immediate future. While ownership isn’t a bad idea, it doesn’t have to be your only investment option. A financial advisor or investment specialist can advise on a number of available options, both local and international, that may best suit your specific needs.
Are my tax affairs in order?
Re-entry into the local workforce makes you subject to income tax at the South African Revenue Service (Sars). It is therefore important to know your tax residence status. If you have requested relief under a double taxation agreement between South Africa and the host country, you must notify your advisor.
Assuming you have remained tax compliant while overseas, there should be no concern when you return to South Africa.
If, for some reason, you have not declared any foreign income or you neglected to file your tax returns, you may find yourself in trouble with Sars. It’s not as forgiving as it once was.
Where your tax affairs have fallen behind, consult a tax professional with legal experience to help you apply for relief under the Voluntary Disclosure Program. It’s always best to make a clean sweep with SARS before he contacts you for answers.
By Chris Nell
Chris Nel is an investment specialist at Africorp Advisory Services.
This article was republished by Moneyweb. Read the original article here