Emigrating is a costly exercise. While the debate on whether the grass is or isn’t greener on the other side is endless, the cold, hard reality is that when you leave the country there are rules and tax implications for your retirement fund benefit. Expected changes to the tax laws in March this year will allow retirement savers who have used a preserver to take their savings out of the country on emigration, but fails to address the difficulties faced by retired people using living annuities. According to Jenny Gordon, head of retail legal at Alexander Forbes, the expected changes will offer members who emigrate before they retire more flexibility to withdraw their retirement funds when they leave the country. There are various ways people leave SA to live abroad. You can officially emigrate and cease to be a South African resident; or merely work abroad and maintain your South African status. Temporary South African residents may leave to go back to their home country, or another ...

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