Monday, October 8, 2012

Tax Minimalism 101

One of the best things about teaching in Korea is that you earn a ridiculous amount of money in a country with a relatively cheap standard of living. But you might miss out on a tidy R7000 (about US$780) per year if you're not careful; it might be sucked into Korean pension and tax. Not  planning to retire in Korea? Really? But the ajummas and ajeossis seem to be having such a blast at the colateques...  Oh, all right.

If you are a resident of South Africa, you do not have to pay tax for your first 2 years in Korea.

aww yeaah

All you need to do is fill out a SARS IT77 form. Simple enough.

Or so I thought. It's long. And specific.

But guess what? You don't really need to fill in the whole thing; you just need to put in your South African ID number, name and address so they can put you in the system. Add in a certified copy of your passport/driver's license/ID and a letter from your bank confirming your bank details. Stir. Drop it off at your nearest SARS office and ask them for a residency certificate for you to present in Korea, and you're all set. Don't have a SARS office in your dorp (although even Hogsback has 4 liquor stores)? Use Docs4Expats. They rock.

Wasn't that easy?

So, the children, the culture, competitive StarCraft, Hello Kitty, the sparkly rainbows and purple unicorns aside, let's hear it for the main (if secret) reason for us to flock to Korea:


  1. Just make sure you get it in on time. Mine was 2 days late and I had to pay the tax for the full year. BTW, you still pay tax, but you get a rebate at year end. Also, this is only applicable to certain countries. For example, if I remember correctly, Canada was not exempt from paying tax and could not get the rebate (at least when I was there).