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Greetings. I'm an American living just moved to SA on workpermit for 2 years working in the field of HIV/AIDS control. I have been working for years in other African countries where I was exempt from paying local income taxes as an expatriate and due to an American tax treaty whereby expats dont pay taxes (b/c we continue to pay in the US).

But, as I am painfully learning, that doesn't seem to be the case in SA, even though my salary is "sourced" in the US -- origin in the us and paid into a us account. Are there any folks with experience in expat taxes for Americans in SA? Any advice on where to get good information? Any advice on how to lower the tax burden? Given the high cost of living in the US, I was hoping to return with savings, but that is not looking likely.

Help?
 

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I don't know about South African taxes, but you are aware, aren't you, that you are entitled to the Overseas Earned Income Exclusion if you are living overseas for a year or more. You shouldn't actually be paying taxes back in the US, except on earned income over the exclusion amount (which is about $90,000 currently) and any "unearned" income (usually investment income, interest and the like).

Your US employer may be continuing to withhold social security (to keep up your contributions) and/or medical insurance and any retirement plans, but they shouldn't be withholding US taxes if you're on assignment outside the country for a year or more at a time. (You still have to file, but after the exclusion, there usually isn't any tax liability left.)
Cheers,
Bev
 
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