South African Income Tax Rates from 1981 to 2011

More recent rates are found on the current rates page.

Individuals

Putting this table together involved delving into a history of multiple rebates, capped variable rebates with deemed minimums, multiple tax tables, discrimination on the basis of race, and discrimination on the basis of marital status. Discrimination on the basis of race was repealed with effect from 1984/5 but discrimination on the basis of marital status lived on for just over another decade. It reached the stage that separate tax tables were used depending on whether you were a "married person", "person not a married person" or a "married woman". Wives were expected to include their taxable income in their husbands' tax returns. Unless a polygamous marriage was involved, in which case only the longest married wife's income was included. A widow or widower was still a married person but a divorced person was, usually, not. As the 1984-5 Supplement to Silke on South African Income Tax put it; "One could say, in fact that a married woman is 'married' but not a 'married person' unless she is divorced (but the true position is even more complicated)!"

Discrimination on the basis of marital status conflicted with the Bill of Rights of the Interim Constitution and was repealed as soon as practical after its promulgation. This change was eased by the work that already had been put into the separation of husband and wife for income tax purposes from 1990 onward. Individuals are now taxed on their own income using a single tax table. Rules exist to allocate income in spousal relationships in community of property. Marriages, customary marriages, religious marriages, and permanent same-sex or heterosexual unions give rise to a spousal relationship between the participants for tax purposes. The last two categories of spousal relationship are considered to be out of community of property unless proven otherwise.

In order to keep the comparisons manageable, the tax tables and rebates applicable to a single person with no dependants have been used for years before 1995/6.

Fiscal
Year
First Tax
Threshold
Second Tax
Threshold
Third Tax
Threshold
Minimum RateMinimum Rate
Bracket
Maximum RateMaximum Rate
Threshold
BracketsLoan Levy/
Surcharge
Notes
1980/11 5003 000-9.6%6 00050%28 00017-1,2,3
1981/21 5003 0004 0009.6%6 00050%28 00017-1,2,3,4
1982/32 6503 8504 65012%7 00050%28 000165%1,3,4
1983/42 6503 8504 65012%7 00050%28 00016-1,3,4
1984/53 3754 3755 87514.4%8 00050%28 00015-1,3,4
1985/64 0314 7817 15616%10 00050%42 000217%3,5,6
1986/74 2324 9827 35716%10 00050%42 00021-5%3,5,7
1987/84 5005 3007 83315%10 00045%42 00018-3,5
1988/95 3576 2148 92914%10 00045%54 00019-3,5
1989/19906 0716 92814 78314%10 00045%54 00019-3,5
1990/110 28510 85718 88915%4 00044%56 00014-5,8,9
1991/210 35710 92919 50014%5 00043%56 00012-5,8
1992/310 71411 28521 42917%5 00043%56 0009-5,8
1993/410 71411 28521 42917%5 00043%56 0009-5,8
1994/510 71421 429-17%5 00043%56 00093.33%10,11
1995/614 60526 786-17%5 00045%80 000101.67%10,11,12
1996/715 58027 905-17%15 00045%100 0008-11,12
1997/816 92130 050-19%30 00045%100 0007-11,12
1998/918 50031 950-19%31 00045%120 0006-11,12
1999/200019 52633 717-19%33 00045%120 0006-11,12
2000/121 11136 538-18%35 00042%200 0006-11,12
2001/223 00039 154-18%38 00042%215 0006-11,12
2002/327 00042 640-18%40 00040%240 0006-11,12
2003/430 00047 222-18%70 00040%255 0006-11,12
2004/532 22250 000-18%74 00040%270 0006-11,12
2005/635 00060 000-18%80 00040%300 0006-11,12
2006/740 00065 000-18%100 00040%400 0006-11,12
2007/843 00069 000-18%112 50040%450 0006-11,12
2008/946 00074 000-18%122 00040%490 0006-11,12
2009/1054 20084 200-18%132 00040%525 0006-11,12
2010/1157 00088 528-18%140 00040%552 0006-11,12
Notes
  1. Single persons' rates were calculated by using the married persons' tax table for income up to R28 000, deducting the applicable rebates, and adding a 20% surcharge. Taxable income over R28 000 was taxed at a flat 50%.
  2. The married persons' first threshold was R2 500, second threshold R4 000, the minimum rate of 8% applied up to a taxable income of R6 000, the maximum marginal rate of 50% was reached at a taxable income of R40 000, and there were 24 tax brackets.
  3. The second threshold applied to those 60 years of age and older.
  4. The third threshold applied to those 70 years of age and older.
  5. The third threshold applied to those 65 years of age and older.
  6. The surcharge was levied on so much of the net amount of tax, after deduction of all rebates, as exceeded R750.
  7. The discount was based on the net amount of tax after deduction of all rebates.
  8. The qualifying age for the second threshold was increased to 61 years of age in 1990/1 and increased by one year in each year thereafter until it reached 65.
  9. Dividends exempted from income tax. See repeal of UPT for companies below.
  10. A transitional levy was levied on taxable income over R50 000, subject to certain exemptions.
  11. The second threshold applied to those 65 years of age and older.
  12. Single tax table for all individuals.

Individuals - Interest and Dividends Exemption

Fiscal
Year
< 6565 +Foreign
Permitted
1989/1990R1 000R1 000N/A
1990/1R2 000R2 000N/A
...R2 000R2 000N/A
2000/1R3 000R4 000All
2001/2R4 000R5 000All
2002/3R6 000R10 000R1 000
2003/4R10 000R15 000R1 000
2004/5R11 000R16 000R1 000
2005/6R15 000R22 000R2 000
2006/7R16 500R24 500R2 500
2007/8R18 000R26 000R3 000
2008/9R19 000R27 500R3 200
2009/10R21 000R30 000R3 500
2010/11R22 300R32 000R3 700

Prior to 2000/1 no distinction was made on the basis of age.

Individuals - "Blacks"

"Blacks" were taxed in terms of the Taxation of Blacks Act, 1969, until 1983/4. The income of spouses was not added together, there was a single tax table, and there were no rebates.

Fiscal
Year
Minimum RateMinimum Rate
Bracket
Maximum RateMaximum Rate
Threshold
Brackets
1980/10%1 80048%28 02029
1981/20%1 80048%28 02029
1982/30%1 80048%28 02029
1983/40%1 80048%28 02029

Corporate - Normal Tax & Surcharges

Fiscal
Year
Normal
Tax
SurchargeEffective
Rate
Notes
1980/140%5%42%-
1981/240%5%42%-
1982/342%10%46.2%-
1983/442%10%46.2%-
1984/550%-50%-
1985/650%-50%-
1986/750%-50%-
1987/850%-50%1
1988/950%-50%-
1989/199050%-50%-
1990/150%-50%-
1991/248%-48%-
1992/348%-48%-
1993/440%-40%-
1994/535%5%Variable2
1995/635%-35%-
1996/735%-35%-
1997/835%-35%-
1998/935%-35%-
1999/200030%-30%-
2000/130%-30%3
2001/230%-30%3
2002/330%-30%4
2003/430%-30%4
2004/530%-30%4
2005/629%-29%5
2006/729%-29%6
2007/829%-29%6
2008/928%-28%7
2009/1028%-28%7,8
2010/1128%-28%7,8
Notes
  1. A minimum tax on companies was levied and could be offset against subsequent provisional tax or normal tax. If not utilised it was was refundable on liquidation or 1 October 1991, whichever came first. MTC = 25% x (Dividends distributed during the year - SA normal tax for the year - foreign taxes on income, profits or gains from foreign sources - dividends derived during the year from all sources). There were a number of exemptions, including one for companies which had distributed dividends of less than R250 000.
  2. A transitional levy of 5% was levied on taxable income over R50 000, before taking any assessed loss from the prior year into account.
  3. A small business scale with a reduced rate of 15% for taxable incomes of up to R100 000 was in force. Turnover and shareholding conditions apply. A personal service company, as defined, was taxed at 35%.
  4. 2009/1028%-28%7
  5. A small business scale with a reduced rate of 15% for taxable incomes of up to R150 000 was in force. Turnover and shareholding conditions applied. A personal service company, as defined, was taxed at 35%.
  6. A small business scale with a reduced rate of 10% for taxable incomes of up to R250 000 was in force. Turnover and shareholding conditions applied. A personal service company, as defined, was taxed at 34%.
  7. A small business scale with a reduced rate of 10% for taxable incomes of up to R300 000 was in force. Turnover and shareholding conditions applied. A personal service company, as defined, was taxed at 34%.
  8. A small business scale with a reduced rate of 10% for taxable incomes of up to R300 000 was in force. Turnover and shareholding conditions applied. A personal service company, as defined, was taxed at 33%.
  9. A micro business turnover tax with rates ranging from 0% for turnovers up to R100 000 to 7% for turnovers exceeding R750 000 was in force. Turnover and shareholding conditions applied.

Corporate - Undistributed Profits Tax

2009/1028%-28%7
FromToRate
1980/19811989/199033.33%

Corporate - Secondary Tax on Companies

Dividend DeclaredRate
FromTo
17/03/199321/06/199415%
22/06/199413/03/199625%
14/03/199630/09/200712.5%
01/10/200731/03/201210.0%


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