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The best countries to work in abroad – for after-tax income

By February 27, 2018October 3rd, 2023FinGlobal

The best countries to work in abroad – for after-tax income

February 27, 2018


It’s no secret that expats working abroad tend to earn more than they would in a similar position back home. However if you are planning your move around international salaries – it’s important to take into consideration how you are taxed from country to country.

According to the latest ECA’s My Expatriate Market Pay Survey which included 320 companies across over 170 countries and over 10 000 international middle management workers, the following countries offer the best money opportunities and benefits (which can include health insurance, accommodation, education, transport and utilities) after tax.

Countries offering after-tax opportunities and benefits

  1. Hong Kong – about $235 000

Expats who live in Hong Kong benefit from a low tax regime and the resulting higher disposable income after tax. An average pre-tax expat package in Hong Kong is around $271 4000 and one of the largest sectors for expat employment is finance.

  1. The United Kingdom – about $225 000

Despite all the news about Brexit, the UK is one of the best countries for expats to work in if they want to maximise their salary after paying tax. An average pre-tax expat salary including all benefits is in the region of $390 000 per year.

  1. Singapore – about $210 000

Singapore is ranked by the HSBC’s latest Annual Expat Explorer survey as the richest, safest country for expats offering the best quality of life. Taxation for expats is as low as 15%, which helps to maximise disposable income resulting in increased opportunities for expats to travel and invest their earnings.

  1. Japan – about $195 000

Working in Japan is a thrilling experience offering a great quality of life and excellent expat benefit packages. The cost of an average expat pay package for middle managers in Japan, prior to tax and including benefits (which many may not be subject to tax) is $375 289 annually.

  1. The UAE – about $191, 205

The United Arab Emirates has long enjoyed a status as a tax-free country, meaning that what you earn goes straight into your back pocket.

  1. Switzerland and the USA – just over $190 000

Switzerland is renowned for its high cost of living, which can have a significant impact on an expat’s income. The average expat package including benefits prior to tax is in the region of $246 971 a year. The USA has the same post- tax figure as Switzerland and a pre-tax benefit package for a professional in the USA is in the region of $252 903 per year.

  1. China and Korea Republic – just under $190 000

China has officially overtaken Hong Kong in terms of pre-tax expat packages, with an average package for an expat middle manager including benefits being in the region of $276 400.

Do you qualify for a tax refund?

As a South African expat, you might qualify for double-taxation relief. You may also be eligible for tax-relief on your South African pensions and annuity incomes.

At FinGlobal our tax specialists have extensive knowledge of SARS and SARB regulations and are able to discover if you are eligible for a tax refund. Our investigations can require a substantial investment of time and effort, but our clients are only charged if we successfully obtain a refund.

If you are interested in finding out whether you qualify for a tax refund, at no charge to yourself unless the outcome is successful, contact us today.




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