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Stephan Spies

Head of Operations

Sanlam Private Wealth has partnered with specialist service provider Global Tax Recovery (GTR) to help you claim refunds on dividend withholding tax (DWT) incurred with respect to a wide array of dual-listed shares – including AB InBev, EPP, Intu Properties, Capital & Regional, RDI REIT and Hammerson. We don’t charge any additional fee for this service. To date, our partnership with GTR has returned R8.6 million on 1 625 client accounts, with significant recoveries expected for the remainder of 2023.

Internationally, revenue authorities impose a withholding tax on the dividends paid by companies listed on exchanges in their jurisdictions. The percentage withheld depends on each jurisdiction but generally ranges from 5% to as high as 35%.

The dividends of companies that trade on multiple exchanges (dual-listed shares) can be subject to double taxation if both the country of listing and the country of incorporation impose DWT. There are various tax treaties between jurisdictions worldwide that seek to avoid double taxation on income. If the DWT rate charged by a particular jurisdiction exceeds the maximum rate allowed under the tax treaty, the shareholder is entitled to a refund of tax from that jurisdiction.


For example, take Richemont shares trading on the JSE. Dividends paid by Richemont are subject to Swiss DWT of 35%. As the company trades on the JSE, the dividend is also subject to South African DWT at a rate of 20% (unless an exemption from South African DWT applies, for example, for South African company shareholders).

In accordance with the tax treaty between Switzerland and South Africa, South African shareholders are generally subject to a maximum Swiss DWT rate of 15%. The resultant outcome for a South African shareholder (that does not qualify for an exemption from South African DWT) is as follows:

  • Swiss DWT of 35% is applied. The shareholder is, however, entitled to claim a refund from the Swiss tax authority for 20% of the dividend amount, which reduces the effective Swiss cost to 15% (per the treaty).
  • SARS will impose DWT of 5%, which is calculated as the standard South African DWT rate of 20% minus the 15% allowed to Switzerland.

South African shareholders who do not lodge a claim with the Swiss tax authority will be subject to an effective tax cost on Swiss dividends of 40%.

The process of claiming refunds from foreign tax authorities is highly onerous, involving submission (sometimes via postal service delivery) of various documents supporting the claim. As a result, the majority of non-institutional shareholders generally forfeit these refunds – which can, over time, run into thousands of rands.


To assist our clients in claiming refunds on DWT, Sanlam Private Wealth has partnered with specialist service provider GTR. The service applies to South African resident and non-resident clients, as well as local (JSE-listed) and foreign shares.

We don’t levy any additional fee for this service. GTR charges 20% of any refund it is able to recover. No fee is charged for unsuccessful claims, and there is no minimum cost. To date, our partnership with GTR has returned R8.6 million on 1 625 client accounts (after deducting charges), with significant recoveries expected for the remainder of 2023 and onwards.

If you’ve not already done so, you can sign on for this service by completing a short authorisation form which will be sent to you shortly. After you’ve returned the form, no further involvement is required from you, unless specific documentation is requested by a tax authority. Refunds (net of cost) will be deposited into your Sanlam Private Wealth trading account as soon as they’ve been received.

Kindly note that you can’t engage the services of multiple service providers. If you already have an existing DWT recovery service provider, you won’t be able to make use of the GTR service.

Please do not hesitate to contact your portfolio manager if you need any further information.

Expert advice is crucial in dealing with cross-border estate and tax planning.

Stanley Broun has spent 10 years in Fiduciary And Tax.

Stanley Broun

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