Total Business Magazine

Galbraith Rushby: The Accountancy Firm That Serves Cape Town, South Africa

Galbraith Rushby is a firm of accountants with two Partners, Jeneen Galbraith and Michael Rushby, who started the business approximately 14 years ago.

The firm had humble beginnings in an office under Jeneen’s house with only one staff member. The firm grew quickly to its current level of 65 staff operating from two offices in Cape Town, South Africa. The firm has grown largely from “word of mouth” and from the personal attention given by the Partners to their clients.

As a tribute to their success, Jeneen won the 2016 Business Women Achiever’s award in the professional category in the Western Cape.


What has been the backbone to Galbraith Rushby’s success so far?

The firm offers a wide range of services which include taxation, accounting, auditing and payroll. The firm has two main areas of specialty being the film industry and clients with international income and dual residency.

Jeneen lived in the UK for a number of years, which has helped to give her a more detailed knowledge of UK tax. In the future, Galbraith Rushby are hoping to grow the business internationally.



Have there been any notable changes in legislation, tax court cases and SARS policy recently that has affected you or your clients?

Due to the recent political and tight economic conditions in South Africa, we have seen the South African Revenue Services (SARS) increase their efforts to collect revenue. This has impacted individual taxpayers and small businesses. SARS have also started focusing their attention on the Ex pat community i.e. South African’s living abroad. These people need to consider their tax residency status and ensure that they are tax compliant and their tax affairs are in order. This is one of our areas of focus and where we can be of assistance.

South Africa has world-wide taxation rules which mean that a person is taxable on their world-wide income once they become a tax resident. Even if they are living abroad, they may still be considered to be a South African tax resident. It’s important to know and understand your tax status. We also find a number of people coming to South Africa to retire.

Jeneen says that it is crucial to review your tax affairs prior to becoming SA tax residents and to ensure that they are properly structured. The tax consequences of not doing so can be far-reaching.

South Africa and the UK have a double taxation agreement (DTA) which is the overriding legislation which governs the tax treatment between people who are living in both countries. The DTA does provide for a rebate for any taxes paid in either country, however, the reality is that the UK tax free threshold is much higher than the South African tax-free threshold, thus generally causing additional tax to be payable in South Africa. This often affects UK property owners living in SA.

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