Working in Namibia?
Jobs and Taxes in Namibia
The Job Search
Many expats who move to Namibia are transferred there by their current employer. If you would like to move to Namibia, but have not yet found a job, this can be difficult due to the government’s policy of giving preference to Namibian citizens and permanent residents. In 2010, the Namibian government announced that 100% of unskilled and semi-skilled labor must be sourced from within Namibia. However, skilled expatriates are sought after in many sectors due to a shortage of qualified locals. Another option is to invest in Namibia and/or start a business here (such as, in tourism).
Personal income in Namibia is taxed at a rate of 18% to 37%, depending on which tax bracket your income falls into. Income under 50,000 NAD is not taxed. The highest tax rate is applicable for people with annual income above 1,500,000 NAD. The tax year runs from 1 March to 28 February and tax returns are due each year on 30 June.
Namibia taxes income based on source principle and not residency, so the possibility of double taxation for expats is very real. At the time of writing, Namibia had signed double taxation agreements with Botswana, France, Germany, India, Malaysia, Mauritius, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, and the UK. If you will be earning income from another country, you should check with a professional tax adviser to see how you can avoid having to pay income tax in both countries.
Namibia follows the PAYE tax system, where tax is withheld monthly from your paycheck by your employer. Of interest to expatriates who are sent abroad by their company is the fact that you must also pay income tax on the value of any fringe benefits included in your contract, such as housing or a car.
Social security contributions are mandatory for all employees in Namibia, but they are quite low. They amount to 1.8%, half of which is deducted from your gross salary and the other half of which is paid by your employer. The minimum earning used to calculate social security contributions is 300 NAD per month and the maximum is 9,000 NAD. Those who are self-employed can voluntarily choose to pay the full 1.8% themselves. These contributions also cover sickness and maternity benefits.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Namibia is relatively high — for the average Namibian — since most items need to be imported. Business monopolies in some sectors also lead to an increased cost of living. Despite this, Windhoek ranks quite favorably when compared to other expat hotspots; in 2016 Windhoek was ranked one of the least expensive cities for expats to live.
Although it is not an expensive country to live in, prices have been steadily increasing in the housing market in recent years. You should also budget in more money for a car and furniture than you may have been planning, since these items are also usually imported. Expats moving to Namibia from European cities will find the cost of living in Namibia comparable or less than before, although different items may cost more or less than they did in your home country.
We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.