Skills Development Levies (SDL)

Who should register for SDL?

Where an employer expects that the total salaries will be more than R500 000 over the next 12 months, that employer becomes liable to pay SDL.

Even though directors’ remuneration is also subject to the SDL, what should not be forgotten though (especially in the context of what appears to be the focus of SARS’ audits) is that directors’ remuneration is excluded in terms of section 3(5)(e) from determining whether the threshold amount of R500,000 has been reached and which requires registration for SDL purposes (see section 4(b)).

Therefore, although the directors’ remuneration will be subject to SDL once the company is registered, it is ignored for purposes of determining whether a taxpayer is liable, and thus required to register, for SDL.

This is particularly relevant for small and medium enterprises who conduct business through a private company, especially where remuneration is comprised largely of directors’ salaries.  To give an example: assume a private company pays salaries to non-directors of R400,000, and R1,000,000 to the two directors of the company collectively.  On these facts, the company need not register and pay SDL as non-director salaries amount to less than R500,000.  Were the company however to pay salaries to non-directors of R600,000, then irrespective of the directors’ remuneration, the company would need to register for SDL and pay 1% per month on the total remuneration paid to all employees (including directors).

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7 Responses so far.

  1. Sue says:

    Hello, Please advise if this info is still correct as at 27 July 2019? I’ve registered a company and my wage bill without 2 Directors salary will be less than R500000, but with them will be more. I don’t know if I’m liable to register for SDL. I cannot find these clauses you speak of in any Act.

  2. Paul Ruiters says:

    Good Day. For how long is SDL registration valid

    • MDACC says:


      SARS SDL registration is valid until it is actually deregistered with SARS itself – there is no “expiry” period.

  3. Mari says:

    If a company is registered for SDL but payroll is below R500 000 in 12 month period. Can they just submit zero’s or SDL or do they need to deregister first?

    • MDACC says:


      A request for de-activation for SDL would need to be made with SARS directly if this function is not available online.

  4. Janine says:

    When you are a employer that are registered for SDL and you also have learners that are on a learnership at the company. Do you deduct SDL from the learners also?

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