A small reminder post on two things that could possibly make your future self happy for planning ahead: taxes and drivers license.
You might not even need to read this one, since it is not applicable to all people planning on teaching in Korea – but if it does apply to you, good luck!
As South Africans we get exempt from paying tax for our first two years in Korea, if; 1) You are teaching at a public institution and 2) You have a residency certificate/ tax clearance certificate.
So if you are going to teach at public school, apply for your tax clearance certificate at SARS by completing the RCO1 form. For the best results, apply at the branch and get a reference number for your application. After 2-3 weeks phone SARS at Contact Centre 0800 00 7277, state your tax number and reference number for the application and ask them if it has been processed. If yes, go collect the printout from your nearest SARS branch. They will also send it via post, but you need to submit it prior to receiving your first salary in Korea. If you apply at least 2 months before you leave RSA you should receive it in time.
We struggled receiving one of ours. After calling the call centre the first person’s answer to our question about whether the RCO1 Tax Clearance, with ref no 12345 has been processed was; I’m sorry, I do not follow? The second call; It has not been processed, there are some outstanding documents. I cannot tell you which documents. After not getting any answers we drove through to the nearest SARS branch, lied to the lady at the desk saying we are here to collect a RCO1 and when we finally got to see a consultant (we were customer 773) he could sort out the whole issue. He checked my ID to see why my certificate were issued, and not hubby’s, since we applied on the same day at the same branch. He emailed a few people and made some calls. He promised that hubby’s certificate will be issued and emailed that same day. He gave us his email address, and asked us to email him should we not receive it before the end of the business day. At about 16h00 we did receive a tax clearance certificate. For a complete stranger. A female. With a surname not even close to ours. We emailed the consultant at SARS, and within ten minutes we received the correct document.
Again, this might not apply to you. For me and hubby it worked out that our RSA drivers licenses were going to expire whilst we are abroad. We did not want that to happen, since it can cause a whole lot of issues re-applying and even having to do a drivers license test for a second time. We went to the traffic department for the renewal of our licenses. It seemed to be very straightforward at first, completing the form,eye test, photo, payment. Done. We did this about 1 and a half month before departure, figuring it will be be enough time for it to be issued before we had to leave. We were wrong. About one month after the application, one notice for collection arrived via post. Guess whose it was? NOT MINE. I have had the worst luck with our paper work so far. Like seriously. I went to the traffic department, gave my ID and asked them to just check whether my license arrived, since I did not get any notice and it’s been a month and a bit already. The guy searched the system, very confused, asking me whether I got married since the application for renewal (answer is no), and after a bit of back and forth he found it. He’s statement completed blew my mind. It seemed that it was filed under the wrong surname. And then he stated my married surname. The one on my ID. Which I used to apply for the renewal. Which I handed him at the beginning of this conversation.
I don’t want to go on a rant about how things (admin) are really not functioning properly in RSA at the moment, and about the masses of paperwork you need to complete in order to finalize this process. I want to help. I want to prepare you for the things that can possibly go wrong. I want to warn you to not just sit at home and trust the system. Check, and double check everything, and you will be fine.