Data

Introduction

The National Treasury Secure Data Facility (NT-SDF), established through the collaboration between the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and National Treasury (NT), provides researchers with partially anonymised tax data for research. South Africa is one of only a few countries globally to grant access to this type of data for research purposes. This is a unique opportunity as access to national administrative data for researchers outside of senior officials is rarely granted. The administrative data plays a central part in the SA-TIED programme and aims to inform policy formulation.

Data access

Located on the 20th floor of the NT building in Pretoria, the NT-SDF has a number of terminals available to researchers. Researchers with successful applications in response to calls for proposals, listed under the opportunities tab, can secure access the data to conduct their research.

Apart from responding to the request for proposals, researchers can send proposals (max five pages) to the National Treasury (ntsdf@treasury.gov.za) to request access to the data. Proposals should outline the research question, the relevant literature, the proposed methodology, exact data requirements, and the anticipated time needed in the data lab. In addition, the researcher should ensure that their proposal illustrates their familiarity with papers on the tax data relevant to their proposal. This will ensure they understand the data limitations and place their proposed contribution into the tax data literature.

Data description

The partially anonymised tax data available at the NT-SDF includes the Corporate Income Tax (CIT), Personal Income Tax (PIT), Customs, and Value Added Tax (VAT) dataset. Researchers also have access to the SARS Treasury matched firm-level panel and the individual panel. Below are the latest versions of the datasets at the NT-SDF. Please see the Data-Resources tab for more information on the contents of the datasets.

  • Corporate Income Tax (CIT)
    • (Latest version: v4, Tax years: 2007/2008 to 2017/2018)
    • This panel contains information from the IT14/ITR14 forms.
  • Pay-As-Your-Earn (PAYE, payroll or IRP5)
    • (Latest version: v4; Tax years: 2007/2008 to 2017/2018)
  • Value-Added Tax (VAT)
    • (Latest version: v4; Tax years: 2008/2009 to 2017/2018)
  • Customs data
    • (Latest version: v4; Tax years: 2008/2009 to 2017/2018)
  • Individual Panel
    • (Latest version: v4; Tax years: 2010/2009 to 2017/2018)
    • This panel merges IRP5 and ITR12 data
  • SARS-NT/CIT-IRP5/SARS Treasury matched firm (STMF) panel 
    • (Latest version: 4, Tax years: 2007/2008 to 2017/2018)
    • This panel merges the CIT, IRP5, customs and VAT data

All research papers using the data at the NT-SDF should include a data appendix and correctly cite the datasets. The Data-Resources tab contains a document with guidelines on compiling a data appendix and citing the tax data.

Data Security

The data are partially anonymised by masking identifying information (i.e., tax reference number, PAYE reference number, etc.). The aim here is to prevent anyone granted access to the tax data at NT-SDF from directly or indirectly identifying companies or individuals described by the data. The NT-SDF also offers additional security by requiring a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and the Oath of secrecy before accessing the data. Furthermore, NT-SDF ensures that researcher output exported from the data facility does not contain potentially identifying information. Please refer to the “Standard Operating Procedure at the NT-SDF” document under the Data-Resources tab for more information on what information can be exported from the data lab.

Research

If you are planning on responding to an SA-TIED call for research proposals, please check the papers at the bottom of this page for completed, current, and ongoing research to avoid the duplication of existing research. Final papers resulting from the analysis of these data will be made available on our research page alongside all other SA-TIED final papers.

Some independent research studies have also been undertaken by staff at the National Treasury. An overview of this research can be accessed here.

Please feel free to send an email to sa.datateam@wider.unu.edu with additional questions regarding the data.

Opportunities
SA-TIED
Opportunity: Master´s thesis research projects using tax data Closing date: 25 June 2024 All applicants who applied previously need not reapply Background The United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), together with...
May 2024
Blog
Aimable Nsabimana and Abena Larbi-Odam
Sub-Saharan Africa has abundant natural resources and a substantial market, with an estimated population of 1.2 billion . The population is projected to grow by nearly 80% and reach almost 2 billion people by 2043...
February 2024
News
SA-TIED
To support evidence-based policymaking across southern and east Africa, UNU-WIDER, in collaboration with the National Treasury of South Africa, the Spatial Economic Activity Data South Africa (SEADsa), and the SA-TIED programme, successfully organized a capacity...
December 2023
Working paper
Ada Jansen, Winile Ngobeni, and Wynnona Steyn
South Africa has a progressive broad-based personal income tax system with relatively few tax expenditures. The two most important are the medical contribution plus additional tax credits for medical expenses, and the deductions allowed for...
November 2023
Public revenue
Working paper
Joshua Budlender and Ihsaan Bassier
Faced with more favourable demand conditions, many firms raise wages. However, we show that firms with labour market power, lower productivity, and binding wage floors will absorb these positive revenue productivity shocks as excess profits...
November 2023
Enterprise development
Working paper
Shakeba Foster
This paper investigates the role of firm characteristics in driving wage inequality and firm wage premia in the South African labour market. The Abowd, Kramarz, and Margolis (AKM) and Kline, Saggio, and Sølvsten (KSS) regression-based...
October 2023
Labour market and inequality
Working paper
Michelle Pleace, Matthew Clance and Nicky Nicholls
The attainment of financial independence by women holds significant importance for women’s empowerment and has implications for the increasing prevalence of female-headed households in the country. Previous estimates of the gender wage gap in South...
October 2023
Labour market and inequality
News
SA-TIED
SA-TIED marked a significant milestone on 13 October 2023, by hosting an inaugural National Treasury Secure Data Facility (NTSDF) data lab roadshow at the University of Pretoria . The event featured a presentation by the...
October 2023
Enterprise development
Public revenue
Labour market and inequality
Macro-fiscal analysis
Climate and energy
Reform implementation
Journal article
Marlies Piek, Dieter von Fintel, Johann Kirsten
Marlies Piek , Dieter von Fintel , Johann Kirsten This paper is the first to provide estimates of how minimum wages affect worker flows and employment growth rates in an employment scarce developing country context...
SEPTEMBER 2023
Abstract We incorporate a model of frictions into the bunching-based elasticity estimator to rationalize diffuse bunching around kinks and mass above notches in empirical distributions. Model agents draw a sparse set of opportunities from a...
Working paper
Andrew R. Donaldson
Andrew R. Donaldson March 2023 Tax administration statistics now provide considerably more complete and reliable measures of South African personal income and its distribution than the available household or other survey sources. However, there are...
March 2023
Labour market and inequality