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 ( 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.


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 with additional questions regarding the data.

Working paper
Michael Kilumelume, Bruno Morando, Carol Newman, and John Rand
An often-neglected potential negative consequence of tariffs is the impact they may have on the misallocation of factor inputs. Trade protection can provide space for domestic firms to increase prices and mark-ups, allowing low-productivity firms...
December 2021
Enterprise development
Working paper
Amina Ebrahim, C. Friedrich Kreuser, and Michael Kilumelume
This paper presents version 4.0 of the CIT-IRP5 firm-level panel dataset. Version 4.0 is the latest edition of the firm-level component of the combined administrative data using sources from the South African Revenue Service. We...
December 2021
Enterprise development
Working paper
Danie Schutte, Pieter van der Zwan, and Caro Janse van Rensburg
This paper analyses the permanent and temporary differences of South African firms for the period covered in the SARS-NT panel. The analysis provides valuable information about the differences between accounting profits and the taxable income...
September 2021
Public revenue
Working paper
Joshua Budlender and Amina Ebrahim
We present new evidence on the effects of South Africa’s Employment Tax Incentive (ETI), a hiring and employment wage subsidy aimed at reducing youth unemployment. We show that attempts to estimate firm-level treatment effects via...
July 2021
Labour market and inequality
Working paper
Wynnona Steyn, Alexius Sithole, Winile Ngobeni, Eva Muwanga-Zake, Helen Barnes, Michael Noble, David McLennan,Gemma Wright, and Katrin Gasior
In this paper we explore South Africa’s personal income tax system using two microsimulation models. The first, SAMOD, simulates personal income tax and social benefits using a dataset derived from the nationally representative National Income...
July 2021
Public revenue
Working paper
Brandon Joel Tan
There is a large literature on the minimum wage focused on directly exposed firms and geographies. This paper provides new evidence that the minimum wage has significant spillover effects on firms exposed to the minimum...
June 2021
Enterprise development
Working paper
Isaac Marcelin, Daniel Brink, and Wei Sun
We study the role of trade credit in enhancing the resilience of financially constrained firms from 2010 to 2017. Implicit borrowing in trade finance allows financially constrained firms to bridge the financing gap, expand employment...
May 2021
Enterprise development
Working paper
Caio Torres Mazzi, Gideon Ndubuisi, and Elvis Avenyo
Using the South African Revenue Service and National Treasury firm-level panel data for 2009–17, this paper investigates how global value chain-related trade affects the export performance of manufacturing firms in South Africa. In particular, the...
November 2020
Enterprise development