Working Paper
Introduction to the South African Revenue Service and National Treasury firm-level panel

The South African Revenue Service and National Treasury Firm-Level Panel is an unbalanced panel data set created by merging several sources of administrative tax data received during 2015.

The four data sources that constitute the panel are:

  1. company income tax from registered firms who submit tax forms;
  2. employee data from employee income tax certificates submitted by employers;
  3. value-added tax data from registered firms; and
  4. customs records from traders.

These data sets constitute a significant and unique source for the study of firm-level behaviour in post-apartheid South Africa.

We review the key data sources used to construct the panel, highlight some important questions that arise as a result of panel construction, discuss the biases in the resulting data, compare key aggregates in the panel to other data sources, and provide a descriptive overview of the tax records.