|Overview : |
The Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Public Financial Management Reform Program (PFM RP) in November 2015. It represents a comprehensive and integrated framework for planning, coordinating, implementing and monitoring the progress in the implementation of a set of sustainable actions to improve macro fiscal stability, to ensure efficient and effective allocation and use of public resources and to improve service delivery by the Serbian public administration, whilst at the same time fulfilling the necessary requirements for European Union (EU) accession. In that sense, it addresses a broad range of issues grouped under six pillars: (1) Sustainable Medium-Term Macro-Fiscal and Budgetary Framework, (2) Planning and Budgeting of Public Expenditures, (3) Efficient and Effective Budget Execution, (4) Effective Financial Control (5) Accounting Monitoring and Financial Reporting and (6) External Scrutiny of Public Finances.
The implementation of this program has been readily supported by the European Commission, SIDA, SECO, SDC, UNDP and GIZ since 2015 and while much has been done in the previous two years, actual implementation of the reform measures has been moderate due to challenges that the public administration has been faced with in the previous period. Nevertheless, the PFM RP represents a key development since it provides a basis for planning and implementing essential reforms in a structured manner. Also, in 2015, the Serbian government adopted the National Program for Suppression of the Shadow Economy. The goal of the National Program is to downgrade the shadow economy to the average of the countries of Central and Southeast Europe (CSE) until 2020.
The Serbian Tax Administration has been implementing the Tax Administration Transformation program since June 2015, in line with the PFM Reform Program and the Economic Reform Programs for the period 2017-2019 and 2018-2020. The basic objectives of the Tax Administration Transformation Program include the rationalisation and optimisation of core business processes, introducing new methods and solutions for increasing tax collection, upgrading the existing infrastructure and working environment and increasing the overall quality of work, while at the same time, maximising services provided to taxpayers.
The Action Plan of the Transformation Program for the period 2018-2023 defines the structural changes aimed at strengthening the capacity of the Tax Administration in performing its core business activities. The document encloses a list of activities that are considered basic, as well as a list of activities that are considered as secondary and expected to be extracted from the Tax Administration or organized under a special organizational unit of the Tax Administration, whereby the Tax Administration will focus on basic tax activities and the first phase of consolidation of organizational units.
The Republic of Serbia in the past decade has established a set of new institutions for overseeing the management of public finances, to implement the reform measures. Their capacities have been gradually developed and they are in position today to unveil irregularities in the public finance system. UNDP in Serbia supports the Government’s efforts in this area and closely collaborates with the key institutions involved in these processes - such as the State Audit Institution (SAI), the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the Public Procurement Office (PPO), Commission for Protection of Rights in Public Procurement Procedures (Commission), Tax Administration, Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities (SCTM), Judicial Academy (JA) and other relevant entities.
The support planned to be provided under the project will contribute to strengthening capacities of the Tax Administration through a further simplification and unification of tax procedures, training of Tax Administration staff as well as improving operational activities in combating the grey economy.
The project will aim to support the transformation of Tax Administration through the following segments:
a) Reducing tax evasion by strengthening the capacities of the Tax Police for operational analysis and intelligence activities
The project will provide advisory support to the Tax Police based on comparative best practise defining its (1) Organizational structure, (2) Competencies and authority, (3) Work processes, (4) the role of the unit responsible for intelligence activity and analysis processes, (5) the methods and types of data collection (operational and intelligence), (6) Databases (of operational/intelligence data), (7) Data processing, database entry, data structure, connection with other databases, data crossing, (8) the application for working on databases (in matters of intelligence and operational activity) and (9) Methods of data analysis, analysis products and analysis results, application of analysis software.
It will also help the Tax Police in defining where it is at this point in time in respect to its role in the overall national system for revenue collection, where it will be in the future (defining its long-term vision), what resources it requires to undertake its full mandate.
The project will also support the Tax Police in implementing the defined strategic solutions and in particular, activities aimed at (1) Strengthening operational capacities by creating and developing an operational intelligence database with database management tools and (2) strengthening human capacities by providing training for the existing and new staff (i.e. operational analysts and Tax Inspectors) on data collection and assessment)
b) Exchanging experience with the Swedish Tax Authorities
The basic goal of improving cooperation between the two tax authorities through exchange of experiences is to enable the Serbian Tax Administration to gain access to innovative approaches and means implemented by the Swedish Tax Authorities in the past which had a positive impact in reinstalling tax payer confidence in the Swedish Tax Authorities which led to a stable and sustained increase in voluntary tax payer compliance.
The exchange of experience and good practice will encompass but will not be limited to issues such as the organization and competencies of the Swedish Tax Administration, the legal status of employees, business processes related to tax issues in all domains of the work of Tax Administration and will be implemented through structured study visits and workshops as well as possible technical expert support which would be provided by the staff of the Swedish Tax Administration to the staff of the Serbian Tax Administration.
The key issues that the Serbian Tax Administration would like to gain an insight in and learn from their Swedish counterparts include:
- Tax procedures and operational procedures that are implemented for basic and auxiliary functions;
- The effectiveness of measures for combating tax fraud
- Risk analysis in the framework of the control function, use of e-tools and fight against fiscal fraud and international tax evasion, as well as the detection of tax offences;
- Familiarization with methodologies, procedures and practices in disclosure and investigations in the process before and after registration of VAT payers;
- Organization of the function of providing taxpayer services and education of employees;
- Experience in establishing integrated management of staff performance through coordination of senior management and a staff retention plan;
- Experience in implementing organisation reforms (the challenges they faced, risk to the ongoing operations and ways of mitigating them)
- Exchange of experiences in the areas of the tax system defined by the Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool (TADAT) methodology and organization.
c) Improving the corporate image - changing business culture and perceptions of the public
The Swedish Tax Administration has undergone a decade long transformation of corporate identity in order to achieve the level of sophistication and recognition by the public as one of the most progressive state administration bodies and also as a preferred employer.
Similar to Serbia, the impetus for undergoing a radical transformation process was the low esteem and poor image that the Swedish Tax Administration acquired during time due to inefficient and unqualified management and the excessive bureaucracy practiced by Tax officers which estranged them from the tax payers.
In that sense, the Serbian Tax Administration would like to gain an insight in and learn from their Swedish counterparts on the following topics:
- Definition of stakeholders and analysis of perceptions of stakeholders as well as impact on the image
- Defining the channels of communication and accountability in the Tax Administration (Internal Communication Strategy)
- Defining channels of communication and accountability to external stakeholders
- The strategy of communication of the Tax Administration with interested parties
- Survey of taxpayers for the purpose of monitoring public confidence trends in the tax administration. (in accordance with TADAT methodology and performance area 9, indicator P9-27-Public integrity perception)
- Campaigning in order to raise awareness of taxpayers.
The ultimate result of the exchange between the two tax authorities as well as the technical support provided would be a Road Map for improving corporate values, culture, identity and image, such as the concepts that precede the building of corporate image.
d) Developing a Register of Business Invoices
Due to the abolition of seals and the recognition of electronic invoices in the economic activity of the Republic of Serbia, there is an outstanding need to establish a Business Invoice Registry, similar to the practice exercised by tax authorities in many EU member states, which will facilitate the work and increase the efficiency of the Tax Administration in many aspects.
Such a register will serve as a basic tool for performing controls and comparing data on the turnover of all taxpayers who are subject to control. The Register of Business Invoices will improve the effectiveness of the controls performed over taxpayers in an environment in which the Tax Administration is rationalising its network of branches with the aim of optimising business processes. As such it will contribute to increasing the efficiency of desk-based controls which have substituted on site audits due to the rationalisation of the previously overly complex and extensive network of Tax Administration offices throughout Serbia.
The project will provide the Serbian Tax Administration with the necessary support in drafting the legislative framework for introducing the Register of Business Invoices, building technical capacities within the Tax Administration for the introduction of the new Register and preparing a technical specification for the procurement of the software solution for introducing the Register of Business Invoices.
In line with the abovementioned, the UNDP in Serbia is seeking a qualified and experienced senior expert to assist the Serbian Tax Administration in the transformation process – in improving the corporate image of the Tax Administration.
Description of Responsibilities
Scope of work:
The consultant will provide both on-site and off-site advice to the top management of the Serbian Tax Administration (STA) within the scope of the project’s topics agreed upon.
More precisely, the selected candidate shall provide expert support to the Tax Administration in the following strategic activities:
- in improving the internal organization and functionality of Tax Administration, its corporate image and facilitating the automatization of desk-based tax audits;
- in rationalisation and optimisation of core business processes, introducing new methods and solutions for increasing tax collection, upgrading the existing infrastructure and working environment and increasing the overall quality of work, while at the same time, maximising services provided to taxpayers;
- In further simplification and unification of tax procedures, training of Tax Administration staff as well as improving operational activities in combating the grey economy;
- in introducing new methodologies and strengthening the capacities of the Tax Police Department (TPD) for preventing tax evasion, improving the functionality and directing the existing human and material resources to prevent and suppress the types of tax crimes that pose the greatest threat in tax collections which are in the competence of the Tax Administration;
- in strengthening of organisational and technical capacities of the TPD for processing intelligence and operational data and analysis. strengthening the intelligence system (operational analysis and intelligence activity) in order to counteract various types of tax evasion more effectively.
Duties, responsibilities and key milestones
The consultant is responsible for the following deliverables:
- Deliverable 1: Design of an Exchange of experience (EoE) mechanism with Swedish Tax Administration prepared and accepted September 15, 2019;
- Deliverable 2: Input for a work package containing a cost-benefit analysis of a Register of Business Invoices prepared and accepted October 10, 2019;
- Deliverable 3: Draft Road Map for improving corporate values, culture, identity and image prepared and accepted November 15, 2019;
- Deliverable 4: Background report on the functioning of the tax police in comparison with international good practice prepared and accepted December 10, 2019;
- Deliverable 5: Recommendations for enhancing transformation change management prepared and accepted December 10, 2019.
Furthermore, the consultant shall produce monthly reports on the main activities undertaken.
All deliverables will have to be quality reviewed and accepted by the UNDP Project Manager in consultation with the Tax Administration National Project Director. They shall be delivered in electronic form in English.
Requirements for experience and qualifications
- Consistently ensures timeliness and quality of project work.
- Demonstrates strong oral and written communication skills.
- Evidence of ability to express ideas clearly; to work independently and in teams.
- Ability to summarize and systematize complex information and identify priorities for follow up activities.
- Shares knowledge and experience.
- Focuses on results and responds positively to feedback.
- Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability.
- Demonstrates integrity by modelling ethical standards.
- PhD in public economics. Specialization in tax systems or tax culture would be considered as advantage;
- Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool (TADAT) Certification would be considered as advantage;
- Knowledge of Serbian Tax system shall be considered as an advantage;
- Track record of relevant international professional experience in the tax system reform field of minimum 7 years;
- Previous experience in working with government institutions would be considered an advantage.
- Full working proficiency in English; knowledge of Serbian would be considered as advantage
Qualified and interested candidates are asked to submit their applications via UNDP Web site: UNDP in Serbia under section “Jobs” no later than 18 August 2019.
Application should include:
- CV containing date of birth and contact information;
- Offeror’s Letter (only PDF format will be accepted) confirming Interest and availability for the Individual Contractor (IC) Assignment. Can be downloaded from the following link: http://www.undp.org.rs/download/ic/Confirmation.docx.
- The Offeror’s Letter should include financial proposal specifying a total lump sum amount for the tasks specified in this announcement with a breakdown of costs.
- Offeror’s Letter must also include the methodology concept containing a preliminary plan of work (no more than two pages).
The above listed documents may be uploaded under consultancy ref. 1972 at following the link:
For more information please refer to the attached Procurement Notice.
- Individual Contract (IC) will be applicable for individual consultants applying in their own capacity.
- Reimbursable Loan Agreement (RLA) will be applicable for applicants employed by any legal entity. Template of RLA with General Terms and Conditions could be found on: http://www.undp.org.rs/download/RLA%20with%20General%20Terms%20and%20Conditions.doc. In the case of engagement of Civil servants under IC contract modality a no-objection letter should be provided by the Government entity. The ‘no-objection’ letter must also state that the employer formally certifies that their employees are allowed to receive short-term consultancy assignment from another entity without being on “leave-without-pay” status (if applicable), and include any conditions and restrictions on granting such permission, if any. If the previous is not applicable ‘leave-without-pay’ confirmation should be submitted.
Engagement of Government Officials and Employees
- Government Officials or Employees are civil servants of UN Member States. As such, if they will be engaged by UNDP under an IC which they will be signing in their individual capacity (i.e., engagement is not done through RLA signed by their Government employer), the following conditions must be met prior to the award of contract:
(i) A “No-objection” letter in respect of the individual is received from the Government employing him/her, and;
(ii) The individual must provide an official documentation from his/her employer formally certifying his or her status as being on “official leave without pay” for the duration of the IC.
- The above requirements are also applicable to Government-owned and controlled enterprises and well as other semi/partially or fully owned Government entities, whether or not the Government ownership is of majority or minority status.
- UNDP recognizes the possibility that there are situations when the Government entity employing the individual that UNDP wishes to engage is one that allows its employees to receive external short-term consultancy assignments (including but not limited to research institutions, state-owned colleges/universities, etc.), whereby a status of “on-leave-without-pay” is not required. Under such circumstance, the individual entering into an IC with UNDP must still provide a “No-objection” letter from the Government employing him/her. The “no objection” letter required under (i) above must also state that the employer formally certifies that their employees are allowed to receive short-term consultancy assignment from another entity without being on “leave-without-pay” status, and include any conditions and restrictions on granting such permission, if any. The said document may be obtained by, and put on record of, UNDP, in lieu of the document (ii) listed above.