Tax Specialist – for SDGs Initiatives

  • Location:
  • Salary:
  • Job type:
  • Posted:
    2 weeks ago
  • Category:
    Budget and Accounting, Environment and Natural Resources, Finance, Social and Inclusive Development
  • Deadline:


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UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks. 

As Sri Lanka prepares to enter a macro-fiscal programme under the guidance of the IMF this year, tax reform must be prioritized. Following the IMF staff level agreement reached on September 1, 2022, and the Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool (TADAT) completed in 2023, UNDP Sri Lanka deems it is timely to support in tax policy and tax administration reform and improvements to achieve Sri Lanka’s development goals and SDGs. 

The UNDP Country Office Sri Lanka and the UNDP Tax for SDGs Initiative, in supporting Sri Lanka, will act in an integrating function, not only implementing activities themselves, but even more broadening outreach and forging wide-ranging partnerships with stakeholders – other UNDP programmes, UN agencies, multilateral and bilateral development partners-  to advance the country’s development strategies and objectives in a coherent manner. The Tax for SDGs Initiative places a particular focus on promoting the SDG agenda through reducing gender and social inequalities in tax and fiscal policy as well as taking forward climate action and environmental goals, and gender, health and Leave No One Behind (LNOB) outcomes. 

Against this backdrop, UNDP, led by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), Ministry of Finance is implementing a Tax of SDGs programme in Sri Lanka to enhance domestic resource mobilization and foster a stronger connection between development financing and taxation and consequently align tax policies and frameworks with the SDGs. These will be delivered through the following three outputs:

  • The IRD and other relevant departments of the Ministry of Finance engaged in taxation have increased capacity to tackle tax avoidance, tax evasion and Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs);
  • The Government of Sri Lanka increasingly aligns tax and fiscal policy with the Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs); and 
  • The evidence and perspectives from Sri Lanka is incorporated into regional and international discussions on taxation.
Duties and Responsibilities

UNDP Sri Lanka is seeking a Tax Specialist – for SDGs Initiatives to effectively manage and support the implementation of the UNDP Tax for SDGs Initiative and provide support to UNDP CO and the IRD, Ministry of Finance, on tax related engagements as part of their agenda of Financing the SDGs in the country. Under direct supervision of UNDP Country Economist, and in close coordination with the Tax for SDGs team, the programme specialist will implement the following activities:

Strategic and Multi-Stakeholder Engagement 

  • Support the Economist, UNDP and IRD in embedding the UNDP Tax for SDGs Initiative in UNDP’s broader SDG finance portfolio in UNDP Sri Lanka Country Office;
  • Lead implementation and multi-stakeholder engagement for the project in Sri Lanka including engaging with tax experts, bilateral, regional, and multilateral organizations, governments particularly the IRD, Ministry of Finance, and related ministries and agencies;
  • Support UNDP Sri Lanka in building strategic alliances and partnerships with governments, think tanks, academic institutions, development partners and others to expand UNDP’s work on tax and fiscal policy;
  • Work with the Economist to support UNDP COs to learn from the Sri Lanka experience on designing and implementing Country Engagement Plans (CEPs) and in their broader engagement on tax and fiscal policies within the overall project implementation; and 

Policy and Programme Coordination

  • To analyze local context and identify potential synergies with UNDP’s policy and development work in-country at national/local level and map out emerging trends and opportunities for the region in implementation of the programme; 
  • Provide substantive and technical advice and inputs to support the implementation of the project and to backstop experts working under the project; 
  • Identify potential synergies between the UNDP Tax for SDGs Initiative work, the UNDP Regional Hub and UNDP Country Offices implementing similar projects; 
  • Engage with policymakers on tax and fiscal policy matters and further develop the role of UNDP in taxation in Sri Lanka;
  • Coordinate and support the development of policy papers, briefs, blogs etc. to promote understanding and integration of tax and fiscal policies and SDG issues;
  • Support the Economist in relevant analytical and policy-oriented work on tax policy and administration, and on technical tax topics; and 
  • Draft internal UNDP briefing notes and talking points for Senior Management on UNDP Tax for SDGs Initiative, and other topical issues. 

Monitoring, Implementation, and Reporting of Project Implementation

  • Lead preparation of detailed workplan including budgeting, TORs for experts and consultancies for smooth implementation of the programme. 
  • Design and formulate concept notes and action plans for various activities within the project and facilitate implementation;
  • Lead monitoring of project implementation including providing timely debottlenecking solutions; 
  • Prepare project implementation progress reports—financial and narrative—on a quarterly/midterm/ annual basis or as and when required; 
  • Organize project steering committee (PSC) meetings to present progress, issues and risks of the project and seek approval on the Annual Work Plans; ensure timely preparation of agenda, background materials and prepare minutes of the PSC meetings; follow-up on the minutes of the PSC and ensure that the directives are implemented;
  • Review budget status and verify financial reports related to the programme; and
  • Provide secretarial, logistics and technical support to Economist, UNDP CO, and IRD, Ministry of Finance in implementing the Tax for SDGs Initiative. 

Knowledge Management

  • Facilitate setting up the interventions under the project as well as coordinate their implementation as per standard operating procedures, including knowledge capture from past programmes;
  • Collaborate on evidence collection and lessons-learned from other countries, including promoting best practice sharing and peer learning through case-studies;
  • Collaborate on knowledge management between various stakeholders, including UNDP COs and tax experts (including through expert engagement platform);
  • Develop concept notes for technical workshops/webinars/side-events for UNDP Tax for SDGs Initiative; and
  • Prepare of substantive briefs on possible areas of cooperation, identification of opportunities for initiation of new projects, active contribution to the overall CO efforts in resource mobilization

Outreach Engagement 

  • Collaborate on project communications, including Mid-Term Reports, Annual Reports and Newsletters;
  • Coordinate the organization of events, including high-level launches of the programmes;
  • Collaborate on lessons-learned from the project activities, including through case-studies;
  • Develop resources to enhance capacities within UNDP on tax, fiscal policy issues and SDGs; and 
  • The incumbent performs other duties within their functional profile as deemed necessary for the efficient functioning of the Office and the Organization.  

Core competencies:

  • Achieve Results: LEVEL 3: Set and align challenging, achievable objectives for multiple projects, have lasting impact 
  • Think Innovatively: LEVEL 3: Proactively mitigate potential risks, develop new ideas to solve complex problems 
  • Learn Continuously: LEVEL 3: Create and act on opportunities to expand horizons, diversify experiences
  • Adapt with Agility: LEVEL 3: Proactively initiate and champion change, manage multiple competing demands 
  • Act with Determination:  LEVEL 3: Think beyond immediate task/barriers and take action to achieve greater results
  • Engage and Partner: LEVEL 3: Political savvy, navigate complex landscape, champion inter-agency collaboration
  • Enable Diversity and Inclusion: LEVEL 3: Appreciate benefits of diverse workforce and champion inclusivity

Cross Functional & Technical competencies: 

Business Development:

  • UNDP Representation: Ability to represent UNDP and productively share UNDP knowledge and activities; advocate for UNDP, its values, mission and work with various constituencies

Business Management

  • Partnerships Management: Ability to build and maintain partnerships. networks of stakeholders, Governments, civil society and private sector partners, experts, and others in line with UNDP strategy and policies

Business Direction & Strategy:

  • System Thinking: Ability to use objective problem analysis and judgement to understand how interrelated elements coexist within an overall process or system, and to consider how altering one element can impact on other parts of the system.
  • Negotiation and Influence: Ability to reach an understanding, persuade others, resolve points of difference, gain advantage in the outcome of dialogue, negotiates mutually acceptable solutions through compromise and creates win-win situations.

2030 Agenda: 

  • Partnerships – SDG Finance: Public Sector Finance (Tax and domestic resource mobilization, public financial management and public expenditure)
  • People: Gender  – Gender Mainstreaming
Required Skills and Experience
  • Advanced university degree (master’s degree or equivalent) in related field is required, taxation, law, economics, finance, public policy or a related field. OR 
  • A first-level university degree (bachelor’s degree) in combination with an additional two years of qualifying experience will be given due consideration in lieu of the advanced university degree.
  • Minimum 5 years (with master’s degree) or 7 years (with bachelor’s degree) of progressively responsible relevant Excellent knowledge of current debates regarding taxation, fiscal policy and illicit financial flows in Asian countries is desirable
  • Detailed understanding of tax/fiscal policy, tax administration processes, public finance reforms and management is an asset
  • Experience in writing and analysing, including the ability to write concept notes, outcome reporting, and other written communication would be an asset.
  • Prior working experience in or with developing countries is desirable
  • Experience in working with UNDP or UN Development System on matters related to taxation and fiscal policies is an asset.
  • Prior experience in results-oriented based project management is desired 
  • Strong record in advising and engaging with international institutions and/ or governments on taxation, public finance management or domestic resource mobilization with involvement in technical work such as producing tax policy proposals, auditing, conducting tax audits, computation of tax expenditures or drafting tax regulations will be an asset.
  • Good knowledge of the current context in Sri Lanka and familiarity with SDGs will be an advantage. experience at the national or international level in Public finance, taxation or financing for development is required.

Required Languages:

  • Fluency in the UN language of the duty station is required.
  • Fluency in the national language of the duty station is required for local personnel.


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UNDP is not in a position to provide advice or assistance on applying for US citizenship and therefore applicants are advised to seek the advice of competent immigration lawyers regarding any applications.

Applicant information about UNDP rosters

Note: UNDP reserves the right to select one or more candidates from this vacancy announcement.  We may also retain applications and consider candidates applying to this post for other similar positions with UNDP at the same grade level and with similar job description, experience and educational requirements.


UNDP has a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual exploitation and misconduct, sexual harassment, and abuse of authority. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks, and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles.  

UNDP is an equal opportunity and inclusive employer that does not discriminate based on race, sex, gender identity, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, age, language, social origin or other status. 

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