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Fiscal Policy

These courses, presented by the IMF Institute and Fiscal Affairs Department, provide a comprehensive analytical framework to understand and assess public fiscal choices and cover macro-fiscal issues, including revenue and expenditure policies; fiscal frameworks, institutions, and rules; fiscal sustainability, as well as tax policy and administration, expenditure policy, and budgetary framework.


This online course, presented jointly by the Institute for Capacity Development and the Fiscal Affairs, Research, Monetary and Capital Markets, and Strategy, Policy, and Review Departments, in collaboration with the World Bank, provides a comprehensive overview of the IMF and World Bank recent research and hands-on analytical tools for debt sustainability analysis (DSA) and debt management.

This six-module course, offered on a modular basis, lays out the underpinnings of debt sustainability analysis; introduces a probabilistic approach to assessing debt sustainability; examines how to balance the needs for development with debt sustainability concerns focusing on public investment-growth nexus; teaches the new debt sustainability frameworks for the economies that can access the financial markets (MAC DSA) as well as for the countries that benefit from long-term concessional financing (LIC DSF) using real country data; and presents the updated and refined Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy (MTDS) to help ensure sustainable debt.


This course, presented by the Institute for Capacity Development, looks at fiscal sustainability as a requirement for macroeconomic stability and sustainable and inclusive long-term growth. It provides a thorough overview of how to assess fiscal sustainability from a policy and tools perspective. The course also discusses long-term fiscal pressures and risks as well as debt management strategies and the early warning indicators used by the IMF. Special attention is given to case studies of fiscal crises and the subsequent fiscal adjustments.

This course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, discusses key institutions that help governments better assess and manage risks to the government budget. It provides an overview of typical fiscal risks including those created by the COVID-19 pandemic, their scale and relative importance, approaches for identifying and analyzing them, possible mitigating measures, and institutional arrangements for dealing with them. The course also discusses standards for the disclosure of fiscal risks – as prescribed in the IMF’s Fiscal Transparency Code – and the lessons from the IMF’s fiscal transparency evaluations.

South Asia is a rapidly developing region. Tax administrations are in many cases growing fast and working hard to develop capacity to keep pace with both policy and legislative change and the growing sophistication of the taxpayer populations. The Audit Techniques course will take revenue agency staff through a process to equip them with the skills necessary to apply contemporary risk management and prioritization approaches to the work in their Agencies. This five-day course will cover areas ranging from the components of audit risk and materiality through to audit procedures and practical issues such as the management of audit working papers.

This course, presented by the IMF Fiscal Affairs Department, will help Nepal authorities have a deeper understanding of the international and regional good practices in Budget formulation, medium term and performance budgeting, cash management; and cross-cutting issues. Most sessions will follow discussion on issues and practices in Nepal and possible strengthening of their systems.

This course, presented by the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) is designed for senior officials who have a leadership role in the area of Compliance Risk Management. The purpose of the course is to consider the importance of a risk based approach to compliance and how this leads to the efficient administration of the revenue system. Discussions will follow on alignment to the organizations mission, vision and values and how this should guide practical compliance work. The course will be tailored towards participants who are responsible for establishing or leading the compliance risk unit within their administration. It will include coverage of theoretical concepts at the beginning of each module and then follow these by practical examples for course participants to undertake. The course will cover the following main topics:

  •  What is risk management and why is risk based management important
  • Undertaking intelligence gathering
  •  Risk differentiation
  • Mitigating risks through a compliance improvement program
  • Development by each administration of plans to implement a risk register and adopt risk differentiation

This online course, presented by the ICD and the IMF Fiscal Affairs, Research, Monetary and Capital Markets, and Strategy, Policy, and Review Departments, in collaboration with the World Bank, provides a comprehensive overview of the IMF-World Bank frameworks for debt sustainability analysis and debt management.
The modular course may lead to earning a signed certificate for the entire course or one or several modules may be audited separately. The modules cover

  • key concepts of debt sustainability and the role of macroeconomic policies;
  • debt sustainability for countries with access to financial markets;
  • debt sustainability for low-income countries;
  • a Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy (MTDS) framework; and
  • debt sustainability analysis (DSA) when there is economic uncertainty.

This course is a prerequisite for selected face-to-face Fiscal Sustainability (FS) courses and is strongly recommended for others. Please see individual face-to-face course listings for details. In general, successful completion of an online course will be viewed favorably when applying to face-to-face ICD courses at headquarters or regional centers.

This online course, presented by the ICD, the IMF Capital Markets Department, and the World Bank, provides an overview of debt sustainability and debt management strategies for countries with access to concessional debt. The course introduces the basic principles of debt sustainability, the IMF-World Bank frameworks for Debt Sustainability Analysis in Low-Income Countries, and the Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy (MTDS). The course adapts three of the five modules of the original Debt Sustainability Analysis (DSAx) course in English to the issues facing low-income countries. The expected workload for this course is 6-9 hours per week.

This course is a prerequisite for selected face-to-face Fiscal Sustainability (FS) courses and is strongly recommended for others. Please see individual face-to-face course listings for details. In general, successful completion of an online course will be viewed favorably when applying to face-to-face ICD courses at headquarters or regional centers.

This course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, offers participants a more extensive exposure to fiscal issues and the macroeconomic effects of fiscal policy than is possible in a standard course on Financial Programming and Policies. Separate lectures are devoted to fiscal accounts and analysis, fiscal forecasting, fiscal sustainability, how the fiscal sector relates to the rest of the economy, fiscal dimensions in financial programming, and governance and fiscal risk management issues. 

Workshops take up about half the course time. These cover fiscal accounting and analysis, fiscal forecasting and sustainability, and design of a fiscal baseline for a case study country.

This course, presented by the Institute for Capacity Development, starts by reviewing the role of government and the objectives of fiscal policy; revisits essential macrofiscal tools and methodologies; and identifies a country’s fiscal framework as the set of institutions that design and conduct fiscal policy. The course stresses the need for high-quality information, transparency, and responsibility in order to hold governments accountable for their medium- to long-term fiscal objectives. The course concludes with thematic presentations by participants.

This course, presented by the Institute for Capacity Development, provides an overview of the concepts and techniques used to analyze how fiscal policy can help ensure macroeconomic stability and sustainable long-term growth. This hands-on course is built around the core macrofiscal topics needed to analyze fiscal policy. The learning units include general empirical findings, Microsoft Excel-based workshops, case studies, and selected topics of regional interest. The course will be of interest to officials who wish to better understand how fiscal policy can affect the economy and the related tools of analysis.

The course will discuss good practices in compilation, consolidation of accounting data for fiscal reporting; and chart of accounts. It will also briefly discuss the Government Accounting Statistics framework and Public Sector Debt Statistics.

This workshop, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, provides an intermediate-level approach to gender budgeting, drawing on the IMF’s Public Financial Management (PFM) framework.

Gender equality is on the government’s policy agenda in many countries. As the budget system is a primary policy instrument, it can play a central role in implementing governments’ gender policies and goals.

The workshop will help countries to: (i) develop a deeper understanding of gender budgeting practices and their integration with each stage of the PFM cycle; (ii) apply this to participant country practices through workshops; (iii) initiate a dialogue among participating countries on the design and implementation of gender budgeting initiatives and practices, with the objective of learning lessons and improving the impact of these initiatives. Participants will be invited to explain specific practices in their own countries, assess their own and other countries’ challenges, and propose solutions.

It also brings together government representatives from various agencies – including gender policy coordination units ministries of finance, and ministries of other specific sectors  – as well as regional experts supporting gender budget initiatives, such as UN Women.

This one week course presented by the IMF Fiscal Affairs Department, is designed to learn and discuss good practices and their application in treasury, cash and debt management in SARTTAC countries.

The International Survey on Revenue Administration (ISORA) is a partnership between the Inter-American Center of Tax Administration (CIAT), the Intra-European Organisation of Tax Administrations (IOTA), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The first survey, launched in 2016, was completed by 135 tax administration, and the survey data is now accessible for participating jurisdictions on a secured online database.

This course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, examines the role of strong fiscal institutions and fiscal governance in ensuring fiscal sustainability. Drawing on international country experiences, it covers three main areas: medium-term budgetary frameworks (MTBFs), fiscal rules, and fiscal councils. Regarding MTBF, the course discusses how a medium-term perspective in budgeting can improve fiscal discipline and expenditure control, and the preconditions and elements for effective MTBFs, including their relationship with fiscal rules. With respect to fiscal rules, the course reviews the pros and cons of different types of fiscal rules and how to select, design, and calibrate them to balance fiscal sustainability and macroeconomic stabilization objectives.

The course also explores how fiscal councils might help strengthen fiscal performance, support fiscal rules, review trends, and disseminate best practices.

This online course, presented by the IMF Fiscal Affairs Department, provides an overview of PFM systems, institutions, and capacity building in developing and emerging market economies. It focuses on PFM issues in support of macroeconomic stability, inclusive growth, and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The training covers a wide range of topics, and treats PFM as an integrated system rather than a collection of specialties. As such, it focuses on PFM priorities, reform objectives and implementation risks. The course is built on conceptual and practical approaches, and includes testimonies from ministers of finance, practitioners, and other stakeholders from many countries.

This online course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, provides instruction on how to prepare and execute VAT gap estimation model (VGEM) of the IMF’s Revenue Administration Gap Analysis Program (RA-GAP).

This course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, explores recent developments in subsidy spending on fuel products, their macroeconomic impact, and the environmental and social implications. Building on country-specific case studies, the course elaborates on key elements of successful reforms, such as measures to protect low-income groups adversely affected by lower subsidies. The course also disseminates tools for measuring subsidies and assessing the distributional impact as well as alternative fuel pricing mechanisms that can help smooth the transmission of international fuel prices to domestic prices while protecting the budget. Participants may be asked to make presentations on their own country’s experience in setting fuel prices and reforming subsidies.

This online course, presented by the Institute for Capacity Development and the Fiscal Affairs Department, focuses on the technical and institutional aspects of revenue forecasting and tax policy analysis. It provides an overview of the quantitative methods that are required to forecast and evaluate the revenue implications of changes in major taxes, namely personal income taxes, corporate income taxes, value added taxes, excise taxes, and international trade taxes. The course also emphasizes the necessity of establishing a strong institutional framework to support the revenue forecasting process.

The course builds on both conceptual and practical approaches and employs hands-on activities to support learning, which includes quizzes and quantitative exercises with real fiscal data.

This course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, provides an overview of the impact of labor taxation and social protection systems on employment outcomes in advanced and emerging European countries, with an emphasis on reform options and associated tradeoffs. Boosting employment is a priority in many advanced and emerging European economies, where labor markets are often constrained by demographic trends, low labor-force participation (particularly among females and young people), and weak productivity growth. Undeclared work remains a significant challenge, leaving many individuals without social protection and reducing revenue collection. For these reasons, many governments are considering reducing labor taxation to boost employment and reduce the size of undeclared work. This, in turn, generates financing needs for social protection systems, particularly in contexts where such systems must be strengthened to provide adequate support to workers and households at scale.

This course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, examines the role of fiscal institutions, such as medium-term fiscal frameworks, top-down budgeting, medium-term budgeting, cash and debt management, independent fiscal institutions, and budget comprehensiveness, and how each promotes fiscal discipline.

This course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, examines the role of fiscal institutions in budget management and in the identification and management of fiscal risks. It discusses key institutions that help governments better understand the types, scale, and probability that the risks confronting them will materialize, and explores how governments can make the necessary institutional arrangements to mitigate many of these risks. It also examines the extent to which identification and quantification of risks can help promote fiscal transparency. The course discusses the Fiscal Affairs Department’s standards and tools related to fiscal institutions and management of fiscal risks, such as the Fiscal Transparency Code, Fiscal Transparency Evaluation, Public Investment Management Assessment (PIMA), PPP-Fiscal Risk Evaluation (P-FRAM) and fiscal stress test, as well as IMF research from the Analyzing and Managing Fiscal Risks paper on identifying, analyzing, and managing fiscal risks.

The training workshop, presentated by the TADAT Secretariat,  consists of presentations explaining (i) the design principle and purpose; (ii) the scoring methodology for each of the performance areas and indicators based on the TADAT Field Guide; (iii) the pre-assessment, assessment, and post-assessment phases of a TADAT diagnostic; and (iv) how a good PAR should be written.

In addition, there are discussion sessions where practice exercises and case studies mimicking real life situations are discussed. Finally, a one-hour TADAT online exam is conducted. Those who pass the exam (75% correct response) get a TADAT certificate. Participants with some international experience, can be invited to participate in conducting TADAT assessment in any other country.

TADAT provides a 360-degree diagnostic of the performance of a tax administration using nine performance areas which contain 28 indicators. The performance assessment should first be used at the national, system-wide level, to identify the key weaknesses and strengths that are generic to the entire tax administration as a whole. Thereafter, especially in a large country like India with a federal structure, regional variations can be identified by conducting guided assessments at the regional level to identify specific weaknesses in different regions.

This course, presented by the Fiscal Affairs Department, is designed to broaden participants’ knowledge of the main challenges governments face  in designing, administering, and monitoring a modern tax system. It briefly outlines the theoretical underpinnings of tax policymaking and discusses in detail its practice and implementation with an emphasis on the region the course is directed to. Participants are encouraged to share their experiences and develop strategies to improve their tax systems and how they are implemented and administered. Through lectures and workshops, the course:

  • Provides an overview of policy design principles and their implications for tax administration—establishing linkages between tax policy and administration and showing how functions feed into one another;
  • Reviews design issues for major taxes that form modern tax systems (e.g., broad-based consumption and income taxes, property taxes, and small business tax regimes) and discusses approaches to tax policymaking in specific economic and institutional settings, such as resource-rich countries and countries in economic blocs/customs unions;
  • Discusses the organization and operations of tax administrations and the management of tax compliance, drawing on experiences within and beyond the region.
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IMF's Fiscal Training Curriculum

by Andrea Lemgruber
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