Senior tax professionals work at HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to make sure that organisations and individuals pay the correct amount of tax at the right time.

They are responsible for detecting and investigating tax evasion and, in disputed cases, will represent HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) at independent appeal tribunals.

The role also involves offering information and advice to individuals, businesses and organisations on a range of tax and related issues.

HMRC collects and administers taxes so that there is enough money to pay for the UK's public services and to help families and individuals who need financial support.

Responsibilities

The work is diverse and intellectually stimulating and includes early responsibility. Senior tax professionals investigate the accuracy of tax returns and accounts submitted to HMRC.

Tasks include:

  • applying tax legislation to companies, partnerships, organisations and individuals;
  • examining accounts and researching background material;
  • investigating fraud;
  • giving expert advice on taxation matters to companies, partnerships, organisations and individuals;
  • negotiating tax settlements with taxpayers and their accountants or solicitors;
  • representing HMRC at independent appeal tribunals in disputed cases.

In cases that result in a full enquiry, the following activities may also be carried out:

  • inspecting the finances of a business to find out exactly how it operates;
  • reviewing, in detail, aspects of the business accounts to ensure that tax law has been applied correctly;
  • examining the records kept and considering factors such as the lifestyle of the proprietor or board directors;
  • visiting business premises and meeting people face-to-face during the investigation;
  • presenting a case, both written and in person, to the taxpayer or their professional advisers, accountants or lawyers.

Salary

  • The starting salaries for recruits joining the HMRC Tax Professional Graduate Programme is £27,045 nationally and £29,256 in London.
  • Upon successful completion of the intensive four-year training programme, you can expect to move into a senior tax professional post. The pay band at this level starts at £47,218 nationally, £53,196 in London.

Subject to the restrictions of any pay freeze in place, trainees can receive pay rises and promotions while on the graduate programme.

Income figurse are intended as a guide only.

Working hours

Long working hours are occasionally required. Flexible working hours are widely available. Part-time work, job-share and term-time only working are potentially available, as are special leave and career breaks. Maternity, adoption and paternity leave are also available.

What to expect

  • Work is mostly carried out in the office but it is also necessary to visit a variety of business premises as part of the job.
  • An equal opportunities policy is practised in both recruitment and promotion.
  • Although mobility is a condition of employment, it may be possible to complete your working career in the same geographical location.
  • There are HMRC offices in most major towns and cities throughout the UK. Successful applicants are based within one of the larger HMRC offices for the duration of the training programme, offering access to most functions within their business. Flexibility on location is important.
  • Posts involve working on your own initiative and exercising judgement and discretion.
  • There are some restrictions on political activity.
  • There is no formal dress code, but smart casual is the accepted norm and you need to bear in mind that when meeting the public you are representing a government department.
  • While on the training programme, travel to a training centre on a weekly basis may be necessary. Once in post, travel within a working day is common.
  • Absence from home overnight is occasionally needed, but overseas work or travel is uncommon.

Qualifications

The HMRC Tax Professional Graduate Programme is designed to provide a broad insight into the range of work undertaken by HMRC and is the foundation for a career as a senior tax professional.

The minimum academic qualification for entry is a 2:2 honours degree in any subject (or equivalent), or if applying as an internal candidate, the ability to demonstrate the required competences.

Competition for the programme is tough. There are three stages to the application process. Stage one consists of an online application form. Stage two consists of a series of numerical, verbal reasoning and psychometric tests. On successful completion of these tests, applicants move on to stage three, a one-day assessment centre in February/March.

Applicants need to be European Economic Area (EEA) nationals (including British citizens), Commonwealth citizens, Swiss nationals or, in some circumstances, Turkish nationals.

Applicants who are successful in reaching the interview stage of the recruitment process will be asked to declare details of any criminal convictions, including spent convictions and cautions, to allow basic security checks to be completed. This won't necessarily prevent you from being successful in your application for the TPGP, but it may exclude you from applying for other posts within the department.

Full details on how to apply and deadline dates are available on the HMRC website.

A postgraduate qualification is not needed.

Skills

You will need to show:

  • communication skills;
  • independent thinking;
  • analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • the ability to make decisions and to articulate and express views confidently and democratically;
  • teamworking and the ability to contribute positively to a team dynamic, as well as the ability to exercise initiative;
  • planning and organising skills;
  • openness to change, with the ability to adapt and respond positively to shifts in business focus and customer needs;
  • a customer-focused approach to work.

Work experience

Pre-entry experience in taxation is not necessary. The selection process looks at your capabilities and potential. Emphasis is placed on the competences required, examples of which are sought throughout the selection process, and which are drawn from all areas of life.

HMRC runs an eight-week internship programme open to students in their penultimate year of study who expect to achieve a minimum 2:2 degree in any subject. The graduate-level placement provides an insight into the role of a tax professional and includes structured training, mentoring and supervision.

Employers

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK's tax authority and is responsible for collecting billions of pounds in tax from UK businesses and individuals, and for administering National Insurance and student loans, as well as ensuring compliance with the National Minimum Wage.

HMRC recruits applicants on to the HMRC Tax Professional Graduate Programme from which successful applicants go on to develop a career as a senior tax professional. Staff work in a variety of locations throughout the UK.

Look for job vacancies at:

Get more tips on how to find a job, create a successful CV and cover letter, and prepare for interviews.

Professional development

The HMRC Tax Professional Graduate Programme usually lasts four years and prepares graduates to:

  • deal with complex tax cases;
  • negotiate confidently with customers and their professional advisers;
  • lead and influence teams.

The aim of the programme is to provide a broad insight into the range of work undertaken by HMRC. Trainees take on early responsibility and are supported by mentoring, advice and supervision to gain tax professional qualifications.

The programme's modular structure covers both technical tax issues and professional skills, such as communication. It is a mixture of practical work experience in teams, formal study days, tutor-led sessions, self-study, exams and practical assessments, with regular reviews and appraisals. Trainees are allocated mentors as well as supervisors.

The programme opens up many different career options and leads to a BA Hons Professional Studies and Taxation accredited by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

The training is intensive and trainees need to pass an exam on each module. A module usually lasts about three to four months.

On successful completion of the course, trainees become fully qualified senior tax professionals and are ready to assume either a technical/investigative role or a customer relationship management role.

Tax legislation is highly complex and contains a great amount of technical detail. Since it is constantly changing and increasing, senior tax professionals are expected to participate in continuing professional development (CPD). Spending time and effort beyond their initial training on updating their knowledge is considered part of the job role.

Career prospects

Successful completion of the HMRC Tax Professional Graduate Programme leads to a BA Hons Professional Studies and Taxation accredited by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and opens up many different career options as a senior tax professional within HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

For example, senior tax professionals may go on to work in the compliance office, dealing with fraud and prosecution work. Some go on to train and develop new senior tax professionals.

Another possibility is to go into tax policy advice work, advising the government on changes to the taxation regime.

There is also the option of moving into management, including project management.

The tax qualification is also recognised in the private sector.