Join the HMRC Graduate Programme (Tax Professional)

Find out about HMRC's graduate recruitment programme, the selection process, and how to apply for the 2019 programme.

Applications for the 2019 programme closed on 3 December 2018.

With almost 60,000 employees, more than £600 billion revenue and around 45 million customers, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is a major government department with serious responsibilities.

HMRC’s work and the revenue it collects touches the lives of every adult and business in the UK, from students and single mothers to the largest multi-national corporations. HMRC is the business that helps keep the UK working. As such, HMRC is in a league of its own.

We are the UK’s tax, payments and customs authority and we have a vital purpose: we collect the money that pays for the UK’s public services and help families and individuals with targeted financial support.

The work that HMRC does is vital for the UK economy.

We help the honest majority to get their tax right and make it hard for the dishonest minority to cheat the system.

We do this by being impartial and increasingly effective and efficient in our administration.

We need people with the potential to become part of the highly trained cadre of tax professionals who tackle the most challenging aspects of tax work in HMRC. The Tax Specialist Programme exists to identify and develop these people.

The diversity of the work at HMRC calls for a range of tax professionals and offers a broad range of career paths and possibilities.

HMRC’s Tax Specialist Programme (TSP) leads to work as a generalist tax professional or specialist in technical or investigative work.

The programme is structured to identify and develop your potential, ensuring you’re ready to take up a senior tax position when you complete the programme, which takes around 3 years.

Along the way, as you’re gaining experience and confidence through early responsibility, supported by mentoring, advice and supervision to gain tax professional qualifications, you’ll enjoy a competitive salary. At the end of the programme, you can specialise and move around HMRC to build on your experience.

You’ll learn to deal with complex tax cases, confidently negotiate with customers and their professional advisers, and lead and influence teams.

In 2013 to 2014, students voted HMRC as the best graduate recruiter in the banking, insurance and financial services sector. In 2018, HMRC was placed 34th in the Guardian UK 300 top graduate employers.

Join us on Facebook for more information or to ask us a question about the programme.

HMRC Tax Professional Development Programme

Graduate Programme (Tax Professionals)

The work that HMRC does is vital for the UK economy. We need people with the potential to become part of the highly trained cadre of tax professionals who tackle the most challenging aspects of tax work in HMRC. The Tax Specialist Programme exists to identify and develop these people.

The Tax Professional role

Tax is a complex business offering a varied and stimulating range of career pathways and opportunities to specialise - for example, in international and corporation tax, investigation, fraud, tax policy or as a manager, technical specialist or consultant.

Eventually you’ll find your own niche, but along the way you will learn how to:

  • resolve tax disputes
  • lead teams
  • deal with senior business figures and allied professionals (such as lawyers and accountants)
  • tackle complex tax work

The Tax Specialist Programme is particularly suitable for people who are enthusiastic about:

  • dealing with people
  • tackling complex issues
  • using their intellect and solving problems
  • investigating and finding out how businesses function
  • analysing and interpreting information
  • persuasive communication: influencing, negotiating and challenging

Roles are as diverse as HMRC’s work - you could find yourself:

  • making ‘site’ visits and interviewing directors, their lawyers and accountants
  • negotiating settlements and resolving tax disputes
  • representing HMRC at Appeal Tribunals
  • investigating fraud
  • working as a consultant, offering specialist advice to teams across the business
  • leading your own teams of tax professionals
  • considering and agreeing the application of tax statute and case law
  • taking responsibility for managing the relationship between HMRC and key businesses and their advisers

The programme is designed to give you a broad insight into the range of the tax work HMRC undertakes. It’s the perfect foundation for a wide-ranging career, and offers the opportunity to find your way as you develop. HMRC will encourage and support you in exploring and developing your own particular skills and knowledge.

What are we looking for?

For the Tax Specialist Programme you must have a 2:2 degree or equivalent at application stage, or the expectation of a 2:2 degree or equivalent before September 2019. Existing Civil Servants can apply without a degree.

Read more on the full eligibility criteria.

We’re looking for people who demonstrate enthusiasm, and are

  • independent thinkers who can confidently express their views and make decisions
  • strong analytical thinkers and problem solvers who can work out what needs to be done and take pride in doing it to completion
  • committed, with determination and resilience, to complete an intensive 3-year training programme
  • team players who can also exercise their initiative
  • adaptable to shifts in business focus and the needs of HMRC’s customers, so people they deal with have no doubt about their integrity and professionalism, because everything HMRC does must be above suspicion and comply with the Civil Service Code

All civil servants are appointed on merit through fair and open competition. The selection process will consider your attitude, capability, talent and willingness to learn. If appointed you will be and are expected to carry out your role with dedication and a commitment to the Civil Service and its core values: integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality.

Training - what to expect

This is an intensive programme lasting around 3 years. It’s designed to equip you with both technical (tax) knowledge and the professional skills you will need to apply that knowledge when dealing with your customers.

The tax technical element is delivered by HMRC’s Tax Academy. It is a well-recognised and highly successful programme delivered by tax professionals who understand the work and can put the learning into context. It is split into 2 stages.

Stage 1 provides you with a broad foundation of knowledge and skills across different areas of tax.

Stage 2 deepens your tax knowledge and also builds your broader professional skills and other competences that HMRC needs from its future tax professional leaders. During this time, you will be working towards gaining a BA (Hons) degree in Professional Studies in Taxation. Please note that the way in which we deliver this tax technical element of the programme is currently under review and may change.

Throughout, you will be working with and learning from an experienced team, and your responsibility will increase in line with your knowledge and confidence. Before you know it, you’ll be carrying out interviews and site visits, and perhaps even leading a team.

Your programme will include:

  • practical work experience in teams, on live assignments
  • self-study modules
  • tutor-led sessions at one of our training centres
  • ongoing exams and practical work assessments designed to build up your knowledge of tax law and practice
  • regular reviews and appraisals

The programme has a modular structure, each one commonly lasting between 2 to 4 months. You will have to demonstrate your application of acquired knowledge and skills in the workplace and there is often a formal exam at the completion of a module. Your manager will also monitor and assess your performance throughout.

On successful completion of the programme, you will be promoted to a Grade 7 post as a senior tax professional. You might take on a technical/investigative role, a customer relationship manager role or be involved in formulating tax policy. Wherever you find yourself, you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills essential to deal with anything from international issues or large companies to fraud, policy development or managing cases.

The programme can be completed on part time hours and the minimum number of hours recommended would be 30 hours per week. Successful candidates will be able to discuss their preferred working patterns with their manager. We are also hoping to offer a longer, more flexible programme for those with alternative working patterns, incorporating alternative delivery options. If you would like more information on this, or have any other general enquiries please email


2019 Tax Specialist Programme locations will be as follows:

  • Belfast
  • Birmingham
  • Bristol
  • Cardiff
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Leeds
  • Liverpool
  • London (Greater)
  • London (Central)
  • Manchester
  • Newcastle
  • Nottingham


For Tax Specialist Programme you must have a 2:2 degree or equivalent at application stage, or the expectation of a 2:2 degree or equivalent by September 2019.

Existing Civil Servants can apply without a degree.

Nationality and immigration

The HMRC Tax Specialist Programme is open to applicants who are:

  • European Economic Area (EEA) nationals, including British citizens
  • Commonwealth citizens
  • Swiss nationals
  • in some circumstances, Turkish nationals

Right to work requirement

In addition to the nationality requirement, you must have the right to work in the UK.

Eligibility requirements are explained in more detail in the Civil Service nationality rules and you can check visa requirements using the UK visa checker

HMRC is not able to sponsor applications for UK government visas associated with these jobs.

How to apply, and the selection process

Applications have now closed - the closing date was 3 December 2018.

First, you’ll need to complete an application form. Following that, the selection process has 3 stages.

Application form

Applications must be made through the civil service jobs site. We do not accept CV’s.

The application form asks for personal information such as National Insurance number and contact details. If successful, HMRC will also require a full employment history for the past 3 years (including dates) as well as referee contact details (you will be sent a link with an offer).

You don’t need to complete the application all at once as you are able to save any information you have entered and log in at a later stage to complete it. However, we recommend completing them as soon as possible so that we can provide IT support if necessary.

Stage 1

Once you have completed your application form you will be invited to complete a verbal reasoning test. If successful, you will be invited to take a numerical reasoning test and if successful you will be invited to take a civil service judgement test.

If you meet the minimum standard on the civil service judgement test, your application will be put on hold for further consideration.

Stage 2

If successful at Stage 1, you will be invited to undertake an online video interview. Specific details about the interview will be given to you as part of the invitation.

Stage 3

A one-day assessment from midday to midday between 4 February to 1 March 2019 at one of the following venues:

  • Warwick Conference Centre, Coventry
  • Lawress Hall, Lincoln

Full information will be given nearer the time.


Our recruitment process is underpinned by the principle of appointment on the basis of fair and open competition and appointment on merit, as outlined in the Civil Service Commissioners’ Recruitment Principles.

If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with these principles and you wish to make a complaint, you should in the first instance contact HMRC by post or by email:

TSP Graduate Recruitment
Fitzroy House
Castle Meadow Road


If you’re not satisfied with the response you receive, you can contact the Civil Service Commission, which regulates all Civil Service recruitment.

Rehabilitation of offenders

HMRC has an exemption under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions order 1975). 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.

Declaring a criminal conviction will not necessarily prevent you from being successful in your application for this particular programme, but it may exclude you from applying for other posts within the department.

Personal email address

All of HMRC’s communication with you will be by email. We strongly recommend that you use your own personal email address as we will send emails with private information about your results.

If you experience problems with the tests

Pop-up blockers and security settings can prevent the tests from loading, moving to the next page, submitting or freezing. It is therefore essential that you adjust your computer settings to allow the test to run properly.

HMRC has a technical support guide which can help you. You can find this on the log-in page. This is where you input your user name and log in details.

Before logging in, you will notice a column on the left-hand side with various links. By clicking on the FAQ link, you can read guidance on problems you may come across while completing the tests and solutions to these problems.

Each section offers tips on how to solve the problem and will ask you if this helps. If you work your way through each of the possible solutions and you still have problems, there is an enquiry form which you can send to HMRC’s technical support team.

If you encounter problems at the last minute, we won’t have time to offer much technical assistance. Therefore, we recommend you complete the application as soon as possible. Do not wait to apply the day before the deadline, as we will not be able to help.

Candidates requiring assistance

If you require assistance during the recruitment process please contact the Government Recruitment Service as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs.

Complete the ‘Assistance required’ section in the ‘Additional requirements’ page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need during the recruitment process.

Guaranteed Interview Scheme

HMRC operates a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS). Candidates who tick the GIS box will be invited to take the video interview if they meet the minimum standard at stage 1.

Please also remember to tick the GIS and/or Help Required boxes on your application form if you are applying under the GIS and/or seeking additional support.

Repeat applications

If at any stage your application is rejected, you cannot re-apply. If you try and submit a second application, HMRC’s system will flag this up to their recruitment team as a duplicate application and you will be automatically barred from progressing with this.

You may also not be able to apply for any new campaigns for a while.

Other Tax Professional posts in HMRC

Where candidates perform well in the application process, but fall short of the required standard for the Band T posts, we may offer opportunities for Officer grade roles. You will be given more detail about potential roles and asked to register your interest in these roles towards the beginning of 2019.

Pay and benefits

Training pay scales at June 2018

Area Pay Minimum Pay Maximum
National £30,260 * £40,930
London £34,400 * £44,240

*Trainees joining from outside the Civil Service start on the minimum.

If you are successful and complete the programme, you will be promoted to a Grade 7 post. This is an important, senior role in HMRC. The current pay scale for a Grade 7 in HMRC begins at £50,010 (National), £56,270 (London).

Read more about the benefits of working for HMRC.

Internship scheme

We will not be running an internship scheme for 2019.

Published 27 February 2013
Last updated 12 November 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect the application dates and new information for the 2019 graduate programme.
  2. Applications have now closed.
  3. Updated GIS information.
  4. Updated with this year's key dates and information.
  5. Amended to reflect that the current application process has now closed.
  6. Updated to reflect the application dates and new information for the 2017 programme.
  7. Added links to the Tax Specialist Programme (Graduate) 2016 and Internship Tax Specialist Programme 2016 on Civil Service Jobs.
  8. Amended application dates and added locations for the 2016 programme
  9. Amended application dates for the 2016 programme
  10. Updated to include details for the 2016 programme
  11. Added links to the How to Apply section
  12. Updated information on page for September 2014.
  13. Updates to reflect the Tax Specialist Programme (TSP), previously called TPDP, which forms part of the campaign to promote the 2015 Campaign.
  14. Added the line "The scheme will reopen for applications in September 2014".
  15. Added locations.
  16. Updated to include the closing date for applications of 29 November 2013
  17. Updated to include further information on the 2013/14 Programme
  18. Updated to include details for the 2014 programme
  19. First published.