Join the HMRC graduate programme (Tax Professional)

Find out about HMRC's graduate recruitment programme, the selection process, and how to apply for the 2020 programme.

The 2020 programme closed for applications on 12 November 2019.

With around 60,000 employees, more than £627 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.

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.

In the 2019 TARGET jobs awards HMRC was shortlisted for the most popular graduate recruiter in the banking, insurance and financial services sector and the public sector. In 2018, HMRC was placed 59th in The Guardian UK 300 top graduate employers.

Read more about the benefits of working for HMRC.

[Watch a YouTube video of HMRC Achievements in 2018 to 2019.

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. TSP 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

TSP 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 TSP you must have a 2:2 degree or equivalent at application stage, or the expectation of a 2:2 degree or equivalent before September 2020. Existing civil servants can apply without a degree.

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 of integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality.

Training - what to expect

This is an intensive programme lasting around 3 years. It’s designed to give you technical knowledge and professional skills you will need when dealing with customers.

Hear Michael’s story on how he’s developed his skills since starting the Tax Specialist Programme.

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.

You will be able to put this learning into practice with your own portfolio of compliance casework. This will involve checking the tax liabilities of a range of businesses, helping customers get their tax right, and challenging those who are not complying with their legal obligations.

Stage 2 deepens your tax knowledge and builds broader professional skills that HMRC needs from its tax professional leaders.

The programme typically involves a number of self-study modules supported by tutor-led training sessions at one of our training centres. These tutorials may involve some travel, and there will be a formal exam at the end of each module.

You will be given real responsibility early on. You will be carrying out interviews and site visits to check that the right tax is being paid and, perhaps, even leading a team

HMRC is currently exploring ways in which the programme may lead to an external qualification. Previously, successful completion of stage 2 has led to a BA (Honours) degree in Professional Studies in Taxation, but this currently under review.

Your programme will include:

  • modular study for exams in tax (study time is built into the programme although most trainees find they need to supplement this with further study in their own time, especially near exams)
  • practical work, including interviewing customers and challenging their tax returns.
  • working in teams and building on that experience to develop and demonstrate leadership skills
  • regular reviews and appraisals by your manager to ensure you are applying your tax learning in your practical work and that your performance is on line with the course requirements

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 us.


2020 TSP locations will be as follows:

  • Belfast
  • Birmingham
  • Bristol
  • Cardiff
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Leeds
  • Liverpool
  • London Stratford
  • London Croydon
  • Manchester
  • Newcastle
  • Nottingham


For the TSP you must have a 2:2 degree or equivalent at application stage, or the expectation of a 2:2 degree or equivalent by September 2020.

Existing civil servants can apply without a degree.

Nationality and immigration

You are eligible to apply for the TSP if you satisfy both the nationality and right to work/Immigration requirements.

Nationality requirements (Civil Service nationality rules)

You are eligible to apply if you are:

  • a British citizen
  • from the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • a Commonwealth citizen
  • Swiss national
  • Turkish national, in some circumstances

Nationality requirements are explained in more detail in the Civil Service nationality rules.

Right to work and immigration requirements

You must have the right to work in the UK and meet the Immigration and Visa requirements on the GOV.UK Visas and Immigration page.


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

How to apply, and the selection process

Applications for the 2020 programme closed on 12 November 2019.

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

Applications must be made through the Civil Service jobs site. We do not accept CVs.

Stage 1: online tests

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: video interview

If successful at Stage 1, you will be invited to undertake an online video interview where your answers to a series of pre-set questions will be recorded and evaluated by a trained assessor. Full information will be given as part of your video interview invite.

You will need to complete your video interview between 25 November and 9 December 2019.

Stage 3: assessment centre

A one-day assessment at Warwick Conference Centre, Coventry, or Lawress Hall, Lincoln. The assessment day will run from midday to midday. There will be 56 assessment days between 3 February and 6 March 2020, and they will include:

  • a project management exercise
  • an analysis exercise
  • a group exercise
  • a role play exercise

A candidate pack will be sent to all attendees before their assessment.


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

You can also email us.

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 provisional offer 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.

Candidates requiring assistance

If someone with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes.

If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:

  • email 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 further on in the recruitment process. For example, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, you may need a Language Service Professional.

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.

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 Higher Officer roles or Officer roles. You will be given more detail about potential roles and asked to register your interest towards the beginning of 2020.

Pay and benefits

Training pay scales at June 2018

Area Pay minimum Pay maximum
National £30,880 * £41,683
London £35,105 * £45,054

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

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 £51,050 (national), £57,440 (London).

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

Applications for the 2020 programme closed on 12 November 2019.

Internship scheme

We will run an 8-week paid internship programme for penultimate year undergraduates in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Nottingham, Birmingham, Cardiff and Bristol.

Applications for the 2020 internship programme closed on 18 November 2019.

Published 27 February 2013
Last updated 10 October 2019 + show all updates
  1. Added link to application page for the internship scheme.

  2. Republished on day that 2020 scheme opens for applications and includes updates to the process.

  3. Updated to reflect the application dates and new information for the 2019 graduate programme.

  4. Applications have now closed.

  5. Updated GIS information.

  6. Updated with this year's key dates and information.

  7. Amended to reflect that the current application process has now closed.

  8. Updated to reflect the application dates and new information for the 2017 programme.

  9. Added links to the Tax Specialist Programme (Graduate) 2016 and Internship Tax Specialist Programme 2016 on Civil Service Jobs.

  10. Amended application dates and added locations for the 2016 programme

  11. Amended application dates for the 2016 programme

  12. Updated to include details for the 2016 programme

  13. Added links to the How to Apply section

  14. Updated information on page for September 2014.

  15. Updates to reflect the Tax Specialist Programme (TSP), previously called TPDP, which forms part of the campaign to promote the 2015 Campaign.

  16. Added the line "The scheme will reopen for applications in September 2014".

  17. Added locations.

  18. Updated to include the closing date for applications of 29 November 2013

  19. Updated to include further information on the 2013/14 Programme

  20. Updated to include details for the 2014 programme

  21. First published.