Join the HMRC Graduate Programme (Tax Professional)
Find out about HMRC's graduate recruitment programme, the selection process and how to apply.
With more than 58,500 employees, nearly £540 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 single 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 completely in a league of its own.
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 advisors and to 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 2016 to 2017 HMRC was placed 53rd in the Guardian UK 300 top graduate employers.
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Graduate Programme (Tax Professionals)
HMRC are looking for graduates who will have a 2.2 degree before September 2017 to join our Tax Specialist Programme.
The application process for this programme opened on 14 October 2016 and will close at midnight on 14 November 2016.
Successful applicants will start work on 7 September 2017.
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.
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 will 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 (eg lawyers and accountants) and how to 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 is HMRC looking for?
For Tax Specialist Programme you must have a 2:2 degree at application stage or the expectation of a 2:2 degree before September 2017.
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.
This is an intensive 3-year programme 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.
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 an externally accredited qualification.
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 around 2 or 3 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.
2016 Tax Specialist Programme locations will be as follows:
- London (Greater)
- London (Central)
Eligibility and selection process
For Tax Specialist Programme you must have a 2:2 degree at application stage or the expectation of a 2:2 degree at September 2017.
There are different eligibility criteria for applicants already working in HMRC or the Civil Service. Details are on the application form.
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
To be able to apply for HMRC’s Tax Specialist Pogramme you must have the UK government’s permission, in the form of a visa, to live and work in the UK for the entire duration of the programme (3 years). If you do not have the UK government’s permission, your application will be rejected.
HMRC is not able to sponsor applications for UK government visas associated with these jobs.
Read more information on the Civil Service nationality rules.
You will need to complete an application form, and the selection process has three stages.
The application form asks for personal information such as National Insurance number and contact details. HMRC also requires a full employment history for the past three years (including dates) as well as referee contact details. 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.
Once you have completed your application form you will be invited to complete a Civil Service Initial Sift Test and if successful you will be invited to take a verbal and numerical reasoning test.
You may be asked to take an online analytical skills test and a situational Judgement Test Specific details about these tests and any other online test will be given to you nearer the time. Stage 2 will open in December and full details will be made available via email.
A 1-day assessment from midday to midday from 6 February to 3 March 2017 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:
Tax Academy Recruitment
Castle Meadow Road
If you are 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.
How to apply
Applications for the programme are made through the Civil Service Jobs site.
Personal email address
All of HMRC’s communication with you will be by email. HMRC strongly recommends that you use your own personal email address as HMRC 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, HMRC 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
Please contact Civil Service Resourcing’s recruitment team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a disability or condition which may mean that you need help with the application form or online tests. The team will be able to discuss your needs and explain what help they can offer. If you feel you require extra time for the online tests, you will have to provide written evidence that this is necessary. The sooner you contact us the sooner we can help.
Guaranteed Interview Scheme
To meet its commitment as a disability symbol user, HMRC operates a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS). We do not hold interviews, so under our scheme a candidate will be guaranteed progression to stage 2 of the process if they meet the minimum required standard on the numerical and reasoning verbal test, while meeting the minimum criteria for the job.
Please also remember to tick the GIS and/or Help Required boxes on your application form pending whether you are applying under the GIS and/or seeking additional support.
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 at Higher Officer or Officer depending on their scores in earlier stages of the selection process. These roles will usually involve training as a tax professional, or in a related area of compliance work, which will be made clear in any offer.
Pay and benefits
Training pay scales at June 2014
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*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 role in HMRC. The current pay scale for a Grade 7 in HMRC begins at £48,389 pro-rata (National), £54,461 pro-rata (London).
Read more about the benefits of working for HMRC.
We will not be running an internship scheme for 2017.
Published: 27 February 2013
Updated: 14 October 2016
- Updated to reflect the application dates and new information for the 2017 programme.
- Added links to the Tax Specialist Programme (Graduate) 2016 and Internship Tax Specialist Programme 2016 on Civil Service Jobs.
- Amended application dates and added locations for the 2016 programme
- Amended application dates for the 2016 programme
- Updated to include details for the 2016 programme
- Added links to the How to Apply section
- Updated information on page for September 2014.
- Updates to reflect the Tax Specialist Programme (TSP), previously called TPDP, which forms part of the campaign to promote the 2015 Campaign.
- Added the line "The scheme will reopen for applications in September 2014".
- Added locations.
- Updated to include the closing date for applications of 29 November 2013
- Updated to include further information on the 2013/14 Programme
- Updated to include details for the 2014 programme
- First published.