Guidance

Join the HMRC graduate programme (Tax Professional)

Find out about HMRC's graduate recruitment programme, the selection process, and how to apply for the 2022 programme.

Applications for the 2022 Tax Specialist Programme have now closed.

About us

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) plays a vital part in our society and economy.

We are the UK’s tax and customs authority. Our purpose is to collect the money that pays for the country’s public services and helps families and individuals with targeted financial support.

Our work funds schools and hospitals, builds roads and infrastructure and supports communities and the economy – so we need everyone to pay the tax that is legally due, no matter who they are.

With around 60,000 employees serving 45 million customers, HMRC is a major government department which offers a broad range of career paths and possibilities for tax professionals. Our Tax Specialist Programme (TSP) typically leads to work as a generalist tax professional or specialist in technical or investigative work.

In the 2021 TARGET jobs awards we were shortlisted for the most popular graduate recruiter in the banking, insurance and financial services sector and the public sector. HMRC is 41st in the list of the UK’s 300 top graduate employers.

 Join us for a specialist career in tax

Our Tax Specialist Programme: a gateway to the tax profession

High-potential graduates who join our Tax Specialist Programme will get the chance to become part of a highly-trained group of tax professionals who tackle the most challenging aspects of tax work in HMRC.

The tax profession offers 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?

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 3.5 to 4-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

Training - what to expect

This is an intensive programme lasting around 3.5 to 4 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.

Michael’s story

What will successful trainees be doing?

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 and challenging the tax liabilities of a range of businesses, helping customers get their tax right, and negotiating with those who dispute their legal obligations.

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

You will be supported throughout the programme and given real responsibility early on which may include leading a team.

Your programme will include:

  • 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. 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 within teams and building on that experience to develop and demonstrate leaderships 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.

The programme can be completed on part time hours and the minimum number of hours recommended would be 30 hours per week.

If you would like more information on this, or have other general enquiries please email us.

Locations, pay and benefits

2022 TSP locations will be as follows:

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

Pay

This role is at Higher Officer (HO) grade and the current pay ranges at the time of this publication are:

  • national HO pay range: £33,080 to £35,977
  • London HO pay range: £37,606 to £40,911

Substantive Senior Officer (SO) staff are welcome to apply and will if successful retain their grade and pay up to the maximum of the SO pay ranges:

  • national SO pay range: £40,175 to £43,708
  • London SO pay range: £43,432 to £47,243

From the 1 June 2022 the pay ranges will be:

  • national HO pay range: £34,404 to £36,985
  • London HO pay range: £39,111 to £42,057
  • national SO pay range: £41,782 to £44,932
  • London SO pay range: £45,170 to £48,566

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

You will remain at Higher Officer grade throughout the period of the programme and on successful completion of the programme you will be promoted to a Grade 7 post as a senior tax professional. The starting salary for this grade from 1 June 2022 is £52,598 (National) and £59,182 (London).

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

Benefits

To help us make HMRC a great place to work, we provide a competitive package of benefits and rewards. As well as basic pay, HMRC colleagues enjoy access to a range of services as well as membership in highly competitive pension schemes. There’s access to free, 24-hour health and wellbeing advice, the opportunity to join civil service charities and sports clubs, and the option to join a paid healthcare plan.

With HMRC, you can access a wide range of employee discounts and help you spread the cost of your travel season ticket. We offer charitable payroll giving, access to regular sight tests and the opportunity to join one of two trade unions.

It’s not just about pay here: HMRC offers real and practical support where and when you need it. Find out more on this page about what we offer including leave allowances, rewards for great performance and our commitment to help you achieve a healthy work/life balance.

Eligibility

You must have a 2:2 degree or equivalent (level 6) at application stage, or the expectation of a 2:2 degree or equivalent (level 6) before September 2022. Civil servants who do not meet the academic qualification can apply if you were recruited through fair and open competition and have passed your probation period before September 2022.

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)

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals from the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals

Further information on nationality 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.

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.

How to apply, and the selection process

All civil servants are appointed on merit through fair and open competition in line with the Civil Service Commission: Recruitment Principals. 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.

Watch our video ‘A commitment to diversity – blind recruitment’:

A commitment to diversity – blind recruitment

The application process has 3 stages. After the video interview, individual merit lists will be created for each location advertised within the vacancy. If you are successful at video interview, you will be placed on the merit list for an invitation to an assessment centre for any locations you have expressed an interest for and will only be considered for appointment in those locations. Appointments from each merit list will be made in strict merit order.

Applications must be made through the CS Jobs site. We do not accept CV’s

The application has 3 stages.

Stage 1: application and on-line tests

Applications for the programme closed on 19 November 2021. The deadline for completing all 3 online tests was 11.30am on 23 November 2021.

If you meet the minimum standard for the verbal reasoning test, you will be invited to take the civil service numerical test.

If you meet the minimum standard for the numerical test, you will be invited to take the civil service judgement test.

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

After the test deadline, we will look at all applicant scores on the verbal, numerical and judgement tests to decide the job’s pass mark. We will consider the impact on protected groups, and the number of invitations to the next stage. You will be informed, if you have passed or failed at the raised standard.

Meeting the minimum test requirements for a job level is no guarantee of an invitation to continue the selection process. We will consider the impact on protected groups, and the number of invitations to the next stage.

Stage 2: 10 December to 17 December 2021

If you have been successful you will be invited to take a video interview. Further details will be provided with your invitation.

Stage 3: February 2022

The assessment will be through a virtual assessment centre and full details will be provided with your invitation.

Repeat applications

You cannot re-apply for the same year’s intake if you fail at any stage of the application process. Any second application will be flagged as a duplicate and removed from the system.

You can however apply again for the TSP programme the following year.

Candidates requiring assistance

We want to make sure no one is put at a disadvantage during our recruitment process because of a disability, condition or impairment. To assist you with this, we will reduce or remove any barriers where possible and provide additional support where appropriate. Please see our Disability Matters: How we can support you during our selection process booklet for more details.

You can also watch the below video to see how Ruth successfully went through the selection process and is now on the course.

Watch Ruth’s story:

Ruth’s story on YouTube

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 hearing impaired, you may need a Language Service Professional

Disability Confident Scheme

HMRC operates a Disability Confident Scheme (DCS). Candidates who tick the DCS box will be invited to take the video interview if they meet the minimum standard at stage 1.

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

Personal email address

We will email you throughout the recruitment process with updates and outcomes. We strongly recommend that you use your own personal email address as we will send emails with private information about your results.

Other Tax Professional posts in HMRC

Where candidates perform well in the application process but fall short of the required standard for the TSP, we may offer opportunities for Officer roles. If this is the case, you will be given more detail about potential roles and asked to register your interest towards the beginning of 2022.

The Tax Specialist Programme will start in September 2022.

Published 27 February 2013
Last updated 19 October 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated with information about how to apply for the 2022 programme.

  2. Page updated for opening of applications for the 2021 programme.

  3. Added link to application page for the internship scheme.

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

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

  6. Applications have now closed.

  7. Updated GIS information.

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

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

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

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

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

  13. Amended application dates for the 2016 programme

  14. Updated to include details for the 2016 programme

  15. Added links to the How to Apply section

  16. Updated information on page for September 2014.

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

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

  19. Added locations.

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

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

  22. Updated to include details for the 2014 programme

  23. First published.