Revenue and Customs officers work for HM Department of Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the department of the Civil Service which collects direct taxes as well as the indirect taxes levied on goods sold at home or brought into the country. They may be called by another title such as tax officer or investigations officer, depending on the area they specialise in.
You could be:
enforcing rules on tax on activities within the country (such as betting), on goods made in the country (such as whisky), and on goods imported and sold (such as petrol)
visiting traders, manufacturers and importers to check licences and accounts systems, that goods are as stated and correct levels of tax are paid
handling and maintaining stores of goods on which tax has not been paid
preparing information for government ministers and European officials.
You could be:
enforcing rules about Value Added Tax (VAT) paid on goods bought and sold within the country
visiting businesses to check that accounts are in order and that the correct amount of VAT tax is paid to, and claimed from, the government and to advise them on procedures
dealing with VAT-registered businesses which have become insolvent and are in debt.
assisting the police in criminal matters, such as drugs or fraud, and collecting evidence for prosecution
giving evidence in court
checking all relevant documents, keeping records and writing reports.
Starting salary for an assistant officer is £19,550 to £25,124 a year. An officer's salary would be £24,818 to £31,886 a year. This rises as you move up to higher officer and senior officer. The figures below are a guide as to what you could expect if you enter through the Graduate Programme (Tax Professional).
Trainees on the Graduate Programme start on £30,880 a year (£35,105 a year in London). This can rise up to £41,683 (£45,054 in London), depending on competency. Once they have successfully completed the graduate programme, salary rises to £51,050 a year outside London, and £57,440 in London. There is a good pension scheme.
Places of work vary, depending on your job.
Excise, VAT and tax work is based in offices but you spend some of your time visiting businesses.
You have to travel a lot and you may need a driving licence.
Hours are usually regular, but you may work longer hours to meet case deadlines.
You may have to wear a uniform.
The work will involve a lot of manual handling, such as lifting and pulling heavy or awkward items, on a daily basis.
Your work will depend on the area in which you are based and the businesses in it.
The Civil Service has nationality requirements. For many posts, you must be a UK national, Commonwealth citizen or national of the European Economic Area. There are several levels of entry. You would normally join at officer level.
You might start off as an assistant officer and work towards promotion. For this you require 5 subjects at National 5 including English and Maths. To enter at officer level you also need 2-3 Highers in addition.
Staff are also recruited through the Graduate Programme (Tax Professionals).
For the Tax Professional Programme you must have a 2:2 Honours degree (SCQF Level 10). Recruitment usually runs from around September to November, for entry the following year.
The recruitment process for the programme has three stages: Stage 1 is an application form and some online tests; Stage 2 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; Stage 3 is one day spent at an assessment centre.
You may have to pass a medical test and security screening.
What Does it Take?
You should be:
methodical, logical and accurate
a good organiser
an independent thinker
able to analyse and interpret information
impartial and fair in following standard procedures
able to make difficult or unpopular decisions
able to work as part of a team.
You should have:
a smart appearance
good communication skills
good numerical skills.
Training is usually on the job.
The Tax Professional Graduate Programme takes three years and has two stages. Stage 1 provides you with foundation knowledge and skills across a range of tax areas; and stage 2 deepens your knowledge, builds on your professional skills and competencies and you work towards an externally accredited qualification. On successful completion you are promoted to a Grade 7 Senior Tax Professional.
With experience and ability, you may move on to become a team leader, or to other senior or management positions.
You may move into a training position.
You may be able to move to other departments within the Civil Service.
You may move to related work in the private sector or local government.
You may need further qualifications and training for some jobs.
It helps if you are willing to move.
Around 60,000 people work for HMRC across the UK. There are a number of offices throughout Scotland, but over the next 10 years most of these will close and there will be two super centres, one in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow. Jobs are advertised in the press, in Jobcentre Plus offices and on the Civil Service website.