Tax inspector

How to become Tax inspector

What does a tax inspector do?

Tax inspectors work for HM Revenue and Customs and are responsible for applying tax legislation to companies, businesses, individuals and partnerships. All of these have to complete annual tax returns form giving full details of their income. The level and amount of tax due is based on this information.

The job includes:

  • checking tax returns
  • examining accounts and background material
  • investigating returns by writing, visiting and interviewing
  • giving expert advice as required
  • ensuring that taxpayers only pay the correct amount due
  • negotiating settlements with taxpayers and/or accountants
  • managing teams of technical and clerical staff
  • managing office resources and budget control.

Tax inspectors may have to investigate cases where doubts exist about the accuracy of business accounts submitted to HM Revenue and Customs. This may involve visiting business premises, finding out about the business, examining business records and taking into account the lifestyle of the proprietor or directors.

Some tax inspectors work for the Collector of Taxes department of HM Revenue and Customs.

What's the working environment like for a tax inspector?

Tax inspectors work office hours Monday to Friday. They may be required to work extra hours at certain times of the year when tax deadlines are drawing near. Flexi-time and part-time work is possible.

The work is office-based but will involve travel to visit businesses. Formal business dress is expected.

What does it take to become a tax inspector?

To be a tax inspector you should:

  • have a sharp, enquiring mind
  • be able to manage staff and resources effectively
  • have a high degree of analytical ability and judgement
  • be capable of handling large amounts of information
  • be comfortable with figures
  • be able to use information technology in support of your work
  • have good communication skills
  • have a fair and impartial attitude
  • be a good role model and handle your own personal finance carefully
  • have an imaginative approach to problem solving
  • be resilient when carrying out compliance and investigative work.

If you're a student in your final year of study towards a degree, HMRC run eight week internships that will give you a head start in this line of work. 

The good thing about this profession is that you don't need a specific degree in a particular subject. Just make sure it's a minimum of a 2:2 and ensure that you have an award or an equivalent to a professional accountancy qualification.

You will also be expected to meet the UK's nationality requirements to apply for civil service jobs.  

Tax inspector career opportunities

HM Revenue and Customs can offer a number of career options and opportunities for graduates, including specialist advisory work and management positions. It may also be possible to spend some time outside the department, for example on secondment to a private organisation or, on rare occasions, secondment to the European Commission. In addition, there are many opportunities for Revenue-trained staff in the private sector.

Further information

If you would like to learn more about becoming a tax inspector that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

HM Revenue and Customs

Civil Service Fast Stream


Civil Service Careers

Financial Services Skills Council
51 Gresham Street
Tel: 020 7216 7366