Customs & Excise Officer Careers

How to become Customs & Excise Officer

What does a Customs & Excise Officer do?

Although Customs and Excise are perhaps best known for their work in fighting drug trafficking and other illegal trade, their role is much broader and includes three main areas:

Customs officers work in sea, air, and postal customs locations examining and clearing passengers, baggage, freight or mail to ensure that there are no smuggled or excess goods. They process customs documentation and when necessary attend court as official witnesses. It is possible to specialise as an anti-smuggling officer working as part of the Law Enforcement Unit.

Excise officers visit business premises such as distilleries, oil refineries and importers to ensure that excise regulations are being upheld and the correct amount of duty is being paid, and take legal action where necessary. The role includes preparing reports, answering correspondence and enquiries, and collecting information from suspects and witnesses. Officers may be required to attend court as an official witness.

VAT assurance officers visit local businesses to provide technical advice and to check they are accounting for VAT correctly, and understand the relevant laws.

All officers liaise with and provide assistance to external agencies such as the police and the home office. Customs, excise, and VAT assurance officers are classed as Civil Service junior managers, and may work independently or as part of a team.

New areas of work in customs and excise develop with changes in business and trade. For example, recent developments include e-business and the promotion of energy efficiency. As such, many people who wish to work in this area will benefit from taking a customs and excise training course

because this will include all the latest information in this area.

What's the working environment like working as a Customs & Excise Officer?

Most officers work around 36 hours a week over five days, although overtime may sometimes be necessary. Uniformed customs officers work shifts including evenings, nights and weekends. Flexitime, job sharing or part-time work may be available.

In addition to working in offices, VAT and excise officers will travel to customers’ premises, and uniformed customs officers will sometimes work from customs halls and interview rooms at airports and ports.

Some work may be dirty and hazardous.

What does it take to become a Customs & Excise Officer?

To be a customs and excise officer, you should:

  • be able to analyse information and make decisions
  • be able to work accurately, pay close attention to detail and notice inconsistencies
  • be able to work independently and in a team
  • have good listening and questioning skills
  • be able to present information in a clear and logical way
  • be tactful and polite
  • be honest and fair in applying rules
  • be numerate, able to interpret accounts and make calculations.

Customs & Excise Officer Career Opportunities

HM Revenue and Customs has around 23,000 staff based all over the country, working in tax, customs and excise. There are frequent opportunities at all levels.

From junior manager (band 5/6) positions, it is possible to move into more senior positions and ultimately to senior civil servant. There are also opportunities to move into specialist areas such as computing or auditing. Officers may be expected to move to other parts of the country.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Customs & Excise Officer that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Civil Service Careers

Fast Stream Development Programme
Application Helpdesk
Parity House
Fleet Mill
Minley Road
GU51 2RD
Tel: 01252 776923

HM Revenue and Customs

Skills for Justice
9 Riverside Court
Don Road
S9 2TJ
Tel: 0114 261 1499

Facts and Stats:

  • The Ministry of Defence is British Industry''s largest single customer
  • Every year, civil servants are responsible for public spending of around £300bn
  • If every MP turned up at the chambers of the House of Commons at the same time, there would not be enough seats for them all to sit down

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