Tax Inspector

Job Description:

Tax inspectors make sure the correct amount of tax is paid and that fraud hasn’t taken place.

Job Category:
Financial Services

What you will do:

You’ll work for a governmental department to make sure businesses and individuals follow tax laws and pay the correct amount of tax.

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • examining business accounts
  • visiting businesses to interview board directors, lawyers and accountants
  • investigating suspected fraud
  • offering specialist advice about tax
  • negotiating settlements
  • representing the government at appeals tribunals
  • considering and applying tax law to cases
  • leading a team of caseworkers and administrative staff
  • managing relationships between the government and customers


You’ll need

  • knowledge of economics and accounting
  • maths knowledge
  • legal knowledge of tax regulations
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work on your own
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to investigate and analyse complex information
  • decision-making ability (leadership skills)
  • good negotiating skills and powers of persuasion
  • a creative approach to problem-solving (creative skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Becoming a Tax Inspector or Tax Compliance Officer typically requires a strong educational background, but there are no specific subjects directly related to this profession. To pursue a career in tax inspection, you should focus on building a foundation in subjects that develop your analytical, financial, and legal skills. Here’s a list of subjects that can be relevant:

  1. Mathematics: Strong mathematical skills are crucial for analysing financial records, calculating tax liabilities, and ensuring compliance.
  2. English Language: Effective communication and report writing are important in tax inspection, as you’ll need to convey complex information clearly and professionally.
  3. Business Studies: This subject can help you understand basic business principles, financial management, and the structure of organizations, which is relevant to tax assessment.
  4. Economics: Economics can provide insights into fiscal policies, taxation, and economic principles, which are valuable in the field of tax inspection.
  5. Accounting: Accounting coursework at a higher level, like A-levels or a degree, can provide you with a strong foundation in understanding financial records, which is essential for tax inspection.
  6. Law: A strong background in law or legal studies is beneficial as tax inspection involves interpreting tax laws and ensuring that individuals and organizations comply with them.
  7. Statistics: Statistical knowledge can be helpful for analyzing data and trends, which is part of the job when assessing tax liabilities.
  8. Citizenship or Government & Politics: These subjects can help you understand the political and legal framework within which tax laws are developed and implemented.

Post School

In the UK, you’ll need to apply for a place on the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Tax Specialist Programme and have one of the following:

  • a 2:2 or better in an honours degree in any subject
  • an equivalent award like a professional accountancy qualification

Even though you can apply with a degree in any subject, qualifications in finance, business, and law may be useful.

You must meet UK nationality requirements to apply for jobs in the civil service.

HMRC sometimes run an 8-week, paid internship programme for final year degree students.

These requirements will vary from country to country.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll work 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday, with possible overtime when tax deadlines are approaching.

You’ll be office-based but will spend some time travelling to visit businesses and attend meetings.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could move through the governments’ promotion structure to more senior or specialist posts.

You could go into the private sector as a tax adviser, or become a self-employed tax consultant.