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Anyone know much about HMRC? Tax Development Programme

(39 Posts)
emsyj Wed 25-Apr-12 18:31:01

I've just been offered a place on the HMRC TPDP starting this September and was wondering if anyone has any experience or knowledge to share? There is an introduction/info day in London in June, but I am really desperate for anything you can tell me about the availability of flexible working on this scheme.

I have kinda assumed that it is full time for the 4 year training programme but if there is any prospect of any reduction to the working week (don't care if it takes me 10 years to qualify, not worried about money just want to crank up the brain cells a bit and wear nice heels). Also, is flexi-time available to people on this programme?

Any info gratefully received! smile

emsyj Fri 18-May-12 20:23:02

That's brill, thanks! I've got a couple of dresses that will cover the 'smart' requirements I think, although I do need some smart shoes. I have a pair of skyscraper heels that I bought in Jones because the assistant was quite hot persuasive and they are really uncomfortable, so will get some ugly comfort shoes instead. Great that you don't have to be super-smart all the time - one thing I used to hate about office wear was that 'getting changed when you get home' thing (to prevent creasing, spilling your dinner down your front, sticky toddler fingers etc). Very relieved about that!

Thanks so much, I may come back to you yet again if I think of any more wink.

PinkPanther27 Fri 18-May-12 21:28:07

Thanks TPDP, this is extremely helpful. I'm a bit worried about getting onto the programme - I was actually gonna apply last Sept then found out I was pregnant, didnt think they would let me defer. I will def apply this year though. I didnt really do tax in my accounting experience (except through my studying --although the tutor was v bad and would stop halfway through a complex calculation saying it was wrong and start again mid flow--)
Is there any reading/exercises I can do to help me preppare and is there a list of what the course covers? My only experience of HMRC Tax experts has been when I ahd a v complex SMP case and it was referred to them and I tried to do my own research too which I found interesting but just wondered what else they do. I'm no longer in accounts, now Im an experienced Probation Officer but I'd say that gives me good life experience smile

TPDP Mon 28-May-12 09:17:43

Hi Pink,
First of all the application process. Not sure what the process is at the moment when I applied it was online tests, telephone interview and assessment centre. Most people fail at the online test stage obviously.

The first stage is just filling in the form and an online personality test - just answer honestly and you should pass it.

The online tests were mathematical, English (basic logic and reasoning) and a non verbal reasoning test. They put you under pressure but don't let that freak you out - I only got through half the maths and I still got through. Most people fail at the online stage. There are loads of online test samples online at SHL for example. If you google uni careers sites they also tend to have links you can use. I found the Kogan Page series of assessment centre books really good - can't remember all the names off hand but they should have them in the library and I used those for the online tests - especially maths - as that is my weak subject.

There are threads on wiki jobs and student room about past assessment centres - they do tend to change the tests at the assessment centre itself as people blab about them - but generally there will be group and written exercises, perhaps a mock interview (not tax related). As you have relevant work skills I wouldn't worry too much but it is worth thinking about the competences and how you can show them in the various exercises. Generally I found the group exercises the most challenging as you can't always predict the behaviour of the other candidates, yet you have to think on your feet and try and find ways to demonstrate what you can do. Read up on the various types of exercises, perhaps practice intray and decision making, report writing in case they come up - there are some practice tests on the Fast Stream Civil Service website but they are pitched at a much higher level. Otherwise see what there is at the library and also online. The most important thing to remember is that you are demonstrating the competences for the people assessing you so bear that in mind all the time! They send you a list of the competences before the assessment centre.

TPDP itself consists of 9 or 10 modules. You start with book keeping, sole trade and partnerships, company accounts, capital allowances, the various taxes - income tax, VAT, CT, other income. There are also soft skills that they test but are not formally examined. In the second half of the course you do much higher stuff like tax law, groups, international, accountancy etc. All the time you are working in the office as well and it is really important to stress that aspect - it is not just study.

Good luck and if you need to know anything else, please PM me or post here.

Taxes Mon 28-May-12 09:47:37

I am a Grade 7 tax inspector. TPDP has given you loads of info on the course.

Couple of things to add:
- if your former work experience is in a law firm, be prepared for a significant culture shock. The civil service bureaucracy-led, process-focused way of working is very different from the outcome-focused, fee-driven culture you're probably used to. Doing a structured course will probably help with this, but be prepared for decisions to be taken for reasons which you do not agree with at all.

- TPDP has overstated the bottom of the G7 salary range, but maybe by the time you eventually get there it will be where she/he states.

- Work after you are spat out of the other end of the course is very varied - that's the great thing about working for such a big employer. I work with large companies and you do get an inside view on a lot of things, but there is everything from policy/technical to criminal investigations. Or abandoning taxes and going into management (regrettably the only way to promotion from Grade 7 these days).


skent19 Fri 07-Sep-12 12:31:35

Hi emsyj

Did you find out if working 8-4 or even 7-3 was okay during the programme.
I am looking at applying this year for the tpdp, and i was wondering if it was possible to start early and finish early.

secretagent247 Wed 27-Feb-13 21:50:52


Thanks for the posts on here, very helpful.

I have just attended the final assessment for this years TPDP and am told we will be asked to submit our preferred work locations on 8th March.

Just thinking things through and I have a question that I wonder if you would mind answering for me in regard to this.

Wondering how much of the programme you spend in the class room and where you have to go for this. I am thinking that I would like to go to Nottingham but am wondering if I may have to go to tutorials in Birmingham say.

Can you tell me where the places/cities/towns are that people have to go to for tutorials/classroom based study.Personally, I would like to work where I will be studying, can you give me an idea of where these offices are?

I'll probably have more questions as time goes on, any info is greatly appreciated.


emsyj Thu 28-Feb-13 21:21:44

Hello, I am now 6 months into the course (altho on maternity leave now, had DD2 3 weeks ago - they've been brilliant about it, boss and everyone else in the office all lovely - looking forward to going back smile). I have my tutorials in Manchester - all trainees from Manchester, Liverpool, Bolton and Warrington are taught in Manchester.

Most weeks you are in tutorial for one day, although occasionally there are 2 tutorial weeks and I've seen on the timetable for the rest of the first year and there are some weeks (rare ones) with 3 tutorials. It is a long day for me when you take account of travel, but bearable. We start at 9.30am and usually finish between 4pm and 4.30pm. It takes me quite a long time to get there, I leave the house at 6.45am and get home about 6.30pm usually.

If you call the graduate recruitment people or email them, they will tell you where the tutorial bases are. I should say that the Manchester trainees are not based in the same office where the tutorials take place, and the tutors are not based there either but travel for tutorials so the only benefit of working in the office where tutorials take place is that you'd presumably be living close by and so you'd have less travel.

Bear in mind that some of the locations that they offer you are not actually equipped to take trainees. One of the options when I was applying was Wrexham, but they don't take trainees, never have and don't have the facility to take them - so I have no idea why that location was listed. Locations are allocated in order of your results, so the higher your score at the assessment centre, the better your chance of getting your first choice location.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions that I can help with. I'm really enjoying the course.

summer7445 Fri 15-Mar-13 17:06:52

Hi emsyj. Congratulations on the baby (and the new job)!. Thank you for instigating all the above posts which are about the most helpful thing on the web when looking for info on the TPDP. I was hoping that you had time to give me a bit of advice. I really want to apply for the hmrc TPDP once I am in a position to do so. That will probably not be for a few years as I need my current part time hours for child care reasons and am assuming the training course has to be full time ( I also am on mat leave and getting scarily used to it which is not a good thing...) In the meantime I was thinking about doing some distance learning to improve my chances of getting an interview and see what studying again would be like. At present I am a lawyer but dealing exclusively with criminal law, so no tax or commercial knowledge or experience whatsoever. I was thinking that starting a part time degree in accounts and finance might be a good idea. From what you've seen so far do you think that would be worthwhile / is there something else that the time would be better spent studying? Also how have you found attitudes to flexible working for those who are qualified? Would it be frowned upon not to work full time once qualified at least for a few years. Thanks for reading this (if I've posted it somewhere that you will. I'm new to netmums so not very sure how it works)

emsyj Mon 18-Mar-13 22:38:02

Hi summer, sorry this thread had disappeared off my watch list as there were no new posts for a while.

I will try and answer all your questions in order...

"am assuming the training course has to be full time"

No, I am returning on 4 days a week - one day is in tutorials, one day is study at home and the other 2 days in the office. When I asked for part time hours they said 4 days was fine, it's possible to do less but you would have to discuss this with the course director. The exams and study are fixed and everyone in the country does them at the same time, but there is a facility to extend the 4 years to do the practical elements of the course (i.e. the job-based competency stuff that you do in the office) by two lots of 6 months. I hope not to need to extend, but basically once you're on the course then so long as you are passing the exams, they want to help you to get through to the end.

"I was thinking about doing some distance learning to improve my chances of getting an interview"

This isn't how the recruitment process works: there is no interview as such. There are various online tests followed by a one day assessment centre that comprises group exercises, a mock client meeting, written exercises etc. These are observed by assessors and scored and then those with the highest scores are offered jobs - with the highest scoring applicants getting first dibs on preferred locations. The online tests are about your work style, maths, logic/reasoning etc and I don't think you can prepare for them really, although you may be able to find practice tests somewhere.

"I was thinking that starting a part time degree in accounts and finance might be a good idea. From what you've seen so far do you think that would be worthwhile / is there something else that the time would be better spent studying? "

I wouldn't bother, personally - it won't help you to get the job. There are some accountants on the course and they get some very limited exemptions from some of the study, but not much really. I had no accounts background (you will have more than most of the other candidates simply by having done solicitors' accounts rules - which in my day covered a basic overview of how double entry book keeping works - that's more accounts knowledge than you need to be honest, you will be taught what is required from scratch, you're assumed to know zero about accounts and finance).

"Also how have you found attitudes to flexible working for those who are qualified? Would it be frowned upon not to work full time once qualified at least for a few years. "

I don't know to be honest as I am not close to the stage of applying for a qualified post - but generally part time working is very commonplace and accepted in HMRC. There are lots of grade 7 and grade 6 people working part time, many are partially retired. There are currently more jobs than there are people to fill them, plus the culture of HMRC is very flexible so I can't imagine it would be an issue to be part time. Nobody has suggested to me that I won't be able to stay on 4 days when I finish the course and move on to a grade 7 post. There are tons of different jobs available, not all of which involve work that is time critical or customer-facing, so there should be lots of part time options I hope!

I hope that helps a bit.

Akhan90 Sun 06-Oct-13 02:14:01

Hi there,

I have been reading up on the programme and was wondering if i could get some information, basically I would like to apply for the programme but i had a few concerns, firstly i have SLE ( lupus ) a medical condition that sometimes effects my quality of life and work, is HMRC understanding of that? As companies havn't been much understanding.

Secondly i am currently doing ACCA and was wondering if i could get exemptions with the programmes modules?
Any help would be appreciated

Thank you smile

emsyj Sat 12-Oct-13 22:58:26

Hi Akhan, regarding your medical condition I would say HMRC is probably one of the best places you could find in terms of making adjustments. I don't know much about lupus I'm afraid, you would be best to call the recruitment team to talk to them but they are exceptionally flexible as an employer and very proactive in making adjustments etc.

I don't know much about the exemptions available but I would imagine you could get some partial exemptions from the first module (book keeping) with an ACCA qualification. I am not aware that exemptions are routinely granted from any of the other course modules, but to be honest some of those entitled to exemptions on the book keeping papers in my intake didn't take them because they don't enable you to miss entire exams - only to have certain questions removed from the paper and your time reduced accordingly, which might make it harder for you to pass at the required level of 70%. You might be better off taking the full paper and knowing you will score well on the stuff you already know.

I hope that makes sense. If you call the recruitment team they will be able to help you further. There is a Facebook page for TPDP where they answer questions posted to the page. You can find it by searching for HMRC Tax Professional Graduate Programme.

jessie1471 Thu 31-Jul-14 11:45:20

Hi, sorry I know this is an old thread but I'm thinking of applying for this program and have a further question not covered above - the pass mark for the exams seems extremely high, compared to the academic and accountancy exams I've done so far. for anyone who's doing/done the program, how attainable is a pass in the exams and how tough are the exams? Are there many kicked off due to failure? If I were to get a place on the program, OH would like to stay at home for all/part of the week to look after LO, but if I fail an exam and lose the place, we'd then be in a bit of a mess financially, so there would be a lot riding on it.
Thanks to anyone who answers this!

jessie1471 Thu 31-Jul-14 11:53:39

Sorry just reread thread and seen TPDP's stat that 25% fail, that means 3/4 of people pass, doesn't seem too bad odds once you're actually on the course then! Still any further insights anyone has would be great, thanks.

vivien1 Mon 02-Nov-15 07:58:50

Hi, i have just registered for the HMRC graduate programme and i am yet to do the stage 1 test. please i need advice and help, as i truely want to be part of the training programme. Is there any where i can practice a similar test? or what will u advice i do to help me prepare better as the deadline is 24th .thanks

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