My welcome into HMRC compliance
Read Carl's story, who joined HMRC to start a completely new career.
The journey begins
After 21 years working in the retail industry, I made one of the biggest and hardest decisions in my career to try and achieve a better work/life balance. I had always heard of HMRC’s reputation to be a great place to work and how they value their employees, so when an opportunity arose for a job as a Compliance Caseworker, I thought why not put my hat into the ring?
I joined in October 2021. Joining HMRC as a new employee was a shock to the system, in a good way! They encouraged me to learn about different taxes, with a structured package of self-learning and interactive coursework.
At first, I felt I had imposter syndrome because I was working with colleagues who have been with HMRC for years. But I soon realised my team were full of experience and always helpful while I was learning new systems.
Cue training montage
During training I was given live tax compliance cases to work on. Having case ownership gave me the full experience of opening a case from the beginning to conclusion. There was a lot of investigation work, trying to gather all the information and putting it together like a jigsaw puzzle.
Part of my role is contacting customers to help them pay the correct amount of tax at the right time. My customer service experience in the retail sector helped me enormously, and it gives me great pleasure when the customers thank me for helping them to be more compliant going forward.
After nine months of training, I found out that I was heading off into the unknown, joining the Counter-Avoidance (CA) team. The training and courses continued, which I was more than happy about as this was all new to me. They taught me about tax avoidance schemes and what HMRC is doing to combat these.
Finding my new home
I joined a project team where we were issuing notices to protect against certain types of tax and national insurance avoidance. Shortly after starting, I was asked if I could put together a presentation about this work, to help the rest of the CA team. I put together a presentation which I was informed was for around 40 colleagues. On the morning of the presentation, I watched the attendees rising above 100 which was quite scary, so I went into presentation mode and tried to forget how many were attending.
This went very well under the circumstances, and I received great feedback. I was very proud to be passing on the knowledge that I had gathered in such short time help others. I have since presented this session on a further 2 occasions, with smaller numbers of participants which made it less nerve-racking.
There are lots of social aspects to HMRC that I enjoy too. In February 2023 I joined The Big Team Challenge where you join teams to walk around the world (virtually). This could be walking, running or any type of activity to boost your team’s score. This is not only good encouragement for you individually but collectively as a team to do your bit.
I have also joined the HMRC sports group to encourage me to be more active. Before the pandemic I was a lot fitter and in April a few colleagues and I are heading to Warwick University to compete in track and field events. But there is so much more like quizzes, darts, walking, bowls, badminton, squash and many more events to include everyone.
I’d like to finish with two pieces of advice that will hopefully help you. There’s no such thing as a stupid question, and use the experience and knowledge of your colleagues and managers.
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