Share this content

Is it too late to move from HMRC to private sector

I completed the full tax training in 2009 specialising in corporation tax

Didn't find your answer?

I'm considering a move to the private sector but I'm wondering if I've left it too late?  I specialised in CT until around 2013 and from that point onwards have held more generalist roles e.g. managing and coordinating tax specialists and have held roles such as Customer Relationship Manager and HMRC Compliance Governance.  Is there any room for someone with this background in the private sector now or should I have moved back in 2013 when my specialist knowledge was still up to date and fresh?  I'm yearning to get back to a tax role.  

Replies (17)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

avatar
By Paul Crowley
03rd May 2021 17:38

The problem is finding a good fit
As a partner I still prepare accounts from bank statements and a box of petrol vouchers

Thanks (2)
Psycho
By Wilson Philips
03rd May 2021 18:14

I know several poachers turned gamekeepers who jumped over the fence many years after qualifying and who have done very well for themselves.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Wilson Philips:
avatar
By Paul Crowley
03rd May 2021 20:13

HMRC might see it the other way
Gamekeepers turned poachers

Thanks (7)
avatar
By Paul Crowley
03rd May 2021 20:15

It it me?
prior replies completely removed without Biblical context.

Thanks (3)
Replying to Paul Crowley:
avatar
By Tax Dragon
03rd May 2021 20:28

Ruddles('s argument) obviously has more sway with the mods. Vis-à-vis removal of posts I mean. To be fair, I didn't bother to put forward a counter-argument; I simply expressed a contrary view. And, as Monty Python teaches us, there's more to arguing than simply expressing a contrary view. So I'm not surprised at the change of approach by the mods.

(I am of course referencing past threads, more than what's happened on this one. No, it's not just you.)

Thanks (2)
Replying to Tax Dragon:
avatar
By Hugo Fair
03rd May 2021 20:43

Ah that's the MP sketch with the punchline that should really be the motto of this site ... "Not necessarily I could have been arguing in my spare time"!

Thanks (1)
Replying to Paul Crowley:
Psycho
By Wilson Philips
03rd May 2021 20:29

I think it was the usual case of an unwanted guest being shown the door.

Thanks (1)
By Duggimon
04th May 2021 10:45

It's never too late for anything! It's only going to get later, barring a complete collapse of physical laws as we know them, so don't wait, but don't sit there grimacing at having missed your chance.

Just make sure you're secure and don't take any risks that are too big and you'll be fine.

Thanks (1)
By SteveHa
04th May 2021 15:13

You haven't given your age, but that will probably be a consideration. I was in my mid 30s when I moved from HMRC to practice (employed), which was still young enough to re-train myself (not least, the mindset rather than the technical stuff).

Even so, I found myself having to quickly re-learn stuff that I hadn't done for a few years (you know how in HMRC people rarely stick at one specialty for too many years).

I'd be less keen to try now, though I'd possibly still consider.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By TaxFan2021
04th May 2021 21:23

I’m 41 @SteveHa, been at HMRC 16 years

Thanks (0)
Replying to TaxFan2021:
avatar
By Tax Dragon
05th May 2021 06:06

I stand by my first reply. (Even though it's been deleted.)

Thanks (1)
Replying to TaxFan2021:
By SteveHa
05th May 2021 09:29

You're still a baby, go for it. The CS role will probably not help you much (particularly since it''s commonly acknowledged that CS in HMRC is lousy), but the compliance roles (compliance in HMRC having a different meaning than is generally employed in practice) will help, particularly with advisory work, which is on the increase.

If you aren't confident that your skills are up to date, then bring them up to date. There are plenty of resources to do that, or even ask for a move in HMRC to your preferred field. In my later years I managed to get myself moved between employer compliance, ex-pat and SA compliance which all set me up well for moving into practice.

The more mundane stuff (what is generally referred to as compliance in practice) of preparing SA Returns/CT600s/payroll etc. is something you are unlikely to be too far out with even after 8 years. You just need to bring yourself up to date with rates, allowances etc. (or get yourself the Whillan's Tax Tables book, which is almost indispensable.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By sculptureofman
05th May 2021 13:44

Definitely possible. I know a few ex-HMRC inspectors who were highly sought-after at Big-4 firms as they could give a very useful insight on how HMRC operates.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By jayesh21
07th May 2021 09:45

It is nerver too late in my opinion. You only live once, so if you feel the need to move, listen to you gut and do it anyway.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By Charityguy
07th May 2021 09:53

That's a long gap between being technical (about 8/9 years) and wanting to go into practice. The other roles you had do not really add much to your technical appeal. I would say you have left it too late.
Unless as others say... just brush up your technical knowledge - but I would have concerns that you move and then fall flat in practice as your knowledge is not current.
Don't want you to regret the move. There are Grade 7 CTA CT roles being advertised in HMRC - why not go for one of them?

Thanks (3)
avatar
By Malcolm McFarlin
07th May 2021 10:41

I left HMRC after 22 years and at the age of 43 when I was recruited by one of the Big Four in 1998. My background was tax investigations in indirect tax. The first 18 months at one of the Big Four was a bit of a nightmare -the completion of timesheets [Enid Blyton's books were probably more true]; the marketing side [they just expected you to have the necessary skills the question being was, could you bring work in?]; the IT [provided with your own laptop when HMRC hardly used computers at that stage]; the long hours [with travel 70 plus per week]; a competitive and generally unfriendly environment compared to HMRC.
I survived 5 years before moving to a smaller firm and then setting up my own business which has been trading for nearly 13 years. I have loved every minute of having my own business and although past retirement age, I am still trading. I would never have been able to have my own business without the experience of HMRC and the Big Four accountants. Each one provided me with different skillsets. So in summary -definitely go for it but be prepared for difficult and testing times. HMRC is a different world to private practice.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By Mr J Andrews
07th May 2021 14:59

Don't think for a minute that HMRC training makes you a CT specialist. In all probability , you have a biased slant which is useful but be prepared for some extra tuition and getting to grips with how companies really operate. It's not just about tax !!

As for your role within HMRC as Customer Relationship Manager, I would suggest you keep this little subject under your belt. The incumbent head honcho's mindless drive to furthering MTD, amongst other dumb management ideas , have created the biggest ever gap between the Revenue and the profession / Joe Public . Your knowledge here would be less than useless.

Thanks (1)
Share this content