HMRC has launched a voluntary exit scheme aimed at cutting 3,000 fixed-term contract staff jobs in 21 offices across the UK.
There are no plans to close the offices but staff were told that the sites do not appear to feature in HMRC’s long-term plans.
There are currently 3,900 people on fixed-term appointments at HMRC offices across the UK, but the Revenue confirmed plans to keep only 1,000 of them on past the end of their contracts on March 2014.
Staff targets include 1,500 in personal taxes and compliance, and 500 in debt management.
Around 260 jobs are under threat at four Welsh offices, a further 80 staff at Barnstaple in Devon, 150 Scottish staff and 240 in Northern Ireland.
The Revenue said that the job cuts are down to people increasingly availing their online services.
The Pubic and Commercial Services Union (PCS) said it will challenge the voluntary exit scheme, and use the 90-day redundancy consultation period to “fully scrutinise” HMRC’s budgets and come up with alternatives.
“We have made it clear we oppose the decision not to extend these contracts beyond April 2014 or make the staff permenant,” it said in a press release.
Since 2005, 34,000 jobs have gone from HMRC. Another 10,000 are planned by 2015 under recent spending cuts.
The PCS also expressed concern that the Revenue is already suffering from staff shortages which may have an impact on its performance.
In a statement, HMRC said: "These are fixed term contract staff whose contracts are coming to an end – these employees never were permanent staff," a spokesperson said.
HMRC confirmed its intention to extend up to 1,000 of the contracts beyond March but it not known for how long.
“HMRC's business areas have continually reviewed where work should be done and adjusted their workforce and offices in response to business’ needs.
“The voluntary exits being offered to staff in 21 offices are as a result of one or more business areas concluding that these offices do not fit with their long-term plans, and that work that is currently being done in them is better placed in other offices,” it said.
Update, 6 Dec - Tax justice campaigner Richard Murphy published a letter from HMRC workforce management director Dorothy Brown explaining the voluntary redundancy programme to MPs. She explains that staff are being invited to apply at 21 locations. "In 14 of these locations we are unlikely to retain a presence in the longer term," she wrote.