Customs and excise officer: job description

Customs and excise officers are responsible for assessing and collecting revenue due on imported goods, betting/gaming activities etc, under UK and European Union legislation.
Roles in customs and excise can involve enforcing legislation.

What does a customs and excise officer do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the sole employer of customs and excise officers. Typical responsibilities of the job include:

  • advising businesses about statutory requirements and ensuring that these are complied with
  • handling enquiries
  • dealing with verbal and written correspondence
  • liaising with other government departments
  • writing reports, including audit reports
  • helping undertake business audits
  • maintaining up-to-date knowledge of legislation and statutory requirements
  • supporting the work of other team members
  • supervising staff and providing feedback about performance
  • identifying non-compliant businesses
  • helping to minimise administration costs and improve policies
  • prioritising workloads
  • detecting irregularities and taking action against non-compliant businesses

Roles in customs and excise can involve enforcing legislation.

Only a limited number of opportunities arise with HM Revenue & Customs each year. Vacancies attract intense competition and candidates possessing relevant work experience are often at an advantage. Job vacancies are advertised by careers services, via the internet, in newspapers and online publications such as Opportunities. Information about vacancies is available centrally, although each of the seven regional customs and excise areas undertakes its own recruitment.

Qualifications and training required

The minimum academic requirement for entry into the profession is two GCSEs or the equivalent. Graduates with an honours degree in any subject (2.2 or higher) can apply through the fast track graduate recruitment scheme, details of which are available from the HMRC website. (Recruitment for this takes place annually and opportunities may be for HMRC generally.)

A degree in business studies or a relevant postgraduate qualification can be beneficial. Work experience may be required for some positions – previous experience gained working with the public is particularly helpful.

All candidates should be UK nationals and free from certain criminal convictions.

Key skills for customs and excise officers

  • Calm assertiveness
  • Resilience
  • Excellent numerical, communication, teamworking and interpersonal skills