EU Competency Frameworks

TaxCompEU - EU Competency Framework for Taxation

The TaxCompEU vision

A standardised approach to training and performance development, the TaxCompeu comprises a guiding framework and toolset that aims to connect Human Resources (HR) processes under a pan-European, tax-specific, competency-based methodology. As such, it has the potential to constitute the backbone for national HR practices as well as a common language for Member States (MS) and the European Union (EU) as they seek to provide prime public-sector services across the EU through a better trained, more efficient tax workforce.

The TaxCompeu is currently available in 21 EU languages.

Download the TaxCompeu

TaxComp EU

As a standardised approach towards training and performance development, the TaxCompeu aims to connect all HR processes under a uniform, tax-specific, competency-based methodology and toolset that:

  • is placed at the centre of national Tax HRM;
  • runs across all HR functions;
  • renders knowledge, structure and transparency of processes;
  • safeguards the complex EU Tax structure from current and future challenges.

Serving as the backbone of HRM for Tax Administrations throughout Europe, the TaxCompeu can assist Tax Administrations reap the benefits of its uptake at national level, since it:

TaxComp EU

Taxation must be able to respond to change and be future-oriented to remain ahead of the rapidly changing nature of business operations, the swift pace of the digital economy and other global challenges. The TaxCompeu aligns with the strategic direction to address these requirements and to develop high performing tax workforces. This will be achieved by defining a shared view of the competencies that high-performing tax professionals currently need, and those that they will need in the future.

What is the TaxCompEU

This section describes the overall framework, including a high-level overview of each element of the TaxCompeu.

TaxCompEU Core Values and Competencies

The key ingredient to delivering a high and consistent standard of tax service is to empower employees with the competencies they need to deliver these services. This complete set of required competencies, documented with a European-wide focus, is what constitutes the TaxCompeu.

The EU competencies are further split into three categories: Tax Professional Competencies, Tax Operational Competencies and Tax Management Competencies.


Each category has its own purpose. The Professional Competencies are typically transferable between roles within tax and beyond. The Operational Competencies are specific to roles where employees work directly on tax-related tasks. The Management Competencies are targeted to roles where there is a management or team-leading focus.

EU competencies are complemented by a set of Tax Core Values. EU Tax values are common principles that define the employee’s work ethic and their alignment to the overall Tax mission. These values are the definition of what it means to work in the field of European Taxation.


TaxCompEU Proficiency Levels

A Proficiency Level summarises the required level of proficiency for someone within a certain role. In combination with the competencies required for a certain role, it should mirror both the importance of the competency and the frequency of when it is required in the role. The Proficiency Levels used within the Competency Framework apply to all the competencies in the framework (Professional, Operational and Management Competencies). There are four levels ranging from 1 (Awareness) to 4 (Expert). The Proficiency Levels do not apply to the seven Tax Core Values since all Tax professionals are expected to adhere to and demonstrate these values.


TaxCompEU Career Model

Career models are part of the HR development processes within organisations. They are composed of distinct career paths that imply vertical growth or advancement to higher level positions, but they can also entail lateral movement within or across domains. Career paths are designed to provide structure and transparency regarding the abilities, training and experience that qualify career progression. Moreover, they offer a standardised approach through which MS can define training needs and measures, structure recruitment to identify roles to be fulfilled and validate performance evaluation processes. Τhe EU TaxCompeu career model currently identifies the following three career paths:

  • Operational Career Path, includes roles from Tax Officer Trainee to Tax Senior Officer. Roles within this Career Path are typically involved in the day-to-day operational Tax activities.
  • Expert Career Path, includes the roles of Tax Expert and Senior Tax Expert. Roles within this Career Path are typically specialised in a certain domain, thus building substantial working experience and in-depth knowledge in this area.
  • Management Career Path, includes roles from Line to Strategic Manager that typically involve operational and/or strategic management responsibilities.

TaxCompEU Functional Domains

EU Tax Functional Domains correspond to the logical segmentation of a Tax Administration to its subsequent tax functions. Such functions occupy a definite place on the organisational chart and are led by a functional manager (in most cases a Senior Manager). EU Tax Functional Domains define groupings of Tax activities and/or processes and serve the purpose of mapping the organisational structure of a Tax Administration, along with the relevant roles in all hierarchical levels.

The EU Tax Functional Domains serve as a map to identify the distinctive tax business areas, the differentiation in tasks and responsibilities (further depicted in the TaxCompeu role descriptions), and the optimal competency blend required by the roles operating in them.

The following six core domains were designated as integral functions of a Tax Administration. To complement the list, a supportive function was also introduced, catering for ancillary operations (e.g. HR, Training, ICT) that are considered essential in the day-to-day operations of the Tax Administration.

  • Tax Policy and Law
  • Taxpayer Services
  • Tax Collection
  • Tax Audit
  • Risk Management
  • Tax Fraud and Investigation
  • Supportive Functions

TaxCompEU Role Descriptions & Competency Profiles

Role Descriptions describe the skills, competencies and responsibilities that are needed to perform each role and define where the role fits within the overall hierarchy of an organisation (see TaxCompeu Career Model). Following the above mentioned organisational structure (see TaxCompeu;Functional Domains) eight sets of Role Descriptions have been created as part of the TaxCompeu:

  • TaxCompeu Role Descriptions - Tax Policy and Law
  • TaxCompeu Role Descriptions - Taxpayer Services
  • TaxCompeu Role Descriptions - Tax Collection
  • TaxCompeu Role Descriptions - Tax Audit
  • TaxCompeu Role Descriptions - Risk Management
  • TaxCompeu Role Descriptions - Tax Fraud and Investigation
  • TaxCompeu Role Descriptions - Supportive Functions
  • TaxCompeu Role Descriptions - Cross Functional

Each Role Description includes the following information:

  • Organisational Information, the role title and level;
  • Scope of the Role, a brief description of the general organisational requirements of the specific position level, as well as how it interacts within the hierarchy;
  • Responsibilities within the scope of the domain, a detailed, task-based overview of the principal areas of responsibility within the domain;
  • Role responsibilities within the scope of the domain, the high-level tasks of professional (and/or management) responsibilities pertaining to the level of the role;
  • Role-Specific Competency Profile, the optimal assortment of Professional, Operational and Management (where relevant) competencies, along with distinct proficiency levels per competency, for the role to be successful.

The TaxCompEU as a strategic competency-based HR tool

Competency-based HRM is an HR vision focused on making optimal use of the competencies of individual employees to increase the entire organisation’s performance. Tax Administrations can reap the benefits of the TaxCompeu by integrating its usage into their HRM processes. From recruitment and selection to training and career development, only when organisations place competencies at the core of their HR processes can they truly maximise the rewards that the TaxCompeu can bring. Competency-based HRM is the holistic solution to improve public sector taxation performance and to deliver high-quality services across the EU.

The TaxCompEU

The complete TaxCompEU Toolbox

The TaxCompeu consists of the following documents and supporting tools:

1. TaxCompeu Overview – pdf documentdescribing the full functionality of the framework for EU Taxation.

2. TaxCompeu Competency Dictionary– pdf document containing detailed descriptions of the Core Values, and Professional, Operational and Management Competencies. Also provides Proficiency Levels descriptions.

3. TaxCompeu Role Descriptions – eight documents containing scope and task descriptions per functional domain and hierarchical level, as well as a competency profile specific to each role:

3.1. TaxCompeu Role Descriptions – Tax Policy and Law
3.2. TaxCompeu Role Descriptions – Taxpayer Services
3.3. TaxCompeu Role Descriptions – Tax Collection
3.4. TaxCompeu Role Descriptions – Tax Audit
3.5. TaxCompeu Role Descriptions – Risk Management
3.6. TaxCompeu Role Descriptions – Tax Fraud and Investigation
3.7. TaxCompeu Role Descriptions – Supportive Functions
3.8. TaxCompeu Role Descriptions – Cross Functional

4. TaxCompeu Role Mapping Matrix - excel file containing common Tax roles in an EU Tax Administration, including role descriptions, high-level tasks per role and a competency profile specific for each role andTaxCompeu Mapping Tool – excel file to develop role profiles custom to national Administration needs.

5. The TaxCompeu Training Curriculum, four documents containing:

5.1. TaxCompeu Overview– pdf document describing the full functionality of the TaxCompeu Training Curricula.
5.2. TaxCompeu Training Curriculum for Professional Competencies– pdf document containing the TaxCompeu Professional Competencies. The Curriculum provides an extended, per-competency description of the training topics and outcomes linked to the competency.
5.3. TaxCompeu Training Curriculum for Operational Competencies - pdf document containing the TaxCompeu Operational Competencies. The Curriculum provides an extended, per-competency description of the training topics and outcomes linked to the competency and should be best read together with the equivalent section of the TaxCompeu Competency Dictionary.
5.4.TaxCompeu Training Curriculum for Management Competencies- pdf document containing the TaxCompeu Management Competencies. The Curriculum provides an extended, per-competency description of the training topics and outcomes linked to the competency and should be best read together with the equivalent section of the TaxCompeu Competency Dictionary.

6. The TaxCompeu CAT – web-based interface aiming to provide national administrations with the opportunity to assess job/role-specific competencies and perform administrational gap analyses. The CAT generates data via a three-phased process (self-assessment, supervisor assessment, assessment results). Dedicated to Tax National Administrations use only.7.

7. TaxCompeu Communication support:

a. TaxCompeu Communication Messages – Pdf document containing major communication arguments towards leadership, HR departments and executives, employees within the Tax Administration and other general audiences, to help support TaxCompeu Implementation initiatives.
b. TaxCompeu Europa webpage – containing all relevant TaxCompeu information.
c. TaxCompeu Infographics.
d. TaxCompeuBrochure PDF

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e. TaxCompeuLeaflet

8. TaxCompeu National adoption Guide

The EU Customs Competency Framework Toolbox

CustCompEU - EU Customs Competency Frameworks

The European Union Customs Competency Framework (CustCompeu) aims at harmonising and raising customs performance standards throughout the EU.

It has been developed in collaboration with public and private experts from EU countries, the World Customs Organization (WCO) and other international sources.

There are two versions of the CustCompeu

  • A version for Customs Administrations (available in 22 EU languages)
  • A version for businesses dealing with Customs (available in English)

Download the EU Customs Competency Framework

What is the EU Customs Competency Framework?

The CustCompeu is the foundation which sets out a consensus view of the optimal set of knowledge, skills and behaviours required by customs professionals in the EU.

It also further defines public and private Customs roles and offers tools to map and adapt the agreed EU Customs competencies and role descriptions to different customs organisations and structures, both for national administrations and businesses.

It allows to:

  • identify competency gaps and training needs
  • assess staff against established standards
  • improve both operational and human resources processes
  • allow for data driven decisions
  • expand on sharing best practices and the creation of a thriving EU Customs community
  • create significant cost efficiencies

What are the framework’s components?

The framework consists of a variety of capacity-building tools designed specifically for the Customs profession. It lists and describes four groups of competency areas:

  • the core values
  • professional competencies
  • operational competencies
  • management competencies

The meaning and scope of the four categories and each competency are set out in the EU Customs Competency Dictionary for the Public and Private sectors.

All competencies are further specified with well-defined proficiency levels:

  • Aware
  • Trained
  • Advanced
  • Expert

Common EU Customs Role Descriptions (each followed by a unique to the role Competency Profile) describe in detail the responsibilities, behaviours and optimal blend of competencies Customs professionals are expected to learn to be considered successful in their roles.

Complementing the CustCompeu toolbox is the European Training Curricula for Customs. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the suggested learning topics and outcomes (linked to the designated competency areas) to be achieved by Customs specific training initiatives. As such, it supports improved and more consistent Customs operations and organisational performance across Europe.

The EU Customs Competency Framework Toolbox

Training for Customs professionals

Building on this framework, two EU Customs Training Curricula, one for the Public sector (Professional, Operational, Managementcompetencies) and one for the Private sector (Professional, Operational, Management competencies)have been developed.

These curricula set out the ‘Learning Topics’ and ‘Learning Outcomes’ for training programmes that are tailored towards customs professionals working in the European Union. As such, they support improved and more consistent Customs operations and organisational performance across Europe.

Recent developments and challenges in Customs have required the update of the Risk Domain in CustCompeu, which has been renamed as the Risk Management Domain and has been enhanced with strong profiles of Operational, Professional and Management Competencies, with higher proficiency levels for all roles.

As such, certain Professional and Operational Risk Management related Competencies in the EU Customs Training Curriculum have also been updated and enhanced to incorporate the need for Customs professionals to anticipate, mitigate and address risks.

Reference Training programmes

In addition, a set of Reference Training Programmes for Academic Customs Education (and 2019 Reference Training Programmes for Academic Customs Education revision document) has been created for training providers as a basis for comparison. This will help to build or enhance their academic programme structures and training materials.

The recently updated (2023) CustCompeu Reference Training Programme for Risk management provides an example of organising training content tailored to specific roles or departments of Risk Management within National Customs Administrations. It sets excellence standards in customs-specific EU training, commonly agreed and approved, whilst remaining highly flexible and customisable. Moreover, it can be shared with staff in national administrations, allowing them to take ownership and accountability of their professional development.

Download the CustCompeu _Reference_Training_Programme_Risk_management updated 2023

Recognition process and quality label for Customs Academic Study Programmes

Running since 2018, the EU Recognition Process for Customs academic programmes makes it possible to deliver a quality label for accredited Academic Customs programmes (Master’s, Bachelor’s, and modules within those programmes).

The EU Recognition Process for Customs provides quality assurance to both the academic institutions and the students of the equivalent programmes. In this way, it further harmonises and raises Customs performance standards throughout the European Customs Union.

Learn more on the EU Recognition Process for Customs academic study programmes.

Related links

EU Recognition of State-of-the-Art Customs Academic Programmes


The new cycle of the EU Customs Certificate of Recognition opens from September 2023 until September 2024 for new applications and renewals!

See below for the application process.

The EU Customs Certificate of Recognition

In 2019, the European Commission took the initiative to recognise academic programmes that equip students with the optimal Customs competency standards. Since then, European Customs Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes from different Member States have been awarded with a Certificate of Recognition, acknowledging their leading role in raising Customs performance and professionalism. As such, the Certificate of Recognition serves as an EU label of excellence for high-quality, modern Customs academic programmes.

This initiative addresses today’s reality where the protection of the interests of the European Union and its citizens, whilst facilitating legitimate trade, becomes increasingly complex. Twenty-first century challenges like new security threats, the ongoing refugee crisis, digital (r)evolutions and the impact of Brexit call for intensified European Customs cooperation, as well as collaboration with the Trade community.

The current context demands a high-performing, connected, agile and future-proof European community of Customs professionals, both in the public and private sector. Customs education, training and professional development are the cornerstones required to build and nurture this community, and to stay on par with the latest developments in the world of Customs and Trade.

Impact on the Community

In the continuous war for talent, cutting-edge Customs academic programmes are the weapon of choice to attract and develop high-potential Customs professionals. State-of-the-art Customs Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes (or modules within) can greatly enhance Customs performance across the EU. Graduates of recognised programmes understand the role of Customs in the international supply chain and combine strategic and management competencies with in-depth Customs operational capabilities.

The EC role

The European Commission has developed the CustCompeu (EU Customs Competency Framework) that outlines the optimal competency profiles for Customs professionals working in the public or private sector. The CustCompeu is used as a common basis to develop high-quality and consistent training programmes for Customs professionals. Recent developments and challenges in Customs, have required the update of the Risk Domain in CustCompeu, which has been renamed as the Risk Management Domain and all risk management related Operational, Professional and Management Competencies have been enhanced.

To further facilitate this alignment, the EU has taken the initiative to devise the EU Reference Training Programmes (RTP) for Academic Customs Education. Several of its sections have been revised based on the 2018-19 pilot Recognition cycle findings (EU RTP for Academic Customs Education, 2019 sectional revision).

The EU Reference Training Programmes comprise a suggested comprehensive list of training areas based on commonly agreed Customs-specific competencies, and cover the optimal learning content for Customs professionals across various higher education programmes:

  • Customs Master’s programmes
  • Customs Bachelor’s programmes
  • Customs modules within a Master’s programme
  • Customs modules within a Bachelor’s programme

Customs academic programmes aligned with the EU RTP for Academic Education that applied for the EU Recognition, obtained the EU Customs Certificate of Recognition, a label of excellence for Customs Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes (or modules within) in Europe.

Recognised Customs Academic Programmes

Recognised Customs academic programmes (or modules thereof) can make use of the official EU Customs Certificate of Recognition identification statement and are included in the publicly available list of EU Recognised Customs Academic Programmes.

What’s in it for you?

Value for Academic Programme Providers

Universities, business schools and colleges can promote the programme using the official EU identification statement and certificate.

The EU Customs Certificate of Recognition is a unique chance to benchmark the academic programme against the acknowledged competencies that will enable Customs professionals to successfully deal with future challenges.

Value for Customs Students

The EU Customs Certificate of Recognition quality label reassures candidate students that the programme will equip them with the competencies needed for a successful Customs career, both in Customs Administrations and private organisations.

An EU recognised Customs Bachelor’s or Master’s degree reassures employers that the candidate is well-equipped to start, or boost, a career in Customs with an optimal competency skill set, thereby improving the employee’s career perspectives.

Value for the Customs Union

The EU Customs Certificate of Recognition is a cornerstone in promoting the establishment of higher education Customs academic programmes. As such, it drives consistency in the quality, design and delivery of these programmes throughout the European Union. This will in turn boost the performance of Customs in Europe through more unified Customs programmes that arm their participants with the competencies they need for a successful career.

Awarding process overview


The EU Customs Certificate of Recognition targets Customs-specific Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes (or modules within) offered by universities, business schools and colleges in Europe.

Application period

  • New applications for the EU Customs Certificate of Recognition should be submitted from September 2023 to January 2024!
  • Applications for the renewal of the EU Customs Certificate of Recognition should be submitted from  September 11, 2023 to September 29, 2023!

Eligible academic programmes should meet three criteria:

  • Be accredited in line with the Bologna Process (National or international accreditation for Master’s or Bachelor’s academic programmes (or modules thereof) is typically provided by governmental or officially authorised accreditation bodies. Academic programmes that have not been nationally or internationally accredited yet must demonstrate that the accreditation process is ongoing; The Bologna Process is a collective effort with the objective to: (a) introduce and implement a common three-cycle system for higher studies (Bachelor’s/Master’s/Doctorate); (b) level and strengthen quality of studies and; (c) allow for easier recognition of qualifications and periods of study.);
  • Be Customs-specific;
  • Be in line with the EU RTP for Academic Customs Education.

Application documentation

Interested parties can apply by completing the application documentation as follows:

  1. Complete the Initiation Request Document, Form 1
  2. Complete the Academic Programme Outline, Form 2
  3. Complete the Competencies Addressed by the Programme, Form 3 (A-D), depending on the type of the academic programme:
    • Form 3A for Master’s programmes
    • Form 3B for Bachelor’s programmes
    • Form 3C for modules within a Master’s programmes
    • Form 3D for modules within a Bachelor’s programmes
  1. Complete the Deviations and Motivation, Form 4.


Submit the Application Forms and accompanying documentation (e.g. accreditation documentation, course catalogue etc.) to

Supporting material

To support universities, business schools and colleges in the application process, the European Commission has developed the following:

  1. a step-by-step Application Guide
  2. a pre-filled Sample Application template with extensive examples for all fields.

For detailed information, please see the EU Customs Certificate of Recognition ProcessEN•••


All applications are assessed by an international Assessment Board composed of training experts, academics and Customs professionals under the lead and supervision of the European Commission.

Applications that may be conditionally approved by the European Commission are required to go through the verification phase. The applicant had to take the required measures to meet the conditions set by the European Commission in obtaining recognition.

This initiative is supported by the EU Customs Programme.

More information?

For more information you can contact the EU Certificate of Recognition Secretariat via:

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