CTA syllabus
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What's Needed to Complete CTA?

In order to gain your CTA qualification you must:

  • Select and complete two Advanced Technical Papers. The Advanced Technical Papers require the most detailed knowledge and ideally reflect your chosen specialism.
  • Select and complete three Awareness Modules. The Awareness Modules selected must not be the same subject as the Advanced Technical Papers you select.
  • Complete the Application & Professional Skills paper. You are exempt from Application & Professional Skills if you are ACA or ACCA* qualified.
  • Complete Accounting, Law and Ethics Computer Based Exams. You are exempt from Accounting, Law and Ethics if you are ATT qualified. These courses are self-study modules that you can supplement with recorded lectures.

Recommended Paper Combinations

Advanced Technical SelectionsAwareness Selections Application & Professional Skills SelectionCentre Availability
Taxation of Individuals

Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses
Corporation Tax
Inheritance Tax, Trusts & Estates

VAT and other Indirect Taxes
Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, London, Manchester, Southampton, Live Online
Taxation of Individuals

Inheritance Tax, Trusts & Estates
Corporation Tax

VAT and other Indirect Taxes

Taxation of Unincorporated Businesses
Taxation of Individuals, Trusts & Estates London, Live Online
Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses

Taxation of Major Corporates
VAT and other Indirect Taxes

Inheritance Tax, Trusts & Estates

Taxation of Individuals
Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses

Taxation of Larger Companies and Groups
Manchester, London, Live Online
Taxation of Individuals

Human Capital Taxes
Corporation Tax

Inheritance Tax, Trusts & Estates

VAT and other Indirect Taxes
Human Capital Taxes London, Manchester

Pathways to CTA

Depending upon whether you’re ATT, ACA or ACCA qualified you can take different pathways to complete your CTA qualification. Sittings take place every six months with exams in May and November. Choose a course that suits your learning style and check the timetable for course availability at your chosen centre.

ATT, ACA or ACCA* Qualified Pathways

 Sitting 1Sitting 2Sitting 3
Pathway 1 Select 2 Advanced Technical Papers Select Application & Professional Skills Paper matching the Advanced Technical selection above -
Take this pathway if you want to complete the qualification as quickly as possible.
Pathway 2Select 1st Advanced Technical PaperSelect 2nd Advanced Technical PaperSelect Application & Professional Skills Paper matching the Advanced Technical selection above.
Alternatively, spread your studies more evenly over three sittings.

You must pass the Computer Based Exams by the closing date for exam entries for the sitting at which you will sit your final written tax paper.

Modules and structure

The CTA new modular structure requires candidates to pass four written papers on taxation which can be taken separately or altogether. In addition there will be three one-hour CBEs, one on Professional Responsibilities & Ethics, one on Accounting and the other on Law.

Advanced Technical

Candidates choose two of the below Advanced Technical papers:

  • Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses
  • Taxation of Individuals
  • Inheritance Tax, Trusts & Estates
  • Taxation of Major Corporates
  • Human Capital Taxes

Awareness

Candidates choose three of the below awareness papers, but these cannot be the same as the corresponding Advanced Technical papers chosen.

  • Taxation of Unincorporated Businesses
  • Taxation of Individuals
  • Inheritance Tax, Trusts & Estates
  • VAT including Stamp Taxes
  • Corporation Tax

Application & Professional Skills

Candidates choose one of the below Application & Professional Skills papers:

  • Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses
  • Taxation of Individuals, Trusts & Estates
  • Taxation of Larger Companies and Groups
  • Human Capital Taxes

eLearning

The three CBEs, Accounting, Professional Responsibilities and Ethics and Law, must be completed before candidates are able to enter for their last tax examination paper.

Advanced Technical papers

Advanced Technical papers

Objective

The objective of the Advanced Technical papers will be to test your knowledge at an Advanced Technical level, on the areas of taxation which you choose, in accordance with the defined syllabus for each paper.

Detail

A three hour paper will examine each of the following:

  • Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses
  • Taxation of Individuals
  • Inheritance Tax, Trusts & Estates
  • Taxation of Major Corporates

The Advanced Technical papers will form the first day of the examinations and will be divided into two sessions. You will be required to sit two of the four papers.

The grouping is as follow:

Morning Session:

  • Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses
  • Inheritance Tax
  • Trusts and Estates

Afternoon Session:

  • Taxation of Individuals
  • Taxation of Major Corporates

It is considered that the groupings as shown will accommodate the choices of the majority of candidates who wish to sit the examination in a single sitting. There is no restriction on you choosing two Advanced Technical papers from the same group. In such circumstances, however, you will not be able to sit both papers at the same examination sitting.

Each Advanced Technical paper is a 'stand alone' paper. If you receive a mark of 50% or more of the total marks you will receive a credit in that paper.

You will be expected to answer all questions which make up the paper. The questions in each of the four Advanced Technical papers will be for either 10, 15 or 20 marks each.

Awareness papers

Awareness papers

Objective

The objective of the Awareness paper is to examine core areas of the various taxes which you may not deal with on a daily basis and which do not form part of your chosen Advanced Technical papers.

Detail

The paper will comprise one three-hour paper covering five modules. You will choose three out of the five modules and you will answer all the questions on each of your chosen modules. All Awareness modules must be attempted at the same sitting.

The modules are:

  • Taxation of Unincorporated Businesses
  • Taxation of Individuals
  • Inheritance Tax, Trusts & Estates
  • Corporation Tax
  • VAT including Stamp Duty

The modules answered at the Awareness level cannot be the same papers which you have sat, or intend to sit, as your Advanced Technical papers. In this regard, and for the avoidance of doubt, if you have decided to sit the Taxation of Owner- Managed Businesses Advanced Technical paper you are precluded from choosing the Taxation of Unincorporated Businesses module at Awareness level.

The format of each module will be 12 short-form questions. Each question will be worth five marks. To obtain a credit, you will be required to obtain 50% or more of the total marks awarded for the whole paper at the same sitting. You are also required to obtain a minimum of 21 marks out of the 60 marks available per module i.e. 35%.

The Awareness paper will take place on the morning of the second day of the examinations.

Application & Professional Skills papers

Application & Professional Skills papers

Objective

The objective of the Application & Professional Skills paper is to test the ability to apply to a practical case study the knowledge gained in sitting the Advanced Technical and Awareness papers and to demonstrate how the various taxes interact.

Detail

The paper will be in the form of a case study, which you will have three hours to answer. There will be a choice of case studies based on the Advanced Technical papers and Awareness paper modules, these being:

  • Taxation of Owner Managed Businesses
  • Taxation of Individuals
  • Inheritance Tax, Trusts & Estates
  • Taxation of Larger Companies and Groups

You will answer one of the three case studies worth 100 marks. The pass mark will be 50%.

The subject matter of the case study may include any of the items specified at Advanced Technical level for those topics. It may also include elements of any subject within any of the Awareness modules. For example, the case study on the Taxation of Larger Companies and Groups will be mainly corporation tax based but may also include areas such as shareholder issues, VAT and SDLT. Issues involving consideration of professional responsibilities, ethics and/or law should also be expected to feature in the case studies.

This will not be a 'time pressured' case study. The emphasis will be on allowing you to have time to submit a complete answer, thus demonstrating your ability to deal with practical situations.

The Application & Professional Skills paper will take place on the afternoon of the second day of the examinations.

Law and Professional Responsibilities & Ethics and Accounting

CBE

Professional Responsibilities & Ethics objective

The objective of this CBE is to test your understanding of the obligations of a Chartered Tax Adviser in the areas of Professional Responsibilities and Ethics. Questions will be based on the manual Professional Responsibilities and Ethics for the Tax Practitioner which is available to purchase from the Association.

Law objectives

The objective of this CBE is to test your knowledge of law within the relevant areas of tax. Questions will be based on the manual Essential Law for the Tax Practitioner which is available for purchase from the Association. If you have studied Scots law you will be allocated alternative questions compliant with that jurisdiction, where appropriate.

Accounting objective

The objective of this CBE is to test your understanding of those areas of accounting that are likely to impact upon a tax practitioner’s duties. You should understand how accounting applies to sole traders, partnerships and companies, and how users of accounts can analyse performance of a business.

Detail

Each of these CBEs will be of one-hour duration and made up of two different question types:

  • Multiple choice questions - where you will be required to identify one correct response from a choice of four.
  • Multiple response questions - where you will be required to identify several correct responses from a choice of up to six.
  • Drag and drop - where you will be required to drag the relevant answer to the correct location (called a “drop zone”) onscreen.
  • Select from a list of questions – where you will be required to identify the correct response from the options presented in the drop down box.

Each question type is worth one mark. You will be allocated the relevant number of questions to answer within the hour permitted for each CBE. At least 60% of the responses to the questions must be correct to pass each CBE.

The questions for a CBE will be selected before you start the test.

Some sample questions will be provided before the start of the actual CBE in order to allow you to familiarise yourself with the format, but the best way to familiarise yourself of both the style and type of questions and how you will be tested on the day is to take the mock exams that are available on the ATT website.

Elements of the accounting material is examinable in the Certificate Papers. Guidance will be provided in the relevant Study Programmes as to which areas should be covered.

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*ACCA students must have passed the Advanced Taxation (P6) Paper.


CTA syllabus