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 Advisory Papers. The Advisory 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 Advisory Papers you select.
  • Complete one Application paper which must be matched to the final Advisory paper selected. You are exempt from Application if you are ACA or ACCA* qualified.
  • Complete Law and Ethics Computer Based Exams. You are exempt from Law and Ethics if you are ATT qualified. These courses are self-study modules that you can supplement with recorded lectures.

Recommended Paper Combinations

Advisory SelectionsAwareness Selections Application 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, Newcastle, 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

Advanced Corporation Tax
VAT and other Indirect Taxes

Inheritance Tax, Trusts & Estates

Taxation of Individuals
Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses

Taxation of Companies
Manchester, London, Live Online

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.

ACA or ACCA* Qualified Pathways

 Sitting 1Sitting 2Sitting 3
Pathway 1 Select 3 Awareness Modules

Select 1st Advisory Paper
Select 2nd Advisory Paper -
Pathway 2 Select 3 Awareness Modules Select 1st Advisory PaperSelect 2nd Advisory Paper

ATT Qualified Pathways

 Sitting 1Sitting 2Sitting 3
Pathway 1 Select 3 Awareness Modules

Select 1st Advisory Paper
Select 2nd Advisory Paper

Select Application Paper matching the Advisory selection above
-
Take this pathway if you want to complete the qualification as quickly as possible.
Pathway 2Select 3 Awareness ModulesSelect 1st Advisory PaperSelect 2nd Advisory Paper

Select Application Paper matching the Advisory 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.

Sit your Awareness paper (made up of three selected modules) before or at the same time as your Application paper. The Application paper can test content from Awareness so it’s important to gain Awareness knowledge before you take your Application exam.

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 two one-hour CBE, one on Professional Responsibilities & Ethics and the other on Law.

Advisory

Candidates choose two of the below advisory papers:

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

Awareness

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

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

Application and Interaction

Candidates choose one of the below application and interaction papers:

  • Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses
  • Taxation of Individuals, Trusts & Estates
  • Taxation of Companies

eLearning

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

Advisory papers

Advisory papers

Objective

The objective of the Advisory papers will be to test your knowledge at an advisory 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
  • Advanced Corporation Tax

The Advisory 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
  • Advanced Corporation Tax

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 Advisory papers from the same group. In such circumstances, however, you will not be able to sit both papers at the same examination sitting.

Each Advisory 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 Advisory 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 Advisory 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 Advisory papers. In this regard, and for the avoidance of doubt, if you have decided to sit the Taxation of Owner- Managed Businesses Advisory 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. There will not be a requirement to obtain 50% of the marks in each individual module.

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

Application papers

Application papers

Objective

The objective of the Application and Interaction paper is to test the ability to apply to a practical case study the knowledge gained in sitting the Advisory 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 Advisory papers and Awareness paper modules, these being:

  • Taxation of Owner Managed Businesses
  • Taxation of Individuals, Trusts & Estates
  • Taxation of Companies

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 Advisory 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 Companies 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 and Interaction paper will take place on the afternoon of the second day of the examinations.

Law and professional responsibilities & ethics

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 & Ethics. The syllabus comprises:

  1. Professional Rules and Practice Guidelines – effective from 31 March 2011
  2. Professional Conduct in Relation to Tax – effective 4 January 2011
  3. PII Guidelines
  4. PII Regulations
  5. CPD Regulations and Guidance 2011

All of these publications are available for download without charge from the Institute's website.

You are also required to have an awareness of the following:

  1. The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
  2. Money Laundering Regulations 2007 – a summary of this is included with the material we will provide to you.
  3. CCAB Anti-Money Laundering Guidance (and Supplementary Anti-Money Laundering Guidance for the Tax Practitioner)

You do not need to download these documents as the required detail is included in the Essential Law book.

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.

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.

You will be allocated up to 50 questions to answer within the hour permitted for each CBE. At least 30 of the responses to the questions must be correct to pass each CBE.

The questions for a CBE will be randomly selected before you start the test and therefore each assessment will be unique.

A short section will be provided before the start of the hour-long CBE in order to allow you to familiarise yourself with the format of the examination.

The two CBE must be completed before candidates are able to enter for their final tax examination paper.

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*ACCA students must have passed the Advanced Tax P6 Paper.


CTA syllabus