CTA Exams

Starting my CTA after ACA

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Hi All, 

I have just become ACA exam qualified and was able to move within my firm across to CTX department to work on Corporate International Tax. I will be starting my CTA with first exams in November 2024. 

Just wanted to query if anyone else made such move in the past and how they found CTA after ACA? My plan is to Sit Awareness + AT OMB Paper together in May and then AT + APS in May 2025. Is that too ambitious of a plan or doable as I have heard that people say CTA is harder & requires more time/effort. In the past, I have sat 3x papers together for ACA but not sure how that will compare for CTA. 

Would love to hear about your experiences. 

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By Postingcomments
26th Apr 2024 13:16

CTA isn't as rock hard as some people/accountants make out. Certainly, if you're going to work as a proper tax adviser, it's pretty entry level compared to the work that you should soon be doing.

I wouldn't be put off by the reputation CTA has. That is probably mainly put about by accountants who struggled through their exams and it isn't as though CTAs are going to correct them. If accountants want to think of me as a Tax God, that's fine by me!

Experience helps, especially for the case study/application, but you'll have some by the time you sit the exams, so I don't see why you couldn't pass them if you put in the work. Make sure you'll have the time and willingness to put in the work. Personally, I preferred working hard at it and getting through quickly vs stringing it out for years.

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By Taxguy96
26th Apr 2024 15:56

I did the joint ACA-CTA programme. I found the CTA exams much harder than the ACA exams, but the skills derived from CTA are incredibly beneficial for a tax career.

Practical experience is probably something I lacked when I did CTA i.e. I was working in a mainly audit/accounts role. Having had a pure tax role for the past 5 years ish, I think that would help.

Good luck and I hope you join the ACA/CTA crew!

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By NewACA
30th Apr 2024 10:52

I did the ACA first, then the CIOT. I took all the CIOT papers I needed in a single sitting, so got qualified quite quickly. I had to have three attempts at one of the Advanced stage papers, and just scraped a pass at Audit at the professional stage. I did get my highest mark at the professional stage in the tax module.

I did the OMB and Personal Tax exams for the CTA, though I understand the Corporation Tax exam was the easiest from other students who were taking one or the other of the two I was taking. VAT probably is the most difficult, just due to very few people taking it so getting on a good course with good teachers for VAT is very difficult, with scarcity of resources (same again for the Trust exam potentially).

I think it terms of hardness compared to the ACA, I think its difficult to say. I did it 11 year ago, so possibly things may have changed. If you are a Maths person, I would say the CIOT is easier, it is less essay based and more solving tax issues with numbers compared to the ACA, though of course both of these two include such work and some essay writing.

I had to 3 attempts to pass one of the Advanced Stage exams, but passed all my CIOT exams first time, even though I took them at the same time. If you arethe type of person that did well say on the tax stuff at ACA, but not so well at the financial reporting or audit (like me) you'll find the CIOT exams easier. I came from a Physics degree background. If you are a linguist, a humanities person, then they might find the CIOT exams harder.

All the best of luck for the future.

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