This is a modular structure offering a choice from six free-standing Certificates of Competency, so if a candidate works wholly in, for example, personal tax compliance they will be able to take an examination in that topic only. This will lead to the award of a Certificate of Competency in that topic.

For full membership, three written papers must be passed together with the two E-Assessments, and the experience requirements must be satisfied.

The Certificate papers are as follows with law, ethics and accounting issues examined in each paper, determined by their relevance to that paper. Each written Certificate paper examination is three and a quarter hours in length with 15 minutes reading time included. Each examination focuses on demonstrating achievement in:

Certificate Paper 1 – Personal Taxation

•  Preparing the information of income and capital gains to be included in the SA personal tax return and any associated computations.
•  Submitting the return and computations under UK self-assessment
•  Completing a client’s claim for tax credits.

Certificate Paper 2 – Business Taxation & Accounting Principles

•  Preparing the information to be included in SA tax returns for sole traders or partners.
•  Preparing the information to be included in the SA partnership tax return.
•  Preparing the information to be included in CTSA returns for companies.
•  Preparing any associated computations in relation to the above.
•  Submitting returns and computations under self-assessment and CTSA.

Certificate Paper 3 – Business Compliance

•  Dealing with employer obligations under PAYE, NIC and related matters under the tax system.
•  Completing and submitting VAT returns.

 Certificate Paper 4 – Corporate Taxation

Dealing with all aspects of the Paper 2 syllabus in more complex situations. This paper is not intended to be a corporate tax paper, rather it will focus on the taxes that affect corporate businesses and their owners.

Certificate Paper 5 – Inheritance Tax, Trusts & Estates

•  Preparing the information to be included in the SA Trust & Estate Tax Return.
•  Preparing any associated computations in relation to the above.
•  Submitting the return and computations under UK self-assessment.

Certificate Paper 6 – Value Added Tax

•  Preparing the information to be included in the VAT Return for a taxable trader
•  Computing any annual or periodic adjustments to be included in a VAT return.
• Being aware of any special schemes available for taxable traders generally, and to be able to complete returns where such schemes apply.

Examination pass mark

The pass mark for each CTA and ATT examination paper is 50% of the total marks. Candidates who receive a mark of 50% in any paper will be awarded a credit in that paper. It is not necessary to sit all the papers at the same sitting (although you may if you wish). The two E-Assessments can be sat separately. You will be able to sit the E-Assessments at a time of your choosing at examination centres throughout the UK. You will be asked to answer 60 questions on a variety of multiple choice and multiple response formats, in some cases related to a practical scenario. Alternative questions for Scots Law candidates will be provided where appropriate. To pass the paper, 40 or more questions out of 60 must be answered correctly.

Important CTA and ATT exam information

The written examination is held each year in May and November. You need to be registered as a student with us for at least six months before the first written examination you intend to sit, however you can sit the E Assessments 21 working days after your registration has been confirmed.

You should be registered by:
•  30 April for the November examination
•  31 October for the May examination of the following year.

You can register as a student and enter for the exams online via the CTA ( and ATT ( websites. You are not automatically entered for the exams when you register as a student.

The last date for submitting an examination entry is as follows:
•  28 February for the May examination
•  31 August for the November examination.

In exceptional circumstances the Institute and Association may, at its absolute discretion, accept an application for late entry (up to one calendar month after the initial deadline) on payment of an additional fee, currently £100. The papers can be sat in any order you wish.


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