Qualifications & Routes into Indirect Tax


The graduate training programmes instituted by the top firms in the late 1990′s are now a firmly embedded part of the indirect tax world. Accountancy firms of all shapes and sizes have formal training programmes in place.

The CTA (Chartered Tax Advisor) qualification is the most widely used as part of graduate training programmes. Indirect Tax specialists take the ‘Indirect Tax Route’.


The CTA Indirect Tax Examination Structure


Students take three modules from the Awareness paper (three hours in length):

  • Accounting
  • Other Indirect Taxes
  • One of either: Taxation of Unincorporated Businesses or Corporation Tax


Students take two Advisory papers (three hours in length plus 15 minutes reading time)

  • VAT onUKDomestic Transactions, IPT & SDLT
  • VAT on Cross-Border Transactions & Customs Duties

 Application & Interaction

Students take one Application and Interaction case study (three hours in length plus 15 minutes reading time).

  • VAT & other Indirect Taxes


Students take two E-Assessments (one hour in length)

  • Professional Responsibilities & Ethics
  • Law

Students must sit and pass the Awareness paper first unless certain other professional or academic qualifications are held, details of which can be found at the website www.tax.org.uk.


The Benefits of Professional Qualifications

Certainly, a professional qualification is a real advantage on your road to Indirect Tax ‘glory’ – whether you career lies in practice or commerce, a qualification is seen as strong evidence of your intellectual and professional capability.

Our dialogue with commercial organisations has revealed their increasingly stringent demands regarding qualifications, especially as in most instances Indirect Tax specialists are physically situated in a finance function and therefore must be able to hold their own amongst their peers. This is especially true in financial / City organisations.

This said, it must be remembered that the majority of Indirect Tax specialists have carved out very successful careers (whether in practice or commerce), unhindered by their lack of formal qualifications - it seems that ultimately there’s no substitute for great experience and attitude!

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