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Got a question about the ACA-CTA Joint Programme? Take a look at some of our most frequently asked questions for more information and guidance.

About the programme

What is the ACA CTA Joint Programme?

The ACA CTA Joint Programme is a unique route for students looking to specialise in tax. It is designed to give students the opportunity to qualify with both the CIOT and ICAEW and become a member of both institutes more efficiently.

The programme offers two three specialist areas:

How long does it take to complete the Programme?

The programme may take between three to four years for a student to complete. This is dependent on workloads, scheduling of courses, hours of study and exam results.

What credits for prior learning (CPL) /exemptions are available?
  • For more information about the credits available for the ACA, please visit our credit for prior learning pages.
  • A CTA exam credit for passing remains valid for the next five sittings after the one at which the credit was obtained. Professional Responsibilities & Ethics passes will remain valid for the next nine sittings.
Can an employer offer the ACA-CTA Joint Progamme is and the ACA and CTA separately?

Yes. Employers have the flexibility to choose whichever qualification they think is most suitable for their students. For example, the traditional route which requires students to study both qualifications individually is likely to suit students who have not yet made the decision to specialise in tax, or perhaps work in a firm where there is limited time available to study and sit exams. So far, the programme has proved popular with students who are either already working in a tax role or have ambitions to become a tax professional.

How is the ACA-CTA Joint Programme different?

The traditional route would see a student complete all of the components of the ACA to become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, before registering as a CTA student, completing the CTA qualification and eventually applying for membership with the CIOT.

The ACA-CTA Joint Programme enables students to study the ACA and CTA qualifications simultaneously, allowing employers to design training programmes according to their organisation’s needs. The flexibility of the programme also enables students to progress and qualify more quickly than they would be able to traditionally.

Will students still gain two qualifications?

Yes. Students will still be eligible to gain both qualifications and use the designatory letters ACA and CTA after their names.


Can current ACA or CTA students join the Joint Programme?

Students can join the joint programme on the first day of their ACA training agreement (without any previous experience or knowledge in tax), or part-way through their ACA training. If a student starts part-way through, it is assumed they will be working in tax, but this is not a requirement.

Students signing up to the joint programme must meet the following conditions:

Can someone who has attempted the ACA Business Planning: Taxation paper still apply for the ACA-CTA Joint Programme?

If a student has already passed (or has sat and failed) the ACA Business Planning: Taxation paper, then they are not eligible to start the ACA-CTA Joint Programme.

How much does the programme cost?

All ACA-CTA Joint Programme students must pay the appropriate ICAEW and CIOT fees for student registration and exams.

Getting started

Is there a time limit for students on the Joint programme?

To gain both the ACA and CTA qualifications leading to membership of ICAEW and CIOT, students must complete the requirements of each institute.

Students can attempt ACA exams until they reach the maximum of four attempts. Students have no limit on the number of attempts on the CTA examinations. A CTA exam credit for passing remains valid for the next five sittings following the sitting at which the credit was obtained. Professional Responsibilities & Ethics passes will remain valid for the next nine sittings.

Is there any help for ACA CTA Joint Programme students?

Yes. Both institutes provide guidance and resources for their respective students.

ACA: Past papers, sample questions, skills webinars and exam resources for ACA students can be found on the ACA student website at icaew.com/examresources.

CTA: Past papers, suggested answers and Examiners’ reports for previous CTA examinations can be accessed from the CIOT website at: www.tax.org.uk/students-qualifications/studying/past-exam-papers.

How do students sign up?

Students must already be registered as ACA students before they can apply for the ACA-CTA Joint Programme. They will be asked to submit a copy of their ACA student registration confirmation email, with evidence of their student number, to CIOT. Providing they meet these entry criteria, CIOT will then register them on to the programme.

Will this programme help my organisation to recruit students?

The ACA-CTA Joint Programme offers a number of attractive benefits to both students and employers. Students who have decided that they want to specialise in tax will be able to qualify at an earlier stage – and gain two recognised relevant qualifications from the start of their training. Depending on where your students’ interests lie, the programme gives them the opportunity to choose from one of three specialist areas: