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Frequently asked questions about the ACA CTA Joint Programme, if you have a question that is not included here, contact us.

About the programme

What is the ACA CTA Joint Programme?

CIOT and ICAEW have created a joint programme which leads to membership of both institutes.

The programme offers two routes where students can either specialise in the tax affairs of FTSE 350 companies or other large corporates, or in indirect tax from the start of their training.

Can an employer offer the Joint Programme and the ACA and CTA separately?

Yes, there is complete flexibility to all employers. 

Can an employer offer this and the ACA and CTA separately?

The traditional, individual route to both qualifications is likely to be more attractive to students who either have not made the early decision to specialise in tax or may work in a firm where the time periods required to study and sit exams are not available to them. ICAEW and CIOT expect the Joint Programme to be popular with students seeking training agreements with a view to becoming a tax professional. However, the Joint Programme will be challenging as students will be required to pass exams in tax at a deeper level at an earlier stage in their career than those pursuing the CTA after they complete the ACA.

Can current ACA or CTA students join the Joint Programme?
Students can join the Joint Programme if they meet the following conditions:
  • ACA students who have not completed the Professional Level Business Planning: Taxation module; or 
  • CTA students who have not passed the two CTA Advisory Papers or the CTA Advanced Corporation Tax Advisory Paper. 
Do students have to work in a tax role?

The Joint Programme and the TMC Paper assumes that candidates will be in a tax role, gaining practical experience of the taxation of major corporates (primarily FTSE 350 companies). The indirect taxation route assumes that candidates will be in an indirect taxation role.  

How do ICAEW and CIOT work together on the Joint Programme?

ICAEW and CIOT work together to review the syllabus and consult with stakeholders to ensure that the Taxation of Major Corporates Paper continues to meet the needs of major corporate practices.

How do students sign up to the Joint Programme?

Students must be registered as ACA students before they can apply for the Joint Programme. A copy of their ACA student registration communication confirming their ACA student number must be submitted to the CIOT to register them onto the Joint Programme.

How is the joint programme different?

Under the traditional, individual route to qualification of both ICAEW and CIOT, students undertake the ACA by successfully completing professional development, ethics and professional scepticism, 3-5 years practical work experience and 15 accountancy, finance and business modules. Once students become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant they then register as a CTA student, complete the CTA qualification and apply for membership of the CIOT.

The Joint Programme enables students to study the ACA and CTA qualifications simultaneously, allowing you to design training programmes according to your organisation’s needs.

How long does it take to complete the Joint Programme?

It is anticipated that students will take as little as three to four years to complete the programme.  This does depend on workload, scheduling of courses, study and exam results.

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 a maximum of four attempts at each Certificate and Professional Level exam. There is an unlimited number of attempts at the Advanced Level exams.

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

What credits for prior learning (CPL) /exemptions are available?

For the ACA please see the credit for prior learning pages.   

What fees are involved?

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

Will students still gain two qualifications?

The membership requirements for both ICAEW and CIOT remain the same regardless of the chosen route, and students will be able to use the designatory letters ACA and CTA.

Will this Joint Programme help to recruit students?

Students who have decided that they want to specialise in tax will become qualified in tax at an earlier stage – offering them two qualifications relevant to their career from the start of their training.

It is more efficient for employers and students as it removes the duplication with mutual recognition of the strengths of each institutes’ syllabi. The same tax knowledge and competencies are not examined twice.

The programme offers two routes where students can either specialise in the tax affairs of FTSE 350 companies or other large corporates, or in indirect tax from the start of their training.

Taxation of Major Corporates route

Why have we created the Taxation of Major Corporates paper?

The Taxation of Major Corporates Paper is intended to appeal to students who work in practices which service FTSE 350 or similar sized businesses. The syllabus has been developed jointly by ICAEW and CIOT to provide more focus for ICAEW Chartered Accountants who are advising major corporates on tax.

Is the TMC Paper available to all ACA and CTA students?
Currently the TMC paper will only be available to Joint Programme students.
Are there learning materials for the Taxation of Major Corporates Paper?

Yes. Taxation of Major Corporates has specifically developed learning materials comprising a study manual and question bank. To order the learning materials visit the CIOT shop here.

When should students sit the Taxation of Major Corporates paper?

Students must have attempted the Taxation of Major Corporates paper before being able to sit the ACA Case Study. It is advised that the paper should not be attempted by anyone with less than two years corporate tax experience. 

When are the Taxation of Major Corporates exam sittings?

The Taxation of Major Corporates paper will be sat at the same time, and at the same venues, as the ACA Advanced Level exams in July and November. 

Does passing the ADIT paper as part of this Joint Programme give me the ADIT qualification?

No. To gain the ADIT qualification students are required to register as an ADIT student and complete the requirements of this qualification. If a Joint Programme student chooses and passes an ADIT paper, it will count towards the ADIT qualification and will be valid for five years from the date of passing. If the ADIT qualification is not completed within this five year period, the student will have to sit the same paper again or another ADIT paper.