How CTA qualification works

The CTA examination consists of three types of traditional written paper as well as online computer based examinations. To become a member of the ClOT, candidates must sit and pass four written papers, three computer based examinations and have three years practical experience.

The traditional written papers are:

The Advanced Technical papers

There are seven three hour and 15 minute Advanced Technical papers and candidates have to choose two. The questions are traditional, written, long form style.

The available papers are as follows:

  • Taxation of Individuals
  • Taxation of Owner Managed Businesses
  • Inheritance Tax, Trusts & Estates
  • Domestic Indirect Taxation
  • Cross-Border Indirect Taxation
  • Taxation of Major Corporates
  • Human Capital Taxes

The Awareness paper

This is a three hour paper where candidates answer short form questions from three modules out of the five modules available. The three modules are partly dictated by your choice of Advanced Technical papers as you cannot select the same area of taxation for both papers. So for example, if you choose the Owner-Managed Businesses Advanced Technical paper you cannot answer questions from the Taxation of Unincorporated Businesses Awareness module.

The five available modules are:

  • Taxation of Individuals
  • Taxation of Unincorporated Businesses
  • Inheritance Tax, Trusts & Estates
  • Corporation Tax
  • VAT including Stamp Taxes

The Application and Professional Skills paper

This is a three hour and 15 minute case study paper where candidates answer one case study from a choice of six. There is a free choice but it is expected that you will choose a case study that most closely matches one of your Advanced Technical papers.

The six case studies from which you choose are:

  • Taxation of Individuals
  • Inheritance Tax, Trusts and Estates
  • Taxation of Owner Managed Businesses
  • VAT & Other Indirect Taxes
  • Taxation of Larger Companies and Groups
  • Human Capital Taxes

The computer based examinations

Candidates must also sit and pass three computer based examinations in:

  • Law
  • Accounting
  • Professional Responsibilities & Ethics.

Each is a one hour online examination which can be sat at any time however they must be completed by the closing date for examination entries at which you wish to sit your final written tax paper.  For example if you plan to sit your final written paper in November 2020 then all computer based exams must be passed by 31 August 2020 (certain transitional rules apply in 2019 to the Accounting computer based examination).


An exemption is available from the Awareness paper and also from one or more of the computer based examinations for students that have certain prior qualifications. The most common qualifications are:

  1. Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT)
  2. Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
  3. Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  4. Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
  5. Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI)

For a full list of available exemptions please go to the CIOT website.

You must register as a student with the Chartered Institute of Taxation at least four months before you can apply to sit the exams. So you must be registered by the end of December for the May examination, and the end of June for the November examination.

You must also, separately, apply to sit an examination, by the end of February for the May examination and the end of August for the November examination. You can enter for the Computer Based Examinations at any time following the acceptance of your registration as a student.

Permitted texts

You are allowed to take certain publications into the examination. We recommend Tolley’s Yellow and Orange Tax Handbooks, which our tutors will be using on our courses.