Tolley Exam Training CTA

The Chartered Tax Advisor exam is the gold standard of tax qualifications. Our training programme helps you to prepare thoroughly and choose the right route for your specialism. Study with our proven study programmes and benefit from our expertise in tax and training.

  • The Qualification
  • Choosing your CTA Papers
  • Pass Rates
  • Venues and Dates
  • The Chartered Tax Advisor exam is the gold standard of tax qualifications. Our training programme helps you to prepare thoroughly and choose the right route for your specialism. Study with our proven study programmes and benefit from our expertise in tax and training.


    • World recognised tax qualification
    • Specialist trainers, outstanding pass rates
    • Classroom, online and distance learning courses
    • Guaranteed Pass Scheme
    • Easy online application


    Unless all of your CTA exams have been passed by the November 2018 sitting, all CTA students will move into the "new structure"

    The main changes are that everyone will now have to sit the new case study paper (no exemptions will be given) and instead those with previous tax qualifications will be able to claim an exemption from the Awareness paper.

    Also anyone working towards CTA will have to pass the new CBE testing Accounting from 1 March 2019 onwards  - exemptions will only be given to those with an accounting qualification.

    For more info see the CIOT website here

    What do I need to do to gain the CTA qualification?

    Register as a student and apply to sit the exams

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

    You must also apply for a Confirmation of Eligibility. This is awarded to those who have passed the examinations set by various other professional bodies, for example the Association of Taxation Technicians and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.  You can get more details from the CTA prospectus, available from

    You must also, separately, apply to sit the 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.

    Study for the written exams and Computer Based Examinations

    Tolley Tax Training offers study and revision packages for all parts of the CTA examinations.

    We help you to prepare for and pass the two Advisory papers, the Awareness paper and the Application & Interaction paper. The two Advisory papers have a number of compulsory traditional long questions. In the Awareness paper you must answer short form questions from three modules, out of the seven modules available. Each module has 12 five-mark questions. For the Application & Interaction paper you answer one case study from a choice of four. Each paper is 3 hours and 15 minutes in length (including 15 minutes of reading time.)

    We also provide detailed guidance for the Computer Based Examinations, which use a very different style of question requiring specific learning techniques. See our guidance on How to Tackle the Computer Based Examinations for more information.

    Sit and pass four written exam papers and two Computer Based Examinations

    To become a member of the CIOT, you must sit and pass four written papers, two online Computer Based Examinations and have three years practical experience. Credits for the various papers may be available according to your previous qualifications.

    You must pass four written papers

    The CTA examination consists of three types of traditional written paper, which you can sit in May and November each year. The pass mark for each written tax paper is 50%. The results for the written papers are released in July for the May examinations and January for the November examinations.

    The three types are:

    Two Advisory papers

    The two Advisory papers aim to examine your knowledge at a detailed level. You should therefore choose the two papers that test topics relating most closely to your day-to-day work. Note that you cannot study the same topic at both Advisory and Awareness level.

    Choose from:

    • Taxation of Individuals
    • Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses
    • Human Capital Taxation
    • Inheritance Tax, Trusts and Estates
    • Taxation of Major Corporates
    • VAT on UK Domestic Transactions, IPT and SDLT*
    • VAT on Cross-Border Transactions and Customs Duties*

    *The combination of the two VAT Advisory papers are referred to as the CTA Indirect Tax Route.

    The Awareness paper

    The Awareness paper aims to examine core areas of the various taxes which you may not deal with on a daily basis and which do not form part of your chosen Advisory papers. For example, if you choose the Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses Advisory paper you cannot answer questions from the Taxation of Unincorporated Businesses Awareness module.

    Choose from:

    • Taxation of Individuals
    • Taxation of Unincorporated Businesses
    • Inheritance Tax, Trusts & Estates
    • Corporation Tax
    • VAT including Stamp Taxes
    • Accounting*
    • Environmental Taxes, Excise Duty and Stamp Duties*

    *only for those students taking the Indirect Tax Route or the Tax Pathway

    The Application & Interaction paper

    This case study paper aims to test your ability to apply the knowledge you have gained from the Advisory and Awareness papers to a practical case study, and to demonstrate how the taxes interact. You should also expect issues involving consideration of professional responsibilities, ethics and/or law to feature.

    You are expected to choose the case study that most closely matches your choice of Advisory paper(s). 

    The four case studies from which you choose are:

    • Taxation of Individuals, Trusts and Estates
    • Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses
    • Human Capital Taxation (from May 2017)
    • Taxation of Companies
    • VAT & Other Indirect Taxes

    You must also pass two Computer Based Examinations

    The Computer Based Examinations

    Each Computer Based Examination is a one-hour online examination, which you can sit at any time during the year.

    The pass mark for the Computer Based Examinations is 60% (30 correct answers out of 50 questions). You receive your result from the Computer Based Examinations immediately after it is attempted.

    You must pass the Computer Based Examinations by the closing date for examination entries for the sitting at which you wish to sit your final written tax paper.

    Find out more about the CTA qualification and examinations

    You can find more details of all the papers, registration and application processes and exemptions on the Institute's website at or call them on 0844 579 6700.

  • Choosing your CTA papers

    You can choose to sit all the CTA written papers together, or to sit them separately. That decision, and the order you choose, can be crucial to your exam success.

    The CTA qualification is built around the Advisory papers. They require the most detailed knowledge, and your choice of Advisory paper limits your choice for all other written CTA papers. Choose carefully because you cannot sit the same topic for both the Advisory and Awareness modules.

    Which order should I sit the papers in?

    The order of your papers, if you split your sittings, can help save you hours of extra study.

    CIOT requirements

    For the Indirect Tax Route only, the CIOT requires you to pass the Awareness paper first, unless you hold certain other professional or academic qualifications. Find the details on the CTA Indirect Tax Student registration form on their website.

    For all routes, the CIOT requires you to pass the Computer Based Examinations before the closing date for entry for the sitting when you wish to take your last written tax paper.

    Tolley Exam Training recommendations

    1. Pass your Computer Based Examinations first
      Take your Computer Based Examinations before you start studying for your tax papers. This way, you can focus first on the specific requirements of the Computer Based Examinations, and then on the written tax papers. Usefully, the credits for the Computer Based Examinations last for longer than the credits for written tax papers.
    2. Sit your Application & Interaction paper at the same time as you sit the related Advisory paper(s).The technical content for your Application & Interaction paper comes from your Advisory papers, so we strongly recommend you sit them together. Depending on the case study you choose there could be one or two related Advisory papers. So you will need to take at least two, and possibly three, papers at the same sitting. If you choose to sit the Application & Interaction paper separately, you will need to study your Advisory material again.
    1. Sit your Awareness paper before, or at the same time as, your Application & Interaction paper.

    The Application & Interaction paper can also test elements of any of the Awareness modules. So for best results we advise that you sit your Awareness paper before, or at the same time as, your Application & Interaction paper.

    Recommended schedules

    Here are some sensible ways of timing your tax papers, based on our experience with students.

    Advisory papers

    Sitting 1

    Sitting 2


    AW & AD IND




    AW & AD IND



    AW & AD OMB


    & AD VAT-CB-CD


    & APP VAT

    If you want to split your studies over more than two sittings, we recommend you discuss the order with us before applying to sit the exams.

    You might also consider planning your exam sittings to avoid having to update your knowledge to a new Finance Act. The exams for each calendar year usually test the Finance Act for the previous year (eg in 2017 the exams test Finance Act 2016).

    How long do I need to study for each paper?

    When you decide how to take your CTA papers, you should assess how much time you can realistically dedicate to your studies. Regular study and commitment to passing your exams are essential. Different people study at different rates and have different backgrounds, so it is difficult to give precise numbers of hours required. This is a rough guide:

    Advisory Papers

    Around 130-140 hours of home study for each Advisory paper, in addition to the classroom and revision courses. If you are studying by distance learning course only you are likely to need another 30-40 hours.

    Awareness Paper

    Around 110-120 hours of home study for the Awareness paper, in addition to the classroom and revision courses. If you are studying by distance learning course only you are likely to need another 30-40 hours. Don't underestimate the difficulty of the Awareness papers, the syllabus is wide and you are likely to have less practical experience of these taxes.

    Application & Interaction Paper

    Around 40-50 hours of home study for the Application & Interaction paper, in addition to the revision course, if you sit it at the same time as the related Advisory paper(s). If you sit it at a different time to the related Advisory paper(s) you will require much longer to refresh your technical knowledge, especially if you will be examined on a new Finance Act. If you are studying by distance learning course only you are likely to need another 15-20 hours for revision.

    If the CTA papers are split, what is the deadline to pass them all?

    The CIOT grants "credits" when you pass the written tax papers. Each tax paper credit is valid for the following 5 sittings. So if you pass a paper in May 2016 the credit is valid up to and including November 2018. If you do not pass the remaining papers by this time, you lose the credit and must retake the exam.

    The credits you gain in the Computer Based Examinations are valid up to and including the following 9 sittings.

    Do I qualify for exemptions or "Credits" from certain CTA papers?

    Before you register to take the exams, you should also check that you need to sit all the CTA papers.

    The CIOT awards credits for passes in particular previous professional examinations. ATT members who have passed both the Computer Based Examinations as part of their ATT exams get credits for both CTA Computer Based Examinations.

    You can find out about all the available credits and how to apply for them at the CIOT website

  • When you choose an exam training organisation, the most important measure of success is its pass rates. At Tolley Tax Training we are proud that we have always published our pass rates for all examinations, and that they consistently surpass the national average.

    Two distinguishing factors have helped our students to success, and will contribute to your exam success too:

    • Our targeted study material, which enables you to focus specifically on the requirements of your particular examination. Our comprehensive and flexible online study package lets you make the most of your study time, and study whenever and wherever you want; and
    • Our dedicated tutorial and client services team, whose unrivalled knowledge of the examinations and your options means that all your queries can be answered in one place. We offer the best service because our sole purpose is to provide training and advice for the tax examinations.

    CTA May 2017 Examinations

    Tolley Exam Training*

    National Average










    * Students who have studied with our Guaranteed Pass Scheme

    CTA November 2016 Examinations

    Tolley Exam Training*

    National Average










    * Students who have studied with our Guaranteed Pass Scheme
  • Dates and prices

    Download our course schedules to find out key course dates and prices for your Chartered Tax Advisor (CTA) course.

    CTA May and November 2018 examinations


    We now have nine regional training centres for CTA qualifications so you can now study at a centre convenient to you.

    Please find below a list of our training centres:


    Ramada Encore
    Belfast City Centre
    Saint Anne's Square
    20 Talbot Street
    Belfast, BT1 2LD

    First Intuition
    6th Floor
    City Point
    Temple Gate
    BS1 6PL

    Maple House
    150 Corporation Street
    B4 6TB

    First Intuition
    Tangent House
    16 Forbury Road
    RG1 1SB

    ManchesterNewcastle London

    icount Training
    16th Floor
    Manchester One
    Portland Street
    M1 3LD

    Newcastle Business Village
    Clavering House
    Clavering Place
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    NE1 3NG

    Lexis House
    30 Farringdon Street
    EC4A 4HH

    CCT Venues-Barbican
    Aldersgate House
    135-137 Aldersgate Street
    EC1A 4JA


    First Intuition
    1 Aire Street
    LS1 4PR

How to Apply Online

Applying online is easy, simply follow these steps:

  1. Select your papers
  2. Select your options (click the red box to un-select)
  3. Fill in your details
  4. Submit your application form

What is The Guaranteed Pass Scheme

The Guaranteed Pass Scheme is a way of ensuring you have the ability and confidence to pass first time with Tolley. Our experience shows that students who follow the Tolley training programme and provide regular study time have a very high chance of passing their examinations.

All eligible students enrolled with us on this programme will be given one free distance learning and revision course if, in the unlikely event, they fail their examinations. The Guaranteed Pass Scheme comprises of our distance learning course; taught classroom courses and revision course.

Other Ways to Learn

Distance Learning

At the heart of all of our courses is our distance learning course. By signing up for a distance learning course you get a wealth of targeted material that allows you to study in your own time and at your own pace, safe in the knowledge that your material has been written by our own tutors. Our Distance Learning material comprises: 

  • Study manuals
  • Question banks
  • Practice exams
  • Memory joggers
  • Revision question bank
  • Revision mock
  • Access to the Tolley Academy
  • FREE Online lectures from Tolley Tax Tutor to support your studies
  • Membership of the Tolley student forum
  • Personal study plan on Tolley Tracker

Online Distance Learning

For those students who wish to study exclusively online, we offer an online option at a reduced price which gives you everything from the traditional distance learning course apart fromthe printed manuals and question banks.

Click here to see what is contained in our Law & Ethics distance learning package.

Taught Classes

If you want to enhance the distance learning course and give your studies a kick start you can attend our taught classroom courses. Presented by one of our experienced tutors these courses will explain the technical topics in a straightforward way, focusing on the key areas for the examination.

Revision Courses

If you wish to fine-tune your technical knowledge and practice your exam technique then our question based revision courses are the perfect preparation for your exam. The revision course is not a time to re-teach the syllabus, instead it's is all about question practice and how to best approach those questions to maximise your knowledge and the marks.

November 2017 Retake Options

FA16 Material Package

Memory Joggers (available now)

These revision summaries cover the syllabus for each paper. 

Revision Question Banks (available mid September)

A comprehensive bank containing exam standard questions including many of the recent real CTA papers (updated to FA2016 where necessary), all with suggest answers. 

Revision Mock (available early October)

An exam standard question paper and the suggested answers and marking guide.

Revision Course Package 

Including all the elements of the FA16 Material Package plus:

Revision Course

A Revision Course where the emphasis is on question practice. Your tutor will give a detailed debrief after each question is attempted in class concentrating on exam technique and what you needed to do to get a clear pass on that question. The course includes the Revision Mock which is at the end of the course and then marked and returned to you in the post. Please see the attached schedule for dates and locations.

Question Day (London only)

CTA -  ADV IND 28 October 2017
CTA - ADV OMB 4 November 2017

2017You will work through a series of chosen exam standard questions totalling 100 marks. The question will be set individually to time and will be marked. Your tutor will give a detailed brief in class concentrating on the harder aspects of the answer, exam techniques and what you need do to get
a clear pass on that question. All questions with marks and feedback will be returned to you during the day.