Tolley Exam Training ATT/CTA Tax Pathway

The Association of Taxation Technician and The Chartered Institute of Taxation have recently announced a joint pathway called 'Tax Pathway'. The Tax Pathway provides a streamlined and efficient route of obtaining both ATT and CTA qualification without reducing the quality and rigour of the qualifications.

  • The Qualification
  • Suggested Routes
  • Pass Rates
  • The Tax Pathway is a route to membership of both the Association of Taxation Technicians and the Chartered Institute of Taxation and brings together the exceptional tax compliance knowledge delivered by the ATT qualification with the CTA, the gold standard of quality for tax professionals.  The Tax Pathway enables students to study for both the ATT and CTA qualifications and become members of both bodies in less time, without reducing the quality and rigour of the qualifications. Ideal for both new students and current ATT students.


    • Your route to two specialist tax qualifications
    • Specialist trainers with outstanding pass rates
    • Face-to-face classroom, online and distance learning courses
    • Guaranteed Pass Scheme
    • Easy online application

    What do I need to do to apply for the Tax Pathway?

    Register as a student and apply to sit the exams

    You must register as a student with the ATT and be at least 16 years old, four months before your examination.

    You must also apply separately to sit the written exams direct with the ATT and or CTA:

    • by the end of February for the May sitting; and
    • by the end of August for the November sitting.

    You can enter for the Computer Based Examinations at any time following the acceptance of your student registration.

    Current ATT students can join the Tax Pathway provided they have passed no more than two of the ATT written papers (they may also have already passed one or both of the Computer Based Examinations). There will be a facility to transfer their registration on the ATT website from 1 September 2016.

    Current CTA students can also transfer onto the Tax Pathway. For more details on transferring onto the Tax Pathway please see the ATT & CIOT FAQs.

    ATT students who are registered Tax Apprentices on the Higher Apprenticeship in Professional Services, or who register before June 2017, can join the Tax Pathway. However, they will have to sit a third ATT written paper rather than the CTA Awareness paper. After June 2017 it is expected that all new Apprentices will register for the Trailblazer Professional Taxation Technician Apprenticeship which will give them the facility to choose to sit either a third ATT written paper or the CTA.

    The Five Elements to the Tax Pathway – How it works


    Students sit two ATT papers of their choice. There is complete flexibility as to which papers are taken.  These two papers must be sat and passed before the CTA Advisory or CTA Application and Interaction elements are attempted.

    These papers are sat in May and November each year and you can sit any number of papers at a time. For each paper passed you are entitled to apply for a certificate of competency from the ATT.

    The papers are:

    Paper 1 – Personal Taxation;

    Paper 2 – Business Taxation & Accounting Principles.

    Paper 3 – Business Compliance;

    Paper 4 – Corporate Taxation;

    Paper 5 – IHT, Trusts & Estates; and

    Paper 6 – VAT.

    Each paper can also test elements of Law and Ethics

    The written papers are split into short form questions and between three and six longer style questions that are a mixture of computational and written questions. Each paper is 3 hours and 15 minutes in length (including 15 minutes of reading time)

    The pass mark for each certificate paper is 50%. The results are released in January for the November examinations and July for the May examinations.

    You are allowed to take certain publications into the examination.

    For further details on the ATT qualification please see here.


    Students can either sit a third ATT paper, or the CTA Awareness paper. At this point, students should note that if they choose to sit the Awareness paper, the modules they take cannot be the same as those taken at the CTA Advisory stage.

    Take a look at Tolley's suggested routes for some possible options and also pitfalls to avoid.

    For further details of the CTA Awareness and Advisory papers please see here.


    This stage comprises the Law and Ethics examinations, which are assessed as Computer Based Examinations (CBEs). These examinations are a core part of the ATT and CTA qualifications so must be passed before ATT membership can be achieved. Both examinations must be passed before you can enter for your final written CTA paper.

    Each Computer Based Examination is a one-hour online examination of multiple choice and multiple response questions, 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 the results from the Computer Based Examinations after it is attempted.

    Tolley Exam Training offers a range of study packages for both computer based examinations. For further details see Law and Ethics

    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.

    At this point, students are eligible for ATT membership provided they have also achieved two years' work experience in taxation


    In this stage, students sit two CTA Advisory papers. If the student has already taken three ATT papers, then the student can choose freely which Advisory papers they wish to take. If the CTA Awareness paper has been taken, then the Advisory papers must cover different specialisms.


    Students can select the appropriate case study question from the Application and Interaction paper.

    For further details of the CTA Advisory AND Application and Interaction papers please see here.

    Find out more about the Tax Pathway qualification and examinations

    You can find more details of all the papers, registration and application processes and exemptions on the Institute's website at

  • There are many combinations of papers and routes that you can take as part of the Tax Pathway.  The key is to identify which areas of taxation you are both interested in and keen to understand further and which would most benefit your career in taxation.

    Here are some possible combinations:



    There is an important decision to be made at Core Knowledge Acquisition (2) between taking a third ATT paper and CTA Awareness.  The step up from an ATT to a CTA paper is a significant one that many students historically struggle with. Taking Awareness at this point will be demanding as it requires students to attempt a CTA paper earlier on in their studies than would have previously been the case. Choosing a third ATT paper instead may seem a more straight-forward option as it also exempts students from CTA Awareness. However this exemption may adversely impact students once they reach CTA Application and Interaction as Awareness is assumed knowledge at the Application stage.

    Whichever route you choose Tolley will ensure that you have all the requisite syllabus knowledge and are fully prepared for each examination.

    Find out more about the Tax Pathway

    You can find more details of all of the papers and the exemptions available at or call them on 0844 251 0830.

  • 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.

    View our recent ATT pass rates

    View our recent CTA pass rates