A more flexible route to gaining key qualifications in tax may see firms benefit from more specialist tax trained employees in less time and at less cost.
The Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) and Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) launched a new streamlined route to the ATT and CTA qualifications at a reception in London on 15 June 2016 The new Tax Pathway will enable students to study for both the ATT qualification and the gold-standard CTA qualification together in potentially less time than at present, while maintaining the quality and rigour of the prestigious awards. Although a speedier study process will be welcomed by the industry, the ATT and CIOT are more keen to stress the greater flexibility the pathway offers to employers.
The reception attended by firms, journalists and senior members of both the ATT and CIOT coincided with the launch of a new internet hub which gives information about the new pathway.
Speaking at the event, Michael Steed, President of the ATT, said:=
“Both bodies have done an awful lot of work on this and we have been agile and very responsive to the needs of both students and particularly employers alike and we will be presenting to you tonight the result of those long and deep administrations.
“In a nutshell… it is faster, it is less time out of the office, a little bit cheaper and it is flexible but it still maintains that academic rigour that we require and the market wants – so what is not to love about that?”
As Michael mentioned at the function, the biggest benefit that employers and students may find with the new Tax Pathway will be that they can choose which ATT papers to sit at the beginning of their study path because no papers are mandatory at that early stage. This is complemented by flexible study options to suit everyone on the Tax Pathway, from classroom teaching to online distance learning.
Natalie Miller, a past ATT President, said:
“I did ATT and CTA in the traditional way and we are not removing those traditional options. What we wanted was something a bit more streamlined and a bit more connected – that is what we hope we have done. It is aimed at people that want to go on and do both qualifications. They want to go all the way with tax, in the nicest possible sense. We want to recognise the benefits and merits of both qualifications. We want to reinforce the benefits of the ATT level of studies.”
John Beattie, a former president of the CIOT, said:
“From a CIOT perspective, we believe this pathway maintains the underlying principle of a chartered tax adviser, how it shows an ability to understand tax legislation in both breadth and depth and to be proficient in applying that knowledge. The main focus point really is to cater for the many individuals who work in the various specialism areas of taxation that we now have. Again, within the pathway we have built in as much flexibility as possible and hopefully that flexibility will be attractive to people who specialise in the various areas of taxation or know from the outset especially when they work for larger firms what taxation they are going to be specialising in.”
He told the audience that from May 2017 there will be an additional advisory paper and an additional application question, both of which will be on human capital. He said it will ‘be useful to those people who maybe work in human capital, global mobility and employment taxes’.
John said there is no prescribed order to sit papers in the Tax Pathway apart from a student having to sit two ‘core one’ papers before they move on to other levels within the pathway. This means an individual can do ATT personal tax and corporation tax and then move on to CTA advisory taxation of individuals.
Students following the Tax Pathway route will spend less time out of the office as they will have one fewer exam to sit. The cost of qualifying is therefore likely to be less than following the sequential qualification route for ATT and CTA and students will be able to sit some exams earlier than if they had followed the sequential route. The exams are based on current tax law, ensuring students are up-to-date with the changing developments in the field of taxation. No pre-requirements are necessary before starting the Tax Pathway route, although students must be aged 16 or over and have a reasonable standard of English and maths.
CIOT Vice-President Ray McCann closed the formal part of the function at the University of Liverpool in London, by saying: “I would like more and more people who work in tax to be professionally qualified, personally I would like everyone who works in tax to be qualified. And the easier we can make it….the better, so the pathway gets my vote.”
He thanked ATT and CIOT for ‘what I am sure has been a huge effort’ and joked that creating the pathway ‘at times probably felt like climbing Ben Nevis the wrong way’.
(pictured: Beattie addresses the invited audience, flanked by Miller)
Blog: Hamant Verma, External Relations Officer, ATT and CIOT