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Qualifications Needed for a Tax Career

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 18 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Qualifications Needed For A Tax Career

There are professional qualifications needed for a tax career, and these will be particularly important if you decide to specialise. Professional qualifications are the best way to make rapid progression within any financial career.

The Route into a Tax Career

Having a relevant degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND) will help give you more of chance of gaining a good tax job. Employers will accept graduates with degrees in many fields but those with degrees in law, mathematics, business, and economics will be looked on favourably. Students with an HND in business, finance or accounting will also have a good chance of gaining a trainee job within the tax sector. However, this will all depend on the career path you intend to take, and studying for professional tax qualifications will be beneficial.

Qualifications for Tax Careers

The normal first step to take for those intending a career in tax is to sit the exams required to become a qualified tax technician. These examinations are held by the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT). Those studying for this qualification must pass four of the seven modules including Personal and Business Taxation, Accounting Principles, and Administration and Ethics. Becoming a member of the ATT will automatically qualify tax technicians to study and sit exams to become a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT).

Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT)

Once the CTA exams have been sat and passed then you will become a member of CIOT. You will then be qualified as a chartered tax advisor. Law graduates will automatically be eligible to sit the CIOT exams if they have passed the legal practice course. However to sit these exams you will need to have some form of relevant experience and training. For instance, to be eligible to sit the ATT exam you should have two years of relevant work experience and training. The CIOT requires three years of relevant work experience and training.

Tax Job Trainees

One of the best routes towards eligibility to sit these exams is to become a tax trainee in a tax firm, or an accounting or solicitors firm. You can also become a tax trainee within the industry and commerce sector and gain the relevant work experience needed to be eligible to sit these exams. If you have graduated as a certified accountant or a qualified solicitor then you will be eligible to study for the CTA exam. There may be other stipulations and some eligibility requirements depending on your individual work experience and qualifications. Contacting the ATT and CIOT for further information is a wise option.

Other Tax Qualifications

There is a huge range of tax jobs available to those who are qualified as accountants. Accounting qualifications are very useful for some tax jobs such as that of a tax inspector. Full membership in a variety of accounting associations will be beneficial if you are considering a tax career. Associations will include The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). If you are a fully qualified member of any of these associations you will increase your chances of a higher level tax job.

Fast Track Management Courses

Qualified graduates may be able to apply for a variety of fast track management courses run by the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Competition for places on this course is fierce. Candidates must show a high level of competence, and an honours degree is required. Recruitment procedures will include psychometric testing, two day assessments and telephone interviews. Those considering a tax career with the HMRC should visit their website for more information.

It is fair to say that a lot of study time and work experience is needed to gain qualifications in this career area. Employers should be able to help with advice and information on the best qualifications required for particular tax jobs. Gaining these qualifications is a necessity if you wish to further your career and achieve higher level tax jobs.

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