The ACA professional level Business Planning: Taxation (BPT) exam is usually one of the middle professional stage exams sat by candidates.
This is the only ACA exam that has variations of the same paper (as of a few years ago). The Business Planning module gives students the choice between Tax, Banking and Insurance variations.
Although Banking and Insurance appear to be growing in popularity in recent sittings, it is still Tax which is by far the most popular and is the exam that I sat. Due to this, it is BPT which will be focused on in this post.
The BPT exam builds on the knowledge developed from the certificate level Principles of Tax (PoT) and although usually sat at the same time as Tax Compliance, also builds on many of the concepts which are introduced during that exam.
Unless candidates work in tax, I consider this exam to be very different from work they are likely to have done as part of their day job. However a solid foundation of tax knowledge is certainly beneficial for your future career (and also future personal finances).
Overview of Business Planning Taxation Exam
|Ethics and law||5-10%|
|Taxation of corporate entities||35-45%|
|Taxation of owner-managed businesses||20-30%|
Method of assessment
The BPT exam itself is 2.5 hours and given it forms part of the Professional level, it can only be sat in one of the quarterly exam periods, which are in March, June, September and December.
As such, in each exam sitting all candidates will be set the same questions.
The exam will consist of 3 longer form questions. One of these questions will be an integrated scenario carrying around 40 marks, with the other two questions carrying broadly even weighting.
Given that this exam is at the professional stage, students will also be permitted to bring in their own permitted materials.
How to pass ACA Business Planning Taxation exam
To pass the Business Planning Taxation exam you need to make sure that you have a broad knowledge of each area of the syllabus. The best way of doing this is by taking the time to master the past questions from the question bank, and to really make sure that you know why the answer is the answer.
It is also essential that you have very organised notes and know exactly where to turn when you see a certain topic appear in a question. The exam itself is very time pressured and therefore being able to find the correct section quickly will be a life saver.
Possibly the biggest but most basic tip to passing this exam is to make sure you READ the question. Many people fail this exam because they mis-understand a question after not spending adequate time reading the requirements, meaning students can go completely off topic. I would strongly recommend reading the question multiple times and making a brief plan before tackling any question.
How hard is the ACA Business Planning Taxation exam?
I would say that this is a very difficult exam and in my opinion is the hardest of all 15 ACA exams.
However, that is not to say that the exam is impossible; it’s not. As you can see from the pass rate, most people end up passing the exam. Make sure that you prepare well for the exam and you will be able to pass.
I would give this exam a 5 out of 5 for difficulty.
The pass rate for this exam is 78.50%.