The ACA professional level Tax Compliance (TC) exam is likely to be one of the middle professional stage exams sat by candidates.
This exam builds on the knowledge learnt from the certificate level Principles of Tax (PoT) exam and introduces some much more complex areas of Taxation which is further built on in Business Planning Tax (BPT).
Unless you work in tax, I would say that this exam is not the most transferable to your day-to-day work, especially if you work in audit. However a solid foundation of tax knowledge is certainly beneficial for your future career.
In this exam, those who work in tax have an advantage in that the exam is very familiar and is similar to actual work you will likely already be doing. However, that is not to say that those who don’t work can’t pass the exam. In general this exam should be more than passable for all candidates.
Overview of ACA Tax Compliance exam
|Ethics and law||5-10%|
|Income tax and NIC||30-40%|
Method of assessment
The TC 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 consists of 5 longer form questions which will carry a broadly similar weight. In total, these 5 questions test each syllabus area as a discrete topic.
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 Tax Compliance exam
My biggest tip for this exam would be to get to master the income taxes section of the syllabus. Not only does this topic area carry the most weight, but you will find that these questions are very similar in terms of what they are asking – meaning that you will quickly learn how to maximise your marks.
You need to make sure your copy of the tax is tabbed up in a way which allows you to quickly flick to a specific section in a matter of seconds. You will learn that the answer to many of the exam questions will be hidden inside this book, and therefore being able to quickly navigate to the answer is a huge help in this exam.
My other big tip to ace this exam is to complete every past question relating to indirect taxes (VAT). In my opinion these questions are the easiest on the whole paper and given enough practice, it should be possible to pick up every mark for these questions, meaning you could be pocketing 15% if you play your cards right!
As with previous exams, practice is key in this paper. The question bank will be key in passing the exam so make sure you have answered a good selection of questions from each key syllabus areas (as noted above).
How hard is the ACA Tax Compliance exam?
I would say that this is middle of the road in terms of difficulty when compared to all 15 ACA exams. I found this exam tricky to begin with but once you master the question bank and tab up your tax tables, you should have no problem passing the exam.
I would give this exam a 3 out of 5 for difficulty.
The pass rate for this exam is 87.90%