Advanced Taxation (ATX) essentials on one page

How to approach the Advanced Taxation
(ATX) exam

This is an advanced level exam which builds upon the knowledge and skills examined in the Taxation exam.

ATX: about the exam

You will need a detailed knowledge of the ATX-UK syllabus. This includes assumed knowledge of technical areas brought forward from the TX-UK syllabus, which must be refreshed and updated for the examinable Finance Act.

Be aware that:

  • All questions will be scenario-based
  • All questions will contain a mixture of computational and discursive elements
  • More than one topic area of the syllabus may be examined in each question
  • Questions may involve:
    • Consideration of more than one tax
    • Some elements of planning
    • The interaction of taxes.

ATX – ‘Think more – write less’

Heed this mantra from the examining team to improve your performance.

Requirements are everything – What have you been asked to do? What do you not need to do? How will you do what the requirement is asking? Planning your answers is crucial. Have you identified the relevant issues?  Have you thought about the point you want to make, before you start writing? This will help you to write concisely. Make sure you know why you’re doing a particular calculation before you prepare it. Will it help you to answer the requirement?

Preparation advice from the examining team

  • ‘Know your stuff’ – you must:
    • Have thorough, precise knowledge of the entire syllabus
    • Refresh brought forward knowledge from the TX-UK syllabus
  • Practice questions under exam condition in the ACCA Practice Platform
  • Learn how to spot “triggers” which are there to point you towards the required answer
  • Be prepared to answer questions on ethical issues
  • Be ruthless in critiquing your answers.

Tackling the exam

These are not mutually exclusive, for example:

  • “Prepare the following notes and calculations…”
  • “Calculate … with supporting explanations …” and
  • “Explain … with supporting calculations …”.

Tips for success in the ATX exam

  • Identify all the requirements in the Section A case study question
  • Allow sufficient time to analyse requirements into all constituent parts to ensure every part is answered
  • If given certain figures to use, do not waste time recalculating them
  • Relate any calculation or discussion to the context in the given scenario
  • Do not waste time addressing issues which have not been asked for
  • Appreciate that professional skills are required throughout all answers to achieve high marks
  • Ensure you are familiar with the CBE environment (refer to key resources links below).

How to demonstrate professionalism

Question one will include 20 professional skills marks and five ethics marks. Questions two and three will both include five professional skills marks. Marks may be awarded for:

  • Overall presentation of the requested format
  • The approach taken to problem solving
  • Clarity of explanations and calculations
  • Relevant advice
  • Effectiveness of communication
  • Appropriate consideration and response to ethical issues.

Key resources