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‘Awareness’ is key to exam success

Sheridan Matthew Gray gives some tips on passing the corporation tax module of the CTA Awareness Paper

December 2017

There are no guaranteed questions on the corporation tax paper. However, a number of topics appear frequently, such as calculating a corporation tax liability, if and why expenses are allowable in a tax adjusted trading profit calculation and calculating the maximum capital allowances available.
The good news is that many of these frequently examined areas are also needed if you are studying the Owner Managed Business Advisory paper, so you will benefit twice from being strong on these topics.

Have an ‘Awareness’ of the whole syllabus: Although it is tempting just to focus on commonly examined areas, the whole syllabus can and at some point will be examined. Areas such as transfer pricing, controlled foreign companies and companies with an investment business have been examined before and have surprised underprepared candidates.
Although these more specialised topics may feel daunting, remember that this is an ‘Awareness’ exam and this is reflected in the level of detail needed for these topics. Review past exam questions to better understand the level of knowledge required.

Use your legislation: You will not need to use your legislation as much as for the Advisory papers (and potentially other Awareness modules). However, some considered highlighting in certain areas before the exam will help.
For example, previous exam questions for research and development have given different items of expenditure and required candidates to explain if the expenditure is qualifying expenditure or not. CTA 2009, s.1052 would be very helpful if this was to be examined again.
Equally, if a question asked for the deemed employment payment for a personal service company, ITEPA 2003, s.54 sets out the steps to the computation.

Attempt past exams: The exact same question will not appear again. However, as every question set must be five marks (and therefore five minutes to complete in the exam) it is understandable that similar questions will appear again and again as there are only so many ways to examine an area.
The more past exam questions you attempt during revision the more familiar you will be on how a topic could be examined.
• Sheridan Matthew Gray is a tutor with BPP Professional Education

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