CTA Results: The Effect Of a Global Pandemic?

The May 2020 examinations for CTA were held in June and July as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CIOT accelerated the introduction of online exams to allow those who had been preparing for the Application and Professional Skills paper (APS) to still do so. This was done be a remote invigilated system. The rest were sadly cancelled.

During an extremely uncertain time, a total of 291 people sat the exam and of which 64 individuals successfully passed and were eligible for membership to the institute.It was commented by Glyn Fullelove, The Institute President, that “the technology used was new to CIOT” and they know “it brought its own challenges to some candidates”. As a result, all those unsuccessful at this sitting were offered free entry for APS in either November 2020 or May 2021’s sittings.

Thursday 28th January 2021 marked a highly anticipated day for those who were awaiting their results from the November 2020 sitting. It was announced that 1,396 people took the exams and that 313 of which had been successful in completing all exams for membership (included in this were those who were studying for ATT/CTA and ACA/CTA joint pathways).

Given the cancellations May, it was only fair to compare the most recent results to those of November 2019, taken by 1,528 candidates. As follows is a breakdown and comparison of these results by examination:

Advanced Technical – November 2020

Paper Total sitting exam Candidates passed Pass rate
Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses 872 365 42%
Domestic Indirect Taxation 93 32 34%
Inheritance Tax, Trusts and Estates 139 68 49%
Human Capital Taxes 66 11 17%
Taxation of Individuals 612 358 58%
Cross-border Indirect Taxation 46 26 57%
Taxation of Major Corporates 298 176 59%

Advanced Technical – November 2019

Paper Total sitting exam Candidates passed Pass rate
Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses 697 264 38%
Domestic Indirect Taxation 57 15 26%
Inheritance Tax, Trusts and Estates 93 42 45%
Human Capital Taxes 42 22 52%
Taxation of Individuals 435 222 51%
Cross-border Indirect Taxation 58 35 60%
Taxation of Major Corporates 258 162 63%


Awareness – November 2020

181 candidates passed this paper out of a total of 275 sitting the examination. A pass rate of 66%.

Awareness – November 2019 

152 candidates passed this paper out of a total of 228 sitting the examination. A pass rate of 67%

Application and Professional Skills – November 2020

Paper Total sitting exam Candidates passed Pass rate
Taxation of Individuals 72 36 50%
Taxation of Larger Companies and Groups 77 34 44%
Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses 212 104 49%
Human Capital Taxes 31 12 39%
VAT & Other Indirect Taxes 16 7 44%
Inheritance Tax, Trust
& Estates
40 22 55%

Application and Professional Skills – November 2019

Paper Total sitting exam Candidates passed Pass rate
Taxation of Individuals 52 32 62%
Taxation of Larger Companies and Groups 53 27 51%
Taxation of Owner-Managed Businesses 216 119 55%
Human Capital Taxes 27 14 52%
VAT & Other Indirect Taxes 17 11 65%
Inheritance Tax, Trust & Estates 47 25 53%

In summary, highlighted in green are those that saw an increase in pass rate, whereas those highlighted in red saw a decrease. Bearing in mind the past year, the notable difference is the climate the exams were taken in. However, it was fantastic to see that several of the advanced technical papers saw an increase in pass rate. This is a period of change and pass rates are envisaged to increase as people get more used to online examinations.

Pro-Tax would like to extend their congratulations to those that received the exam results they were hoping for, it is a fantastic achievement. If you need career advice around next steps after CTA or salary advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

For those that did not get the results they were hoping for, please do not worry. These exams are not easy in any normal circumstance. This is a perfect time to reflect, dust yourself off and get ready to smash the exams next time round! If you are not receiving the support you need for your qualification, we are also here to help.

For more information on this article or for help with the next steps in your tax career after your CTA results, contact Dominic Watt on 020 7269 6310 or dominic.watt@pro-tax.co.uk.

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