CTA exam teaches global tax skills

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 July, 2012, 12:00am


Hong Kong plays an important role as an international financial hub in the global economy. To cope with ever-increasing amounts of global trade, effective tax planning and management is essential. In light of this, the Taxation Institute of Hong Kong (TIHK) provides a comprehensive Certified Tax Adviser (CTA) Qualifying Examination programme to promote the study of taxation and elevate the standard of tax professionals in Hong Kong.

The programme is designed to meet growing market needs, provide a benchmark for new entrants to the profession, and enhance the confidence of employers towards tax professionals holding the qualification. The exam consists of four papers - Hong Kong tax, international tax, China tax and advanced taxation practice. All papers are in written format.

The programme was launched in 2010. Last year, 34 people took the exam, with 60 per cent passing. For the individual papers, the pass rates were 67 per cent for Hong Kong tax, 31 per cent for international tax, 67 per cent for China tax and 75 per cent for advanced taxation practice.

'As an international city, we deal with an increasing amount of businesses and trades outside Hong Kong, especially mainland China,' says TIHK president Philip Hung.

'Hong Kong has also signed agreements for the avoidance of double taxation with many countries. A tax expert should be conversant in China tax and international tax, in addition to being knowledgeable in Hong Kong tax,' he adds.

The programme aims to ensure that all CTAs have a thorough knowledge in taxation with a high level of competence.

The CTA qualification is accredited by a number of accounting firms and enterprises, including KPMG - one of the Big Four international accounting firms. Many tax professionals are now studying the CTA qualification with the aim of upgrading their status in the industry, Chung says.

The exam can be taken by students or practitioners who are 18 years old or above and hold a university degree, or aged 25 or above and possess no less than five years of recognised experience in the field of taxation. Those who have successfully passed the exam and gained relevant working experience will be awarded the CTA designation by TIHK.

To maintain CTAs' professional standards and ensure their taxation knowledge is up-to-date, TIHK provides mandatory continuing-professional-development training. It also requires all CTAs to attend seminars or courses conducted by TIHK or other accredited organisations in person to keep all members abreast of tax updates.