Expert reveals what to expect from tax study

Strong tax foundations are key to career success and education is the pathway. Here’s what you can expect from The Tax Institute.

Patrick Catena, CTA, is an independent consultant and CTA2B Advanced lecturer at The Tax Institute. His career spans public and commercial practice, and international tax experience in continental Europe working for one of the big 4.

“The fundamentals have not changed within the Australian tax industry, however the technical aspects are continually evolving” says Patrick.

“To be a proficient tax professional you need to have a fundamental understanding of our various tax laws and be able to work through relevant tax cases, ATO rulings etc.”

“The Government is continually updating the laws regarding international tax in order to ensure Australia is able to tax profits that have been earned in this country,” he explains.

“Australian tax professionals need to have a thorough understanding of domestic taxation laws and regulations together with a basic understanding of the taxation laws of countries where their clients have various operations.

“The challenge for tax professionals is to keep up to date with the ever-changing tax laws in Australia. I am a great believer in education for tax professionals,” continues Patrick.

Learning based on theory and practice

The tax profession can be a great career choice as long as practitioners get the basics right. Patrick advises new practitioners to start with the foundation studies together with on-the-job experience. Studying the core subjects to build your expertise to Chartered Tax Adviser status with CTA1 Foundations, CTA2A and CTA2B Advanced, and eventually CTA3 Advisory would be the next step.

Patrick says that, “studying The Tax Institute education program will provide tax practitioners the fundamentals they need, above any other program in Australia.”

“Students study the theory and during workshops explore how it will operate in practical situations.

“The Tax Institute’s education program is based on real life scenarios and advice you would provide a client; especially CTA3 Advisory, where students are putting 
letters of advice together,” he explains.

You get six weeks to write a letter of advice on a specific tax technical case study (where you have a choice of four topics). You will then receive a “late breaking fact”, and would be required to adapt your letter of advice under exam conditions.

“They're really great practical experiences with realistic problems that students need to work through to provide the best solution for their make-believe client, so to speak,” says Patrick.

Additional ways tax practitioners can maintain a strong foundation in this fast-changing landscape is to attend CPD events.

“I keep coming back to tax events because you're listening to established peers and are able to learn from them and network with them,” he explains.

“Ongoing learning is extremely valuable to your career because you will come out as an even better tax professional,” he says.

It’s not too late to hit your career goals in 2018. Stand out from your peers with an internationally respected Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) designation. Enrol before 5 November to save $100.


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