The style and format of the ATX (UK) exam
The ATX (UK) exam is offered in paper format only. Candidates are given three hours and 15 minutes.
ATX (UK) differs from TX (UK) in that not all of the questions are compulsory.
ATX (UK) consists of two sections, A and B.
Questions 1 and 2 in Section A are compulsory, and are worth 35 and 25 marks respectively.
Question 1 will include 4 professional marks.
Questions 3, 4, and 5 in Section B are each worth 20 marks.
Candidates are required to answer two of these Section B questions only.
The whole of the syllabus is examinable throughout both sections of the exam.
The Section A questions require candidates to analyse the information provided and to use any guidance given to help address the requirements.
Both questions are likely to deal with a number of different taxes and Question 1 will require a report, letter, memo or meeting notes as part of the answer.
Because Section A questions are relatively large, careful time management is important, and candidates are advised to use the number of marks allocated to each requirement to determine how much time to spend on each part.
The Section B questions contain an introductory paragraph, which outlines the technical areas within the question, together with concise structured information and sub-headings to make them easier to assimilate and navigate.
This enables candidates to determine which two questions to answer without having to read the whole of the question, which may be useful due to time pressure.
Throughout the exam, candidates are expected to be able to identify issues, as well as demonstrate detailed knowledge of the tax system. In line with this emphasis on practicality, questions may require candidates to address ‘the UK tax consequences’ of a given situation without indicating which particular taxes to consider.
It is up to candidates to identify the relevant taxes, and the issues in respect of those taxes, before beginning their answers.
Calculations are normally only required in support of explanations and advice, and not in isolation.
Again, it is often up to candidates to decide what calculations to produce in order to do this in the most efficient manner.
Advice on how to approach a given problem may be provided in the question.
There is no specific allocation of numerical calculation versus narrative balance within TX (UK) and ATX (UK).
However, in practice, TX (UK) is weighted towards numerical calculation approximately 60 to 85% whereas ATX (UK) is weighted 60 to 70% towards narrative explanations.
In both exams, the ability of candidates to be able to explain their treatments and opinions is vital.
It is important to note that this does not mean that candidates need to have perfect grammar or spelling; it means that they need to make themselves understood.
ATX (UK) has four marks within Question 1 for professional skills, known as professional marks.
In order to score well, candidates first have to satisfy the requirement in relation to the style and format of the document requested.
Further marks are then available for providing clear explanations and coherent calculations.