Student Spotlight: Becoming a well-rounded tax lawyer1



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This month we talked to DJ Alexander, Lawyer at MinterEllison, and the Dux of CTA2A Advanced in Study Period 1 2021. He explains how the CTA Program has enabled him to efficiently identify tax issues for clients.

How did you begin your career in tax?

My career in tax is just beginning. In 2019 I completed a Bachelor of Laws and Commerce. I was able to incorporate five tax subjects into my degree and work as a research clerk in the tax team at MinterEllison during my studies.

I recently completed my graduate rotations at MinterEllison (in the Tax, Workplace and Dispute Resolution teams) and have settled back into the Tax team.

Why did you choose Tax Law?

Numbers have always come naturally to me, so tax law was an obvious choice when deciding on an area of law to practise. I have quickly become a 'tax nerd', and as a result, my new favourite books are the three volumes of the tax Acts – fantastic bedtime reading!

What was the reason for undertaking CTA2A Advanced?

I undertook CTA2A Advanced as one of the four required subjects of the Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) Program. After completing my practical legal training (PLT) and being admitted as a lawyer, I started the CTA Program to set myself up to become a more well-rounded tax lawyer.

What skill or knowledge areas have you gained by undertaking this subject?

I now have a greater understanding of a broad range of tax topics and can more efficiently identify important tax issues for my clients.

How did you juggle study, work and other commitments and perform so well?

My approach to CTA2A Advanced was to study consistently. I usually studied for 1-2 hours before and after work each day and more on the weekends. This strict schedule ensured I was able to manage my study and work commitments effectively. However, it resulted in significantly fewer hours of sleep. So the break after the final exam came as a welcomed reprieve!

Where to now for you when it comes to continuing tax education?

I will complete the CTA Program in February next year. From there, I may complete a Masters of Tax and the individual subjects offered by The Tax Institute (such as Corporate Tax).

What advice do you have for other tax professionals considering the CTA Program?

I strongly encourage other junior tax professionals to complete the CTA Program as it will expose them to a wide variety of tax issues that consistently arise in practice.

The Chartered Tax Adviser Program is an internationally recognised and respected mark of technical excellence and professional integrity which represents the pinnacle of the profession.

Ready to continue your education in tax? Find out more here.