Student Spotlight: CTA1 Foundations and the pathway to post-graduate study



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In this month's student spotlight, we spoke to not one, but three of our dux students of CTA1 Foundations. From joining the Australian tax profession overseas to setting a foundation for post-graduate study, each of our students began their journey with different education outcomes in mind.

Mark Kyriakou
Graduate Accountant
Mutual Trust

Vishal Gupta
Client Manager
Bates Cosgrave

Matthew Sowerbutts
Le Cornu Lewis Hancock

We wanted to learn more about why they chose to take this step, and what advice they have for other tax professionals considering beginning their post-graduate studies. Here's what they had to say.

What was the reason for undertaking CTA1 Foundations?

Mark: Mutual Trust provided me the opportunity to begin my post-graduate studies by completing the CA course or to become a Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) with The Tax Institute. By completing the core subjects with The Tax Institute, I found out that it also provides credits towards CA's tax units, so it killed two birds with one stone.

The CTA Program was recommended to gain a strong tax foundation for the day to day job and provide a pathway to a postgraduate qualification.

Vishal: I got an opportunity to join my family in Australia and took it. If you study tax and don’t practice, you forgot what you learn. My passion is tax. I needed to retrain; so my qualifications are recognised in Australia, and I can keep updated. The best part is that I learn something new every day.

CTA1 Foundations is part of the Tax Agent Program and a requirement of the Tax Practitioners Board. In addition to improving my tax knowledge, I intend to practice as a Tax Agent under my own banner.

Matthew: Le Cornu Lewis Hancock specialises in tax. The Firm encourages graduate accountants to complete the CTA1 Foundations subject to provide basic knowledge of various tax matters.

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

Mark: CTA1 Foundations provides a broad knowledge of applicable tax laws for individuals and enterprises, including a basic understanding of SMSF returns. The unit also encompasses CGT, GST and FBT issues and their relevant tax laws. My main learnings from this unit were within Personal Services Income, as I was not exposed to this previously. Although this was a minor part of the unit, I believe it helped me appreciate the various aspects for assessment when preparing clients returns.

Vishal: CTA1 Foundations exposes you to a wide range of Australian tax issues and is about tax fundamentals. Studying it has increased my depth of knowledge across many areas, including capital gains tax, GST and FBT.

While I have experience in the profession, Australian tax law differs from other countries, so I am always learning something new.

Matthew: The key areas of knowledge I gained were calculating tax payable and assessable income, deductions, capital gains and a broad overview of different structures.

The calculation of tax payable and assessable income topic stood out for me. It provided information regarding the calculation of tax offsets and when they need to be included, the implications of Medicare levy and Medicare levy surcharge, and other components included in calculating tax payable or refundable.

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

Mark: The Tax Institute provided a supportive learning environment. The content delivered was engaging and practical, so it could then be competently applied in the workplace. The CTA Program is a fantastic way to begin postgraduate studies.

Career-wise, this will cement my position and allow me to stand out amongst other tax professionals.

Vishal: There are too many instancees of average client advice. My advice is to formalise your education. Tax is a fascinating subject. The more you learn, the more you will know and improve the service you provide clients. 

Matthew: As completing income tax returns is a large part of my current role, I have been able to apply what I learned on numerous occasions. For example, what deductions clients can claim based on their occupation or what tax offsets they are eligible to receive."

CTA1 Foundations exposes you to a wide range of Australian tax issues, building skills to extend your career options, or the confidence to re-enter the tax profession. Developed and delivered by experienced tax experts, this is a thoroughly practical subject that can be applied to real-life situations.

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