Student Spotlight: Applying knowledge from the CTA2A Advanced subject to day-to-day practice




This month we talked to Patrick Norman, Lawyer at Birchstone Tax Law and dux of CTA2A Advanced for Study Period 2 2021, to discuss the most valuable modules from the CTA2A subject, and how he applies the knowledge he’s acquired to his work.

Please provide a brief background of your tax career.

I graduated from Curtin University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce (Taxation) double degree.

I held a number of tax-related roles during my time at university. From 2018 to 2020, I worked as an administration officer in the Prosecutions Department at the ATO. In this role, I prepared prosecution notices and written court submissions, and attended court with delegated authority from the Commissioner of Taxation. I also volunteered at the Curtin Tax Clinic, an organisation that assists unrepresented taxpayers in meeting or complying with their taxation officers.

In October 2020, I joined Birchstone Tax Law in a full-time role as a law graduate. I commenced my practical legal training in January of 2021 and was admitted as a lawyer in August of 2021. In this role, I provide tax law advice to privately owned enterprises and high-net worth individuals, with a particular interest in restructuring and application of the small business CGT concessions.

Why did you choose to study the CTA2A Advanced subject?

I undertook the CTA2A Advanced unit as part of the Chartered Tax Adviser program with The Tax Institute Higher Education. I was very interested in the CTA2A Advanced unit because many, if not all, of the modules within the unit are directly relevant to my day-to-day work in the SME space.

What have you learned from the subject, and have you applied this to your role?

The real value I have gained from the CTA2A Advanced unit is being able to identify different tax issues in the matters that I am working on. The CTA2A Advanced unit exposed me to such a wide range of different areas within tax law, and this has made it much easier to pinpoint what tax-related issues my clients may have. Most notably, I found the superannuation and partnership modules to be very helpful as I had limited knowledge in these areas.

How did you juggle study, work and other commitments?

My firm was very accommodating which allowed me to juggle study, work and other commitments. I found that at least doing some study each day, even if that is only 5 minutes of reading on the bus or train, was very beneficial as it kept the concepts fresh in my mind.

I would recommend covering all the reading at least a few weeks before the exam so that you can focus on practice questions and applying the concepts that you have learnt.

Where to now when it comes to continuing tax education?

I will now complete the CTA2B and CTA3 units, and in the future, I may undertake a Master of Taxation.

What advice do you have for tax professionals considering the program?

I would highly recommend the Chartered Tax Adviser program to other tax professionals as it is a great value add for yourself and your clients.

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.