Accredited Tax Advisor (ATA)


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Overview

The Accredited Tax Advisor (ATA) is a leading national credential for practitioners who handle sophisticated tax planning issues, including planning for owners of closely held businesses, planning for the highly compensated, choosing qualified retirement plans and performing estate tax planning. Their expertise covers tax returns for individuals, business entities, fiduciaries, trusts and estates, as well as tax planning, tax consulting and ethics.

In order to become an ATA, you must pass the ATA examination which is offered twice a year at testing centers around the country. In addition, you must also meet a three year experience requirement. 

Experience Requirements

ACAT seeks to ensure that all accredited individuals possess the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to be successful practitioners. For that reason, candidates for accreditation must satisfy a three-year experience requirement before becoming fully credentialed.

ATA candidates must have three years of experience tax preparation, compliance, tax planning and consulting, of which 40% must be in tax planning and consulting. A tax season (January through April) is considered one year.

Exam Information

The ATA exam is a computer-based test offered twice a year at testing centers across the country. You must register for the ATA exam by the deadline in order to take the exam during a specified testing window.

  • 2016 Fall Testing Window: November 1, 2016 - December 15, 2016
    Registration Deadline: October 30, 2016

  • 2017 Summer Testing Window: June 1, 2017 - July 15, 2017
    Registration Deadline: May 30, 2017

  • 2017 Fall Testing Window: November 1, 2017 - December 15, 2017
    Registration Deadline: October 30, 2017

The ATA exam consists of 100-multiple choice questions. Questions on the ATA exam follow a job practice analysis that studies what tax preparers do, how often they perform each task and how important they perceive the task to be. Topics covered include tax returns for individuals, business entities, fiduciaries, trusts and estates, as well as tax planning, tax consulting and ethics. For a list of specific topics, review the ATA exam blueprint

ATA Examination Fee: $250

Detailed Exam information and FAQs can be found here

Study Materials

1. ATA Prep Course

The ATA Prep Course is an online study aid & PDF published by the National Society of Accountants (NSA) to help you prepare for the exam. This online course comprehensively covers taxes and tax planning for businesses, corporations and partnerships, estates and trusts, consulting and ethics. Each chapter includes interactive review questions complete with answers and detailed explanations, as well as links to reference materials.

  • View a sample lesson here
  • View prices and purchase the full course here

Refund Policy:
All Online/PDF study material sales are final, no refunds will be issued after purchase.

2. ATA Practice Exam

The ATA Practice Exam is an easy-to-use online tool to help you prepare for the exam. The Practice Exam generates randomized questions that can be shuffled by topic area with immediate results and feedback. 

Please note: If you purchase the ATA Prep Course, there is no need to purchase the Practice Exam, it is included in the course.

  • View sample questions here
  • View prices and purchase the full practice exam here

Testing Centers

The computer-based ATA Exam is proctored at Castle Testing Centers across the country. Castle offers close to 1,000 test center locations that provide testing in a proctored environment. Of the top 100 U.S. cities by population, 99% of candidates are within 15 miles of a Castle testing center. 

Locate your testing city here

You must register for the ATA exam by the deadline in order to take the exam at a Castle testing center during a specified testing window. Once registered, you will receive a Notice to Schedule/Eligibility Notice email that provides instructions to submit a scheduling request (such notices are sent no earlier than 45 days prior to the testing window).  Once you submit your scheduling request, you will receive your Confirmation Notice from Castle via email. This information will include your exam date and time reservation; the address and driving directions to the chosen testing site as well as instructions regarding arrival time; what to bring and not to bring; the rescheduling policy; a link to a generic sample test that demonstrates Castle‚Äôs online testing software, PASS, and other important information. 

Detailed Exam information and FAQs can be found here

 

Maintaining Your Credential

ACAT Credential Holders must meet three (3) requirements to maintain credentials: Payment of annual renewal fees, continuing education requirements, and adherance to the Code of Ethics. Details of each can be found here

 


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For more information about ACAT and its tax and accounting credentials, view the ACAT Candidate Handbook