Expect not to finish every question.When you run out of time for that question,stop and move on to the next.Not finishing a question is not something to feel bad about,it’s just part of your technique for passing the exam.However,you should attempt all parts of every question.
Think about all the taxes–if students are asked generally for the tax implications of a transaction,most think IT,IHT,CGT,CT but very few think NIC,SDLT.Always tell the examiner which tax you are talking about–answers are often a muddle of CGT and IHT in particular.Put a heading CGT,write about this then put a new heading IHT.
You must accept that this paper is a step up from F6 and that the examiner is looking for more than just a set of rules that you have committed to short term memory.Think tax planning–it is what in the real world clients would pay most for after all.
Review the question requirement carefully–often students miss key requirements or answer the question they would like to answer because they skim over the requirement.The examiner often puts actual requirements in the body of the question.
Consider presentation of your answer–there will be 4 marks for communication and presentation so you ensure you write in proper sentences and paragraphs and use headings.Be prepared to support your calculations with explanations,they don’t have to be complex.The examiner is looking for communication as much as complex analysis–this is a paper that cannot be passed on calculations only.You will have to write reports letters and memoranda.
Practise as many questions as possible across the syllabus.It is absolutely vital that you become familiar with the examiner’s terminology and presentation.
Use the reading time effectively–identify the main content of the compulsory section and decide which optional questions to attempt.
Don’t miss out on easy marks.The questions will often have several elements.Make sure you leave sufficient time to attempt any easier parts.They may be at the end of the question.Some questions can be attempted out of sequence,so do the easy parts first.
Key areas of the syllabus include for example:inheritance tax,corporation tax and groups,sole trader/partnership losses,employment income,all aspects of capital gains tax relief and overseas aspects of income tax and capital gains tax.Expect computational and written questions on all of the above.
Most questions will involve written elements and marks are often lost because of the lack of information.
Never be afraid to state the obvious as long as it is relevant to the question.
The questions in the compulsory section will often be lengthy.Time allocation is important.When you run out of time on a question,stop and move on to the next.
Read the examiner’s articles that have been updated for the new Finance Act.
The exam will comprise two compulsory questions within Section A which will both be of a case study style.The first question will be 35 marks in length and will contain four marks for professional skills.The second will be for 25 marks in total and will contain no professional skills marks.One of these questions will focus on personal tax issues and the other will focus on corporate tax issues.
Section B will comprise three questions,each of 20 marks in length of which only two are to be answered.These will be in a more succinct,note form style.
The whole syllabus is examinable throughout the paper.
The paper will examine candidates’ability to analyse and evaluate the tax implications of various situations,numerical calculations will only be required to assist in producing an answer and no purely numerical questions will be set.
Topics we would expect to see are:
Groups of companies involving overseas aspects
Unincorporated business particularly loss relief or involving a partnership
Capital gains tax versus inheritance tax
Overseas aspects particularly the new rules on residence
Personal service company
Company purchase of own shares
Enterprise investment schemes/venture capital trusts
Change in accounting date
VAT partial exemption
Transfer of trade versus sale of subsidiary
Patent box,research and development expenditure
When answering these questions you should remember to write succinctly but you must write in full sentences.Keep your paragraphs short(3-4 sentences)and use headings and space between the paragraphs to give your answer structure.This helps you to keep your answer punchy whilst still remaining professional.It also makes it easier for your marker to progress through your answer and you always want to keep your marker happy.
The examining team like to see that you know the rules that need to be applied.So remember to include relevant conditions and effects of certain actions.For instance,don’t just say that entrepreneurs’relief applies to a disposal of shares.Say why!The taxpayer is an employee who owns more than 5%of the company,has been for at least a year,the company is a trading company so the gain will be taxed at 10%rather than 18%or 28%.
Remember the pass mark is 50%so you are not aiming for perfection.There will be loads of stuff you can get right quite readily to get really easy marks,so don’t get bogged down in the really hard stuff.Make a guess and move through your answer as quickly as you can.