Starting your ADIT studies in 2024

Jan 4 / Catriona Loughran
Your goal is to achieve the Advanced Diploma in International Taxation (ADIT) qualification and become an International Tax Affiliate of the UK's Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), but you're not sure where to start. Look no further, we're sharing the benefit of our expertise to get you on your way to ADIT and career success.

In this article, we talk you through:
  1. The CIOT's ADIT registration deadlines
  2. Choosing your first ADIT paper
  3. How many ADIT modules to study at once
  4. The importance of the Permitted Books
  5. Study options for the ADIT exams
The ADIT qualification is a highly respected international tax learning programme, with students in over 120 countries worldwide. Designed by world-leading experts, it is a challenging and rigorous qualification that will reward you and your career.
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ADIT Registration Deadlines

To start your ADIT studies in 2024, there are two key deadlines for you to meet. These dates are set by the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) and you can find them in the Exam Timetable page of the ADIT website.

This two-stage process can sometimes catch people out, leaving them thinking that they have done everything required to sit an ADIT paper, then finding out too late that they've missed the second stage. We're here to guide you through both parts to help you avoid this mistake.

1. Registering as an ADIT student
The first step to becoming an ADIT graduate is registering with the CIOT as an ADIT student.

You don't need any previous qualifications or existing experience to begin your ADIT studies. ADIT candidates come from a wide range of backgrounds - some are already ATT or CTA qualified, some have already been working in international tax for years, while others are new to the field. Your starting point may determine how much effort is needed to achieve ADIT or how long it takes you to get there, but it is not an obstacle to obtaining ADIT status.

To sit your first ADIT exam in June 2024, you need to register with the CIOT as a ADIT student by Friday 1 March 2024. Go to the ADIT Student Registration page on the CIOT website to start the process. The student registration fee is £242 for 2024, which covers you for a five-year registration period.

Friday 1 March may seem like ages away, but it'll be here before you know it. If you are ready to start your ADIT journey, register as soon as you can. It'll make the second step of the process - entering for the exams - less stressful if your student registration is completed in good time. It can take up to 10 business days for the CIOT to process your application, so it's best not leaving it to the last minute.

If you want to sit your first ADIT exam in December 2024, you have until Monday 2 September 2024 to register as a new ADIT student.

2. Entering for your ADIT exams
Once your application for registration as an ADIT student has been fully processed by the CIOT, you can move on to the second stage. This is entering for an ADIT exam. You have to do this each time you want to sit an ADIT paper, whether it's your first one or a resit.

The key deadline to enter for an ADIT exam for the June 2024 exam session is Friday 15 March 2024. The exam entry fee for 2024 is £222 per exam paper. 

Late entry is available up to Friday 29 March 2024, but this incurs an additional late entry fee of £100 per exam.

Once you have registered as an ADIT student and decided which paper(s) you are sitting in June 2024, go ahead and complete your exam entry. It is possible to pay for a deferral up to Tuesday 28 May.

The exams take place on Tuesday 11, Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 June 2024.

Choosing your first ADIT paper

To achieve the full ADIT qualification, you have to pass the compulsory Principles of International Taxation paper plus any two optional modules. But which is the best ADIT paper to study first?

The first thing to say is that there is no set order to pass the exams. While Principles of International Taxation is compulsory, it does not mean you must study it before the optional modules. Often it makes sense to choose Principles of International Tax as your first module, but it's not essential.

Why sit Principles of International Tax first?
Principles of International Tax introduces you to the key principles and fundamental concepts of international tax practice. It does not focus on any one jurisdiction, but looks at the concepts underpinning cross-border taxation. It provides you with an excellent foundation to progress through the optional modules. 

The CIOT says "This module gives you the required breadth of knowledge, skills and understanding of international tax, based on the OECD and UN models, that you need to succeed in your career. Your learning will cover in detail key international tax issues, with particular emphasis on residence, double tax conventions and treaty interpretation, transfer pricing, the work of the OECD and the UN, and international tax avoidance."

For those with little knowledge of international tax or transfer pricing, Principles of International Taxation is often the best place to start.

Why choose an optional ADIT module first?
Starting with an optional paper can be a better choice if you have a particular interest in developing your knowledge in a certain area or want to build on your existing skills.

For example, tax professionals working in transfer pricing may prefer to begin with Module 3.03 on Transfer Pricing. Once you pass this module, you can apply for a standalone certificate to demonstrate your TP expertise. It can be easier to start with a subject like TP where you already have practical experience.

If you are already CTA qualified in your own jurisdiction, you may prefer to build on your existing knowledge by sitting the module for your home jurisdiction first. For instance, Irish qualified CTAs may wish to begin with Module 2.06.

Timing may be the reason why you choose to start with an optional module. All modules are examined in June each year, but only the most popular are available at the December exam sitting. If you wish to study a module like US Tax, Banking or Irish Tax, you can only sit an exam in June.

If you are not sure where to start your ADIT journey, contact the ExtraTax team at We are always happy to offer guidance.

How many ADIT modules to study?

This depends on your personal circumstances, but it is worth bearing in mind the time commitment required for ADIT. Most ADIT candidates don't want to just scrape through the exams, their goal is to expand their knowledge and enjoy the learning experience. It may seem counter-intuitive, but we often find that the quickest way to achieve ADIT is to take one module at a time.

There are candidates who pass all three modules in one sitting, but they are the exception rather than the rule. For instance, we had a young professional who was pivoting from financial auditing to international tax. They took a career break to study full-time for three ADIT papers in one sitting. As a result, they were able to secure an international tax role with a Big 4 firm.

If you are an 'average' ADIT candidate, you'll be around 35 with a responsible position working in tax and aiming to balance your studies with professional and family commitments. Finding five or six hours per week over three months to study for one ADIT paper is likely to be a more realistic target for you. 

The importance of Permitted Books

Once you have chosen your first ADIT module, take some time to familiarise yourself with the syllabus. Along with the topics examinable, the syllabus for each module lists Permitted Texts, recommended reading, additional reading and, for some modules, case law. When starting out, pay attention to the list of Permitted Texts.

What are Permitted Texts or Books?
These are books which you can bring into the exam room with you. Remember the ADIT exams are online, so this will be your home or office where you choose to sit the paper.

At this stage in your exam preparations, an important action is to identify which of the Permitted Texts you are going to buy and where to source them. There can be some overlap in the books listed. For example, the Principles of International Tax syllabus lists the 2017 OECD Model Tax Convention and Volume A of Kees Van Raad's Materials on International, TP and EU Tax Law 2020-2021 as Permitted Books. But Kees Van Raad's Volume A includes the 2017 OECD Model Tax Convention, so you will not need to buy both.

Another important action is to read the CIOT's rules on the use of Permitted Books. You are expected to use original, bound versions of the Permitted Texts. This means buying a book rather than using an online or self-printed version.

In certain circumstance, you can obtain permission from the CIOT to use self-printed versions. However, each individual candidate must apply to the CIOT stating the reasons for their request. We have seen the CIOT deny these requests, leaving candidates in a difficult position only days before their exam, so please do not assume that permission will be granted.

If at all possible, our advice is to buy original copies, bound by the publisher, of the Permitted Books for your module at an early stage of your studies.

Study options for the ADIT exams

The final step in starting your ADIT journey is deciding how you will approach your studies. The ADIT website lists recognised course providers for each module. These may be specific in-person or online courses for that ADIT paper, or they may be more general courses covering topics on the syllabus.

You can choose one of these course providers or decide to go fully down the self-study route. Your choice will depend on how you like to study, your budget, the time available to attend classes, your location and many other factors.

Choosing the right course provider for you is key. Things to consider include:
  • How experienced is the tutor?
  • What size are the classes?
  • Are they held in blocks of days or bitesize sessions?
  • Are they during your working hours?
  • If the classes are online, are they live or pre-recorded?
  • If they are live, can you catch up with recordings?
  • How interactive are the classes?
  • What study materials are included with the course?
  • What do previous participants say about their experience of the ADIT course?
  • What are the pass rates like?
  • Are the classes suitable for all, or do they assume a certain level of existing knowledge?
  • Is there an opportunity to get feedback on your answers to past paper questions to help you improve?
  • How flexible is the training organisation when life gets in the way?
  • If there is a guaranteed pass scheme, what conditions must be met to qualify for it?
  • Is there a one-size-fits-all approach, or can you benefit from a tailored learning experience?

A good training provider will be happy to answer your questions before you make your decision, doing their best to support you every step of the way.
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