Registration Open for Spring/Summer 2017 ACAT Tax and Accounting Accreditation Exams

Those passing the exam and earning the ATP and ABA credentials have exempt status for the IRS Annual Filing Season Program.

Registration is now open for the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation® (ACAT) spring/summer 2017 exams for accountants, tax preparers and students seeking to earn the Accredited Business Accountant/Advisor (ABA), Accredited Tax Preparer (ATP) and Accredited Tax Advisor (ATA) credentials. The Comprehensive Examination for Accreditation in Accountancy (ABA), Accredited Tax Preparer (ATP) exam and the Accredited Tax Advisor (ATA) exam can be taken between June 1 – July 15, 2017 at test sites across the United States.

ACAT Credentials

ABA logoABA logoThe ABA is a high-level credential that tests the technical proficiency of accounting and tax professionals in financial accounting, financial reporting, financial statement preparation, taxation, business consulting services, business law and ethics. Emphasis is on a practical approach to public accounting. To become an ABA, candidates must pass the Comprehensive Examination for Accreditation in Accountancy and have three years of related work experience, up to two of which may be satisfied through college credit. In Iowa and Minnesota achieving the ABA designation meets state regulatory requirements to practice public accountancy.

The exam is divided into two parts: Practice 1 and Practice 2. Practice 1 covers financial accounting and financial statement preparation, presentation and reporting. Practice 2 covers the taxation, business law, business accounting and ethics.

The ABA is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), an independent resource recognized as the authority on accreditation standards for professional certification organizations and programs.

ATP sealThe ATP is a leading national credential for tax practitioners who have a thorough knowledge of the existing tax code and the preparation of individual tax returns with an expertise in comprehensive 1040 issues including supporting schedules, self-employed returns, and ethics.  To become an Accredited Tax Preparer, candidates must pass the 100-question ATP exam.

Accredited Tax Preparers (ATP) and Accredited Business Accountant/Advisors (ABA) are exempt from taking the Annual Federal Tax Refresher (AFTR) course and exam that is part of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) voluntary Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) and automatically qualify for the IRS Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion.

ATPs and ABAs who are Annual Filing Season Program (AFSP) Record of Completion Holders are included in the IRS public directory of tax return preparers and have limited representation rights, meaning they can represent clients whose returns they prepared and signed, but only before revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

ATA logoThe ATA is a premier national tax 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. To become an Accredited Tax Advisor, candidates must pass the 100-question ATA examination and have three years of experience in tax preparation, compliance, tax planning and consulting, of which 40 percent must be in tax planning and consulting.

The exam fee for both Practice 1 and Practice 2 of the ABA exam is $400 or $250 for one Practice of the exam. The ATA and ATP exam fees are $250. The deadline for registration is May, 30.

ABA and ATA candidates must pass the exams and meet experience requirements to earn the credentials. A blueprint for each exam with more information on topic areas is available at

The National Society of Accountants (NSA) offers preparatory course study guides for both the ABA, ATA, and ATP exams and preview exams, which mirror the topics and question format of the ACAT exams.

To learn more about ACAT credentials, click here.

Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation logo

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