Out of the nine papers that a CS aspirant has to clear in order to crack the CS Professional Programme, Paper 2 belonging to Module 1 deals with the broad subject of Advanced Tax Laws which covers both Direct and Indirect Taxation. In this article, preparation tips in respect of Advance Tax Laws have been discussed.
OVERVIEW OF THE SUBJECT:
The subject is divided into two parts- Part I and Part II.
- Part I has a weightage of 70 marks and deals with:
- GST Laws (60 marks)
- Custom Laws (10 marks)
- Part II has a weightage of 30 marks and deals with Direct tax and International Taxation.
RELEVANCE OF THIS SUBJECT FOR THE PROFESSION:
- The Opportunities of a Company Secretary in the field of GST are not limited. It is important to have more competent and skilled professionals to facilitate regulators to ensure effective compliance of GST. The Company Secretaries are experts in interpreting laws and also possess required skill-set to handle the regulatory compliance under GST. A CS can be involved in various key roles under GST such as that of GST practitioner, GST advisor etc.
- The Company Secretaries also have an important role to play in the field of Direct Taxation where they can assist in resolving various challenges such as keeping abreast with tax regulations, efficiently manage compliance among many others.
OBJECTIVE OF ICSI BEHIND INTRODUCING THIS SUBJECT:
Part I: To acquire expert knowledge, interpretational skills and practical applications on Custom and GST laws
Part II: To acquire expert knowledge on the practical application of corporate taxation including international taxation.
STUDY WISE TIPS FOR PREPARING THE PAPER:
Preparing for Advance tax laws requires patience, focus, discipline and conceptual clarity. It is not possible to learn all the provisions of the entire taxation syllabus. One needs to devise a strategic approach for preparing the paper easily. Some of the Do’s and Don’ts in this regard have been detailed hereinunder.
- Do prepare regularly. This subject requires regular practice
- Do focus on conceptual clarity
- Do make sure to make written practice is a habit
- Do solve the practice questions issued by ICSI (can be found in the academic corner of the institute’s website)
- Do develop the art of interpreting, linking and relating sections
- Do quote important sections
- Do refer to the institute’s study material, solve the practical questions provided therein and refer the past term papers to understand the structure of the examination question paper.
- Don’t ignore any portion of the subject. A mindset to attempt the entire 100 marks in the examination needs to be developed.
- Don’t try to mug up
- Don’t take the excessive burden, rather what is logical is to study certain topics over a period of time rather than covering too many topics in a single day
- Don’t underestimate the importance of revision. For this paper, disciplined revision is the only thing that can help one pass.
HOW TO STUDY PART I OF THE PAPER:
- Part I of the paper deals with GST and Custom Laws. One should begin their preparation from GST laws. This is one topic that the institute expects the CS students to specialize in. Topics relating to Background and Introduction of GST laws in India hold very high relevance and therefore shall be prepared accordingly as they form the base for the entire concept of GST. However after studying that part well, one must emphasize the following topics as they hold high relevance from the examination perspective:
- Exemptions under GST
- Registration under GST
- Input Tax Credit
- Invoicing under GST
- Concept of Supply
- The fact that only 10 marks are allotted to the topic of Customs and Foreign Trade Policy does injustice to the topic itself. The syllabus coverage for the same is vast in comparison to the marks allotted. However one can easily score full marks in this topic provided application-based questions and numerical problems under customs are properly prepared. One shall surely refer to the previous term question paper to boost their preparation for this topic. This portion should be touched only after the student has studied GST laws and covered Part II of the paper.
HOW TO STUDY PART II OF THE PAPER:
- Part II of the paper lays emphasis on International Taxation, Residential Status, Income from other sources and other topics related to corporate taxation the knowledge of which a Company Secretary must surely possess. Studying the entire 30 marks seems quite cumbersome from a student’s point of view but things can get easier when one finds out the topics that hold a higher degree of relevance from the examination point of view. Students are believed to have a habit of ignoring this part and sitting for the examination, this is nothing but suicidal. Most of the topics covered here are almost covered under the Executive Programme too, therefore there is nothing new for a student to grasp but things only need disciplined revision.
- International taxation is comparatively easy and therefore one must begin with it and the move towards Corporate Taxation and cover topics such as Minimum Alternate Tax, Alternate Minimum tax, Taxation for Share buyback, corporate dividend tax, Residential status and Taxation of partnership firms. These are very small topics yet they form a part of the question paper regularly. All of them were in the Executive syllabus and therefore require proper revision. Tax planning and management should also be surely covered. This part is the easiest in the paper and thus should surely be covered.
HOW MANY HOURS A DAY SHALL ONE STUDY THIS SUBJECT:
Nobody can predict the exact number of hours one must study per day in order to excel at any examination. No. of hours of study per day is actually a relative concept that depends on person to person with their areas of strength and weaknesses playing an important part. Importance shall also be given to quality over quantity. However, where one is unsure and confused about their strategy, one may refer to the following strategy and improvise it as per their convenience:
- Study the subject at least three days a week investing at least two and a half hours a day.
- Keep one day for revising and learning the topics covered in the aforesaid three days
Therefore, four days a week would surely be enough to prepare this subject
KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER FROM THIS ARTICLE:
- Remember Quality over Quantity. Focus on the Quality of your preparation.
- Quote sections whenever necessary and only when absolutely sure about it.
- Set small targets and achieve them over a period of time rather than covering large topics in a hurry.
- Solving past term papers and practice questions is a must.
- Begin with GST and then move onto Part II and cover Customs in the end.
- Revision is key for this subject. If a revision is sacrificed, one will forget the topics, therefore, it shall not be avoided at any cost.
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