Obtain an IFA tax practising certificate

To obtain an IFA tax practising certificate you must be able to meet the criteria outlined below.

If you have any questions about the application form or process you can email our Membership team or call on +44 (0)20 3567 5999 to find out more.

IFA tax practising certificate criteria

To offer taxation services to the public for reward in the UK you are required to obtain an IFA tax practising certificate. To apply for an IFA tax practising certificate you must meet the following criteria.

  • Be a current member of good standing at either Associate Tax Adviser or Fellow Tax Adviser level.
  • Is a fit and proper person in accordance with IFA Bye-law 5.
  • Have submitted a completed application for a tax practising certificate to the IFA including payment of prescribed fees.
  • Have achieved IFA tax membership through an educational route approved by the IFA and be able to provide evidence of this. Please note, if you obtained membership before the 1 March 2021 you may not meet the IFA's educational entry requirements. Your accounting qualification should be at least up to and including level 6. 
  • Have not less than three years' UK experience in at least three of these main areas: financial accounting, management accounting, assurance, taxation and/or data processing. The experience must have been gained within 10 years of applying for a practising certificate.
  • Must be practising in the UK offering accountancy services to the public.
  • The services offered to the public must be listed in Appendix 1B of the Public Practice Regulations and not more than 5% of the services offered to the public are listed in Appendix 1A of the Public Practice Regulations. 

What if I don't meet the educational entry requirements?

Where your qualification does not meet our requirements you will need to take IFA Direct programme modules. IFA Direct is the new educational route to membership and obtaining a practising certificate. It enhances the student and member experience by giving you a broader and deeper understanding of key subject matters relevant to you as an accountant in or supporting small businesses.

If you have any questions about the IFA Direct programme you can email our Education team or call on +44 (0)20 3567 5999 to find out more.

How to apply for an IFA tax practising certificate

If you meet the above criteria download the application form and follow the instructions. If you are an existing member you only need to complete sections B-H. 

Practising without a tax practising certificate

It is a disciplinary offence for a member to offer taxation services to a third party unless he/she holds, or is exempted from holding, a tax practising certificate.

It is also a criminal offence under the UK Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the UK Money Laundering Regulations 2017 to offer such services without being registered with a designated supervisory authority for anti-money laundering.

Benefits of being in practice

Among the benefits are:

  • Recognition for the taxation services you provide to the public.
  • Offering tax advice and expertise.
  • Appearing on our Find an Accountant register.

The IFA tax practising certificate only entitles the holder to offer tax advice and expertise, together with the necessary minimal accounting/bookkeeping functions allied with this sort of work. They do not entitle IFA tax advisers to provide bookkeeping services separately; however, in the UK it should be noted that any "competent person" may currently provide such services without holding membership of a professional body.

Important documents for practising members