Obtain a CAA-ATOL returns licence

In 2016, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) introduced changes to the reporting requirements for ATOL holders and their reporting accountants (ATOL Reporting Accountants). 

The ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) scheme, which is backed by the UK government, is a UK financial protection scheme which protects most air package holidays sold by travel businesses that are based in the UK. The scheme protects the public from losing money or being stranded abroad because the travel provider that they have booked to travel with ceases to trade.

The ATOL Reporting Accountants' (ARA) scheme was developed by the CAA to help improve the standard of ATOL reporting and to provide assurance that financial information submitted on behalf of ATOL holders is accurate. The CAA has approved IFA’s License Practice Scheme as an ATOL Reporting Scheme. Information on how to apply is detailed below.

Only accountants who are designated by their professional bodies as an ATOL Reporting Accountant (ARA) will be authorised to sign CAA ATOL returns for their clients. ATOL Reporting Accountants should refer to CAA’s Appendix A Requirements for ATOL Reporting Accountants Official Record Series 3 (ORS3) (formerly known as Guidance Note 10) and the information on the ATOL Reporting Scheme on the CAA website

Becoming an ATOL Reporting Accountant (ARA)

The IFA has an agreement with the CAA that members who meet the criteria below are permitted to apply to the IFA to become an ARA. This licence will not require an additional fee for members.  

Application process

In order to apply for a licence to sign CAA ATOL returns for their clients, the applicant must complete the application form.

The criteria for eligibility are as follows:    

  • member of the IFA with a current IFA practising certificate (engaged in public practice);
  • successfully completed IFA’s assurance module, or an equivalent exam, in the last 10 years. An equivalent exam is an external auditing or assurance exam with another professional accountancy body that is recognised by the CAA, and where the exam would be acceptable to that professional accountancy body for the purpose of its own ARA scheme. There is a list of CAA-approved professional accountancy bodies on the CAA website;
  • successfully completed the CAA online ATOL training course;
  • reviewed the ATOL guidance issued by the CAA, including but not limited to, CAA’s revised Official Record Series 3 (ORS3) (formerly known as Guidance Note 10) issued on 7 February 2020; and
  • have Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) that complies with the CAA’s requirements contained in Appendix A of ORS3