The collaboration between SIM University (UniSIM) and the Tax Academy of Singapore (TA) has resulted in the creation of Southeast Asia’s first upgrading pathway for tax professionals - the Advanced Tax Programme (ATP) awarded by TA and graduates may continue with advanced standing in the Masters in Taxation (MTax) awarded by UniSIM.
The launch of MTax is a key milestone for UniSIM, as it is the university’s first Master’s programme since its inception in 2005.
The ATP and MTax programmes are designed to serve as a single upgrading pathway. It is targeted at tax professionals in the Big-4 international accounting firms, Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), small- and medium-sized accounting firms, financial and banking institutions and other manufacturing and service sectors with in-house tax specialists. Students can look forward to receiving a leading edge specialist training in taxation, as it brings together some of the most experienced tax professionals and trainers from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, the Big-4 international accounting firms, the Law Society of Singapore, UniSIM as well as experts in corporate reporting, company law and tax research.
Students who have successfully completed the ATP will be awarded a certificate by the Tax Academy of Singapore. Under the collaborative agreement between SIM University and the Tax Academy of Singapore, ATP graduates will be admitted to SIM University’s Masters in Taxation programme with credit exemption for four courses, subject to SIM University’s admission requirements.
To encourage more graduates from the ATP to progress to the master’s level, TA will be granting a Study Award worth $1,000 to those who wish to pursue the MTax programme. The Study Award can be used to offset course fee for the MTax programme.
Professor Tsui Kai Chong, UniSIM Provost said, "UniSIM is pleased to partner the Tax Academy of Singapore. The collaboration allows accountants, tax and finance professionals, from Singapore and elsewhere, to keep abreast with the latest tax developments, to foster continuous professional development and to enable them to read for a graduate qualification. The key strength of the ATP and MTax programmes lies in the close linkages between Academy, UniSIM and the industry which enable the institutions to achieve a strong balance between academic and professional training."
"Being a tax professional myself, I understand the need for excellence in how we do our work. Our work, be it the IRAS office’s assessments or advice tax agents give to their clients needs to be comprehensive and accurate. I believe that the tax profession will now take pride that we have put in place the dedicated Advanced Tax and Masters in Taxation programmes to enable practitioners to develop and sharpen their tax skills and knowledge. Achieving these qualifications, applying the knowledge and putting into place continuous learning will provide the differentiation in the quest for excellence for the tax profession," said Mr Noris Ong, Chairman of Tax Academy Board of Directors.
The new upgrading pathway for tax professionals is well-received by the industry. Mr Sum Yee Loong, Tax Partner at Deloitte and Touche said, "As recent as 2005, IRAS’ internal training were not openly available to tax professionals outside of IRAS. This new upgrading pathway has made it possible for UniSIM, IRAS and trainers from the industry to develop the courses together. This will certainly enhance and upgrade the technical expertise of tax professionals in Singapore and the region."
Those applying for the ATP programme need to possess either a degree from a recognised university or relevant professional qualification with 2 to 3 years’ relevant working experience. To qualify for the MTax programme, applicants need to hold a degree from a recognised university or recognised professional qualifications such as CPA (Singapore), ACCA and CPA (Australia).
The ATP programme will be open for application from 20 July and the MTax programme will begin classes for its first batch of students from January 2009.