BUSINESS LAW
Section 1 Contracts
Section 2 Federal Securities Acts
Section 3 Secured Transactions
Section 4 Bankruptcy
Section 5 Debtor-Creditor Relationships
Section 6 Agency
Section 7 Regulation of Employment
Section 8 Business Structure
ETHICS
Section 9 Professional and Legal Responsibilities
FEDERAL TAXATION
Section 10 Individual taxation
Section 11 Corporate Taxation
Section 12 Partnership Taxation
Section 13 Transactions in Property
Section 14 Gift and Estate Tax, Trusts And Exempt Organizations, Other Taxation Topics

Course Introduction

Qualifying for IQEX

Click on the link below to access the eligibility criteria that apply to your situation.

 

https://nasba.org/exams/iqex/iqex-eligibility-requirements/

NASBA (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy) has established Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) with the following countries that enable you to qualify for the IQEX:
> CPA Australia
> Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ)
> CPA Canada (CPAC)
> Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA)
> Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI)
> Instituto Mexicano de Contadores Publicos (IMCP)
> Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
> South African Institute of Chartered Accountants

Background to IQEX

The actual (full) Uniform CPA Examination is compiled by AICPA (American Institute of CPAs) and consists of four computer-based exams, each being four hours in duration. The disciplines tested are:

Auditing and Attestation

Business Environment and Concepts

Financial Accounting and Reporting

Regulation (U.S. Law, Taxation & Professional Ethics)

IQEX consists entirely of the 4 -hour Regulation Examination. A new “Blueprint” now replaces the old Course Specification Outline. (CSO). I discuss the Blueprint a bit later on and a copy is included after these introductory notes.

IQEX is now comprised of 2 equal multiple-choice question “testlets” with a total of 76 questions in all and three testlets containing (2+3+3) 8 “task-based simulations”.  These are condensed case studies some of which require that the candidate perform some basic research to either derive the answers and/or support the reasoning behind them.

 

Of the 76 multiple-choice questions, 12 will not count. They are “pre-test” questions that AICPA will evaluate for future exam suitability. You will not know which questions are “pre-test” so you should treat each question as being important. If a question appears to be strange, you should not panic because there is a good chance that it will not count. In addition, one of the eight simulations is also “pre-test”.

 

You should budget your time carefully. The multiple-choice component and the simulations each count for 50% of your grade. A passing overall score is 75% or better.

 

You should allocate about 15 minutes for each simulation and about 1.5 minutes (or a bit less to allow for time to review your answers) for each multiple-choice question.

 

The examination allows for a 15-minute break between the first and second simulation testlets. There are also two optional breaks, one after the first multiple-choice testlet and one after the second multiple-choice testlet. However, the timer continues to run during these breaks.

 

You will be asked for a fingerprint to verify your identification prior to and upon returning from any break. The test center staff will confirm you have completed the testlet prior to your break.

 

When you return from a break, you will be required to enter your Launch Code in order to continue the examination. Note that breaks lasting more than ten minutes may be reported to NASBA. If you leave the testing room at any time, without exiting the testlet and selecting the break option, you will not be allowed to return.

 

Even if you do not elect to take a break, each testlet must be finalized before moving on to the next. You will be prompted to answer any questions left blank. You MUST answer all questions since no marks are subtracted for wrong answers. 

 

When you have completed the last testlet and decide to end the examination, you will again be prompted if any answers have been left blank, unless time has expired.

 

Once you press the “submit” button, the examination ends, but, before you can log out, you may be asked to complete a short survey.  You may type your responses before exiting.  If there are any perceived errors, irregularities or ambiguities in the questions, these should be noted, although the likelihood of problems would be rare.

 

Regulation covers knowledge of federal taxation, ethics, professional and legal responsibilities, and business law, and the skills needed to apply that knowledge.

 

The last section of this introduction is entitled The Solutions Approach. It provides a detailed analysis of how to write the actual computer-based exam and will refer you to the AICPA tutorials that illustrate how the various screens work and how to navigate through them.

I strongly recommend that you concentrate initially on learning all of the technical material that you will need to master before you concentrate on the methodology of taking the exam. As qualified professional accountants, you are very likely much more conversant with the use of business-based computer tasks than recent U.S. college graduates who will also be taking the same examination.

About the Author

My Materials and How to Use Them

 

I have written and passed both IQEX and the Uniform CPA Exam. I have more than twenty years’ experience teaching in IQEX programs. I have therefore designed Regulation notes that summarize those areas most likely to be tested.  At the beginning of each Section, there is an outline of major topic areas. The notes which follow, refer to specific multiple-choice questions that you should review as you read the material to ensure you are comfortable with each topic. At the end of every section, I suggest all the multiple-choice questions you should try during a subsequent review of the material- after you have completed an initial run-through of the entire course.

NOTE THAT ALL OF THE SIMULATIONS WILL BE RELATED TO TAXATION.  YOU ARE ADVISED TO DO OR AT LEAST REVIEW ALL OF THE RECOMMENDED TAXATION SIMULATIONS AS PART OF YOUR LATTER-STAGE REVIEW OF THE MATERIALS.

Many of the multiple-choice exam questions tend to be repeated from year-to-year.  As you know, IQEX/ Regulation is now offered throughout the year in major centers. To discourage cheating, there are several different IQEX exams.  The results are curved in case one paper is more difficult than another.

How to Guide

If you have any issues or questions be sure to checkout the FAQ section or contact executivedirector@cawnetworkusa.com

More on Pretest Items

 

As I mentioned, pretest items are used to develop future examinations; they are NOT used in computing examination scores. Each testlet, whether it is comprised of multiple-choice questions or task-based simulations, may include pretest items.

 

The directions at the beginning of the examination state: “Some of the multiple-choice questions and/or task-based simulations you will receive are pretest items. These items do not count toward your final score. You will not know which items are scored and which are pretest questions.”

 

Each year, I receive a number of complaints about questions that are based on topics not emphasized in the USCPA-NOW notes, but, when the results are released, about 92% of my registrants pass.  Nevertheless, please understand that you may find 10 or 12 questions that come to you from “left field”.  Just do the best you can.  I assure you that these notes cover all the topics on the new Blueprint. In many cases, I try to provide guidance on what should reasonably be considered when trying to establish the relative importance of the specific topics.  Obviously, I have no control over what actually appears on the actual exam(s).

 

Note that, while the examinations have been “non-disclosed“ for many years, there are only a finite number of ways to test specific issues.

Less is More

 

There are two schools of thought concerning situations where course notes are prepared for sale.  The first subscribes to the notion that, to justify the cost, students should be “snowed under” with reams of extraneous paper, CDs, and videos, and flash-cards that may well confuse and paralyze the user, who then does not know where to even begin.

 

The second school of thought believes, as I do, that “less is more”.  The notes you have on your screen have been carefully crafted. They contain exactly what I believe you will need to learn to pass IQEX with flying colours.

Ongoing Support from Me

 

The objective of the notes is to present all the required material in such a manner that you will understand everything fully by the time you have completed your initial run through. You should also have a clear-cut picture of the amount of study time you will need to successfully confront IQEX.  Towards the conclusion of this introduction, there is an analysis of the IQEX Syllabus and Grading Structure that outlines average study-time requirements.

 

To ensure your success, your course fee includes reasonable email/telephone support from me.  Please wait until you have completed a full first reading of the notes and have attempted the recommended multiple-choice questions interspersed within each section before establishing contact with me. 

Taking the Examination

 

Although AICPA sets the IQEX Exam, NASBA is the entity that administers it. You should be aware that NASBA may require a recent passport photograph to be appended to your application form.

 

Once your application is approved, you will receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS). The Notice to Schedule is open for six calendar months.  If you encounter study-time problems, you may consider deferring the scheduling of your exam until the next testing period.

 

The examination is taken at one of the Prometric Centers which are located in most large U.S. and Canadian cities. Your NTS will include a seven-digit candidate number and a 1-800 number to call in order to schedule a time to take the exam. As an alternative, you can book your time-slot online at www.prometric.com/cpa.

Although the exam itself is 4 hours in duration, you will need to book a 4.5-hour time window.  The additional 30 minutes is the time allowed to enter your examination section identification number (Launch Code), read the introductory screens, and complete the survey at the end of the examination. It is not additional testing time.

 

I recommend that you write in the morning and leave a whole day free in the unlikely event of a computer glitch.

Although the exam itself is 4 hours in duration, you will need to book a 4.5-hour time window.  The additional 30 minutes is the time allowed to enter your examination section identification number (Launch Code), read the introductory screens, and complete the survey at the end of the examination. It is not additional testing time.

 

I recommend that you write in the morning and leave a whole day free in the unlikely event of a computer glitch.

 

If there is no Prometric Center near your residence, take care to arrange your travel so that you are well rested.  Even if the Center is relatively close, pay attention to potential adverse weather or traffic conditions.

 

When you arrive at the Center, you will be directed to a waiting room.  You will be assigned a small locker for your personal effects. Because of technological advances and general post-9/11 paranoia, they will take your photograph and a fingerprint. When you take a bathroom break, you will again be fingerprinted to ensure that you haven’t arranged to substitute someone else to complete the exam in your stead.

 

You must have your NTS with you and two forms of ID- one with a picture. A driver’s license and a major credit card will suffice.  The name on the NTS and the ID must correspond exactly.  The NASBA website contains a litany of prohibited items that may not be taken into the exam.  Notable examples include any food or drink, jewellery such as pendant necklaces, large earrings, wallets, purses, and watches.  Most important of all NO WEAPONS ARE ALLOWED!   If you choose to enter the testing area with a jacket or sweater, you must wear it at all times.

 

You will be asked to sign a non-disclosure form to prevent you from telling anyone about the actual questions.  Note, again, that there are several IQEX exams, presumably comparable in level of difficulty.  Therefore, if you do tell someone the details of a question or two (or vice-versa) the chances are that the other person may not have those same questions on his or her exam.

 

You will be led to a computer terminal surrounded by room dividers.  Testing rooms are equipped with cameras and microphones.

When your exam is accessed on screen, the title will read “Regulation” not IQEX.  Do not be alarmed; this is NOT a mistake.

After an orientation tutorial, you will be asked to press a key that signals the start of the exam.  You must be careful not to take more than 10 minutes perusing the introductory screens or the examination will automatically terminate.  When you begin the exam, a small box will appear in the corner of your screen with a countdown from 240 minutes.

 

You will be provided with two double sided, laminated, colored sheets called “noteboards,” as well as a fine point marker for making notations. You will be directed to write your examination Launch Code (from your NTS) on your noteboards. You will be required to return the noteboards to the test center staff when your examination is complete. If you need additional writing space, you may request additional noteboards from the test center staff, but you must first turn in the original noteboards you received in order to get a new supply. You must not bring any paper or pencils to the workstation in the testing room.  An in-system calculator will be provided. A separate calculator will not be provided, and you may not bring a calculator.

 

As I mentioned, the exam is broken down into two equal multiple-choice “testlets” totalling 76 multiple choice questions. The questions appear one-at-a-time on screen and are all single-subject.   Unfortunately, they are not grouped by subject area.  You answer by positioning the cursor within a small circle next to the desired answer (A, B, C, D) and then clicking the mouse.  This action “fills in” the circle.  Clicking again in the same location “clears” the circle if you change your mind and opt for another choice.  You may NOT access research materials to answer these questions.  If there are any perceived errors, irregularities or ambiguities in the questions, these should be noted, although the likelihood of problems would be rare.

CPA Exam Testing Windows and Score Release Dates

Effective July 1, 2020 the AICPA has eliminated  previous “testing windows and IQEX is now offered  on demand on a continuous basis

Grade release dates  for 2021 can be found online by clicking here »

Joining a State Board- Go to ACCOUNTING EDU.ORG and Search IQEX by State

 

Once you have been advised that you have passed IQEX, you become eligible to join a State Board.  Most states recognize IQEX with the following exceptions:

 

Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, and Rhode Island

 

Unless you have a compelling reason to join a particular Board, I recommend that you consider Illinois or Arizona. Whereas Illinois now requires 120 hours of CPE every three years, there is no reason why courses and seminars attended outside the U.S. should not qualify. Arizona recently came “on board” and appears to provide relatively straight-forward requirements. www.accountingedu.org is an excellent place to start your research.

 

You should note that, in the United States, one does not have to article with a CPA firm to obtain a CPA designation. Holding a CPA diploma does not necessarily convey the right to sign audit reports.  If you wish to obtain this right, you must join the relevant State Board and ensure that its education and experience requirements are met.

 

You should also be aware that the Uniform CPA Examination is NO LONGER comprised of entry-level tests.  However, all IQEX questions are single-subject and do not require the skills often needed to pass other professional exams. Canada, for example,  grades its CPA candidates on their skills in identifying, defining and ranking problems in situations where the candidate is not specifically directed.  In other words, it is often necessary to read between the lines and focus on major issues to pass.  The Canadian exams also require candidates to solve problems analytically, exercise professional judgement, evaluate alternatives, and propose solutions.  Communication skills are also graded.

 

Do not expect to be able to adequately prepare U.S. tax returns after you have mastered this course and have passed IQEX.  I recommend that you take a tax course such as the one offered by THEINCOMETAXSCHOOL.COM to obtain a good working knowledge of personal income tax.  If you would like to prepare corporate or partnership returns, they also offer a program through the above website, but I believe you will need the hands-on experience that one gets in a U.S. CPA firm or the tax department of a large corporation.

The IQEX Syllabus and Grading Structure/ Approximate study-time requirements

 

Below is a link to  the IQEX Blueprint as prepared by AICPA.  I offer the synopsis below for ease of reference. Obviously, your study time will be dependent on whether you have prior knowledge of Business Law and/or U.S. Federal Taxation.  Assuming you have no prior knowledge about any of the topics, the table below is an estimate of average time requirements after an initial run-through of the material.

Percentage

Of Exam

Study Hours

Required

Business Law 12% 15
Ethics 13% 10
Federal Taxation 75% 50
 

Totals

 

100%

 

75

YOU SHOULD CONCENTRATE ON LEARNING ALL THE TECHNICAL MATERIAL BEFORE YOU SPEND TIME ON LEARNING HOW THE SCREENS AND FEATURES TO THE EXAMINATION ARE STRUCTURED.

The Solutions Approach to Taking the Examination

The AICPA Blueprint

The AICPA Blueprint may be accessed using the link below:
https://www.aicpa.org/content/dam/aicpa/becomeacpa/cpaexam/examinationcontent/downloadabledocuments/cpa-exam-blueprints-effective-july-2021.pdf

I suggest that you bookmark this link in order to access the Blueprint from time-to-time as you study the different topics.

Key Points for the Solutions Approach

THE AICPA TUTORIALS AND THE SAMPLE EXAMINATION ARE DISCUSSED AT THE END OF THIS SECTION. DO NOT LOOK AT THESE BEFORE YOU HAVE LEARNED ALL THE TECHNICAL MATERIAL IN THIS COURSE.

I have tried to cover all the topics that are likely (or even possible) to be tested. In some cases, I have noted that, if I were writing IQEX, I would skip certain topics since they are really complicated and learning the material will detract from the time you should spend on the basics.
Remember that almost all the people writing REG are recent U.S. college graduates that do not have the level of professional experience that you have. If the examiners decide to test a topic that is likely only encountered in “real life” by a tax practitioner, you can safely bet that almost nobody taking the exam will do well on that question.
There should never be any reason to panic. Although the overall pass rate of REG is about 55%, over 90% of the IQEX candidates who have taken this course pass on their first attempt.

 

Multiple-Choice Questions

Multiple-choice questions will be presented in three individual testlets of 24 questions each. You can move forward or back until you click the “Exit” button. Once a testlet is exited, you may not return to it.

You may “ flag” a question for later review. A four-function calculator with an electronic tape is available as a tool. Question numbers are displayed at the bottom of the screen you may navigate by clicking on a question number.

I suggest the following methodology:

  1. Try of do each question in order. When in doubt, mark the particular question for review.
  2. Read each question without looking at the answers. Study the requirements carefully.
  3. Pay special attention the words like “included” or “excluded”. (E.G. “Which of the following items are included in calculating income?”)
  4. See if you know the answer before you look at the four alternatives.
  5. Never close a testlet before you have answered ALL questions. If you have to guess, remember that no marks are subtracted for wrong answers.
  6. If you are unsure, try to eliminate two of the four alternatives using logic and common sense. Guessing at one out of two possible is better than one out of four.

Task-Based Simulations

THERE ARE NO ESSAYS!

Common response formats include:

  1. Multiple selection
  2. Drop-down selection
  3. Numeric and monetary inputs
  4. Formula answers
  5. Research results

It is highly likely that you will be given at least one tax form section and asked to complete it. You will be able to use a calculator on your computer and  the “noteboards” that were mentioned in the introduction. You be able to split windows horizontally or vertically to show two tabs on your screen. You will also be able to access professional databases to answer research questions and there are “cut and paste” functions.

I suggest the following methodology:

  1. Review the question to determine the topics and related concepts being tested.
  2. Identify the requirements.
  3. Organize your thoughts and make notes if necessary on your noteboards.

Research Simulation

There will be one simulation which you will answer by consulting professional literature that is provided in electronic format.

The databases include:

The Internal Revenue Code and Regulations (IRC)

Statements on Responsibilities in Tax Practice (TS)

You may search using either the table of contents or a “keyword” search. To facilitate responding, use the split screen function to simultaneously view the literature and the answer box.

Researching Income Tax Issues

DO NOT SPEND ANY TIME ON THIS UNTIL YOU HAVE STUDIED THE TAXATION MATERIALS.

You do NOT have to memorize this  although you should have a general idea of structure.

Code Organization

There are many different subdivisions  to the Code, each with a different purpose and name. The code is divided into Subtitles, Chapters, Parts, Subparts, and Sections. Some common Subtitles of the code are:

 

Subtitle A Income Taxes

Subtitle B Estate and Gift Taxes

Subtitle C Employment Taxes

Subtitle D Miscellaneous Excise Taxes

Subtitle E Alcohol, Tobacco, and Certain Excise Taxes

Subtitle F Procedures and Administration

 

Each Subtitle is divided into Chapters. The Chapters contained in Subtitle A are:

 

Chapter I Normal and Surtaxes

Chapter 2 Tax on Self-Employment Income

Chapter 3 Withholding Tax and Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Corporations

Chapter 4 [Repealed]

Chapter 5 Tax on Transfers to Avoid Income Thx

Chapter 6 Consolidated Returns

 

The Chapters are again subdivided into numerous Subchapters. Some of the notable Subchapters of Chapter I are:

 

Subchapter A Determination of Tax Liability

Subchapter B Computation of Taxable Income

Subchapter C Corporate Distributions and Adjustments

Subchapter E Accounting Periods and Methods

Subchapter I Natural Resources

Subchapter K Partners and Partnerships

Subchapter N International Taxation

Subchapter S Tax Treatment of S Corporations

 

Each Subchapter may be further divided into Parts and Subparts, as needed.

 

The smallest unique part of the Code is the Section. The Section is normally the basic reference when citing a provision of the Internal Revenue Code. In day-to-day tax practice, reference to larger divisions of the Code such as Subtitles and Chapters is generally disregarded. Currently, the Sections in the Code are numbered from 1 to over 9,000, albeit many numbers are skipped to allow for future expansion of the tax law. Each Code section may be further subdivided into Subsections ,Paragraphs, Subparagraphs, and Clauses.

 

As an example, the following Code Section reference is to the definition of the term “ medical” for purposes of the medical care deduction:

Citation: Section 21 3(d)(1)(A) where

213 is the Section Number

(d) is the Subdivision

(1) is the Paragraph

(A) is the Subparagraph

 

Database Searching

 

Searching a database consists of the following five steps:

  1. Define the issue. What is the research question to be answered?
  2. Select the database to search (e.g., the IRC).
  3. Choose a keyword or table of contents search.
  4. Execute the search. Enter the keyword(s) or click on the appropriate table of contents item and complete the search.
  5. Evaluate the results. Evaluate the research to see if an answer has been found. If not, try a new search.

 

Simulation Topics You Can Expect to Encounter on IQEX

Simulations were introduced for the first time just a couple of years ago. Since the exams are “non-disclosed”, it has been difficult for candidates to study the methodology of the questions and to determine the likely topic areas.  The only real preparation involves:

  1. Learning the technical material in those areas where common sense dictates questions should be presented.
  2. Learning how the features of the computer screens operate, so as to be conversant with navigation requirements, such as accessing source information.

While these study parameters continue to be mandatory, based on recent developments, there are now guidelines as to the simulation topics that you can expect.

Effective April 2017, the Regulation Examination, that also comprises IQEX, has been extended from three hours to four hours. The Law and Ethics components have been reduced significantly, while the Taxation component is much more heavily tested. The number of multiple-choice questions has been increased from 60 to 76, and the number of case studies (Task-Based Simulations) has been increased from 6 to 8.

 

As was the case previously, all the simulations are related to Taxation. 

 

Here is a quote from Michael Decker, vice president of examinations at the AICPA who said: “Increasing complexity in the business world and constant advances in technology have changed the knowledge and skills required of newly licensed CPAs. These professionals are being asked to perform more advanced tasks and work on complex projects early in their accounting careers. The proposed evolution of the CPA Exam is in line with what is required of newly licensed CPAs to protect the public interest in today’s dynamic economy.”

 

A new “Blueprint” now replaces the old Course Specification Outline. (CSO)

 

The Blueprint states that candidate skill levels on the Regulation (IQEX) Exam are tested on various topics at one of three levels:

  1. Remembering and Understanding
  2. Application
  3. Analysis

 

 The Blueprint lists all the topic areas and assigns one of the three levels to each.

An example of #1 is knowing the rules for calculating income tax instalments.

An example of #2 is defining a taxpayer’s status for filing a personal tax return.  (Married filing jointly, head of household etc.)

 

The level 1 and 2 topics will be examined primarily via multiple choice questions.  It is likely that a couple of the simulations will encompass level 2 topics. Examples include:

  1. Calculating amounts to be included or excluded on a personal tax return.
  2. Adjusting income per financial statements to determine taxable income of a corporation.

According to Blueprint, the more “complex” simulations are based on 26 specific “analysis” topic areas.

Below is an outline of each of these topic areas.  I have divided them into three categories:

  1. Topics that I believe you MUST be comfortable with.
  2. Topics that I believe you SHOULD be comfortable with.
  3. Topics that I believe you might study, time permitting.

Any person who sets an examination can create a set of questions that are so easy that (practically) all students will pass. Conversely, an exam can be structured based on obscure material that is so difficult that everyone fails. The object of most exams is to determine a REASONABLE level of knowledge that a successful candidate should possess.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Although I have placed this material towards the front of my notes, I strongly suggest that you skip the rest of this section until after you have completed at least one or (preferably) two run-throughs of all the Taxation notes and the recommended multiple-choice questions. To read this now would be wasting your time since you are likely to be unfamiliar with many of the Taxation concepts.

Topics that I believe you MUST be comfortable with.

 

  1. Analyze client-provided documentation to determine gross income to be reported by an individual on a Form 1040.
  2. Analyze the validity of deductions claimed in arriving at AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) by an individual.
  3. Analyze the tax advantages and disadvantages in the formation of a new business entity.
  4. Compare the tax implications of liquidating distributions from different business entities.
  5. Reconcile the differences between book income and taxable income (loss) of a business entity.
  6. Analyze components of an S corporation’s income (loss) and deductions to be allocated to shareholders.
  7. Analyze components of a partnership’s income (loss) and deductions to be allocated to partners.
  8. Analyze a partner’s contributions to a partnership to determine the partner’s ACB in the partnership.
  9. Analyze the tax implications of transfers of property and/or rendering of services by a partner in exchange for a partnership interest.
  10. Analyze the impact of partnership liabilities as they relate to general and limited partners.

 

Topics that I believe you SHOULD be comfortable with.

  1. Analyze asset sales and exchange transactions to determine whether or not they are taxable.
  2. Review asset transactions to determine whether gains or losses are capital or ordinary.
  3. Analyze the tax implications of instalment sales transactions.
  4. Compare the tax benefits of different expense options for calculating tax depreciation.
  5. Reconcile the activity in the beginning and ending accumulated tax depreciation account.
  6. Reconcile an owner’s beginning and ending basis in C corporation stock for tax purposes. (E.g. Identical property transactions.)
  7. Analyze projections to effectively minimize loss limitations for tax purposes for an individual. (E.g. maximize rental loss deductions by taking an active role, triggering capital gains to offset capital losses.)

 

Topics that I believe you might study, time permitting.

  1. Analyze projected income for use in tax planning in future years.

U.S. tax planning may warrant timing of depreciable property acquisitions to maximize Section 179 deductions over two years and making sure that losses carried forward do not expire. Accruing bonuses and paying them in the following year might work, although remember that income splitting with a spouse is not really a factor in the U.S.

  1. Determine the potential application of at-risk rules that can apply for tax purposes.

This too is not difficult. These notes contain a detailed discussion of the at-risk rules in the material on capital gains and losses.

The next five topics all apply to S corporations. Even though the Blueprint breaks them down into five distinct topics, I believe that it is illogical to expect more than one Simulation on S corporations. Frankly, I believe that the S corporation rules are not nearly as important in “real life” as they once were due to the expanding use of limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships. However, I have no say in what is included on the exam.

  1. Analyze both the accumulated adjustment account and the other adjustments account of an S corporation for tax purposes.
  2. Analyze the accumulated earnings and profits account of an S corporation that has been converted from a C corporation.
  3. Analyze shareholder transactions with an S corporation to determine the impact on the shareholder’s ACB in the shares of the corporation.
  4. Analyze the shareholder’s impact of an S corporation’s loss in excess of the shareholder’s ACB in the shares of the corporation.
  5. Analyze the tax implications to a shareholder and the S corporation resulting from shareholder contributions and loans as well as S corporation distributions and loans to shareholders.

My notes have been substantially expanded to cover these 5 topics. Previously, I only covered the basic rules. Since 5 out of 24 “Analysis” topics deal with these, I can virtually guarantee that there will be a complex simulation on Subchapter S Corporations. If you only learn the basic rules, my guess is that you will get 2 or 3 marks out of 6 or 7. If you are very unlucky, an entire simulation could focus on these 5 areas alone.

Clearly, if you are very comfortable with everything else, you can afford to ignore the more complex provisions of the Subchapter S rules. I suggest that you at least read the material in these notes on this subject once or twice.

Below are a few links to assist you in becoming familiar with Simulations

  1. A) AICPA’s sample CPA questions

http://www.aicpa.org/BECOMEACPA/CPAEXAM/FORCANDIDATES/TUTORIALANDSAMPLETEST/Pages/exam_tutorial_parallel.aspx

 

  1. B) Wiley website – 14-day free trial – very useful for practicing REG simulations:

 

https://www.efficientlearning.com/cpa/products/free-trial/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=searchretargeting&utm_term=textad&utm_content=freetrial&utm_campaign=om_ftacquisition_cpa&utm_date=yyymmdd&gclid=CNGn8-r6y9ACFdhMDQodq0sOpA

 

  1. C) IRC – for practicing tax research simulations – To become familiar with the US Code and practice doing research simulations, Use the two links below. [The tricky simulations are the ones where the “answer” is typically farther down on the page (say subsection f or g, while subsection a or b looks “almost correct” but it is not)]:

 

(For #1:  Filter results by selecting search results for “US Code” and “Title 26”):

 

#1. https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/26

 

#2 #2.  https://www.fourmilab.ch/uscode/26usc/

 

CPA Exam Tutorials and Sample Test

Tutorials   (Before using the sample test, you should view the seven tutorial videos.)

https://www.aicpa.org/becomeacpa/cpaexam/forcandidates/tutorialandsampletest.html

Reviewing Exhibits

Highlight Function

Cut, Copy & Paste

Getting the most out of CPA Exam Software

Your CPA Exam Experience

Using Microsoft Excel

Authoritative Literature

Sample Test

The sample test is an online version of the real CPA Exam software. You can practice with a sampling of multiple-choice questions (MCQs)and  task-based simulations (TBS). It is important for you to be familiar with the format and functionality of this software before you take your actual Exam at a Prometric test center. Keep in mind that your performance on the sample test is not an accurate depiction of your readiness to take the Exam. Before using the sample test, you should view the tutorial videos.

  • Make sure you are using an HD monitor. If you do not have an HD monitor, you will have to adjust the format of your screen size by clicking (CTRL +) in order to see the entire page and have the full functionality of the test.
  • The sample test is not a complete, four-hour Exam. On average, it may take you up to two hours to complete this test.
  • The sample REG test has five testlets with 10 MCQs and 6 TBSs.
  • By clicking the “HELP” icon in the toolbar of the sample test, you can access the tutorial topics.
  • You will not receive a score for completing the sample test.
  • Access the correct or sample answer:
    • MCQ – click “Show Correct Answer” button at the bottom of the screen
    • TBS – open exhibit named “Show Correct Answer” (answer explanation and Exam Blueprint information also provided)
  • For answers to many of the common questions, read the CPA Exam sample tests frequently asked questions.
  • Note:If you apply for special testing accommodations (e.g. screen readers), you may also request accessible AICPA sample test questions. Please contact NASBA at ada@nasba.org.
  • Practice with the REGsample test →

Simulation Topics You Can Expect to Encounter on IQEX

 

Also included in the material pertaining to “The Solutions Approach”  is an outline of those topics I believe are most likely to be tested within simulations. I have extracted the basic information from the Blueprint. The material in these notes includes all the technical information and rules you will need to know to handle these questions-assuming the examiners are reasonable (LOL).

Scoring the Examination

 

As mentioned, NASBA will  report your score  on a numeric scale of 0-99, with 75 as a passing grade . This scale does NOT represent “percent correct.” A score of 75 reflects examination performance that has been judged to represent the knowledge and skills needed to protect the public interest.

A Final Note

Please try to make a concerted effort to spread your studying over the entire period leading up to the exam.  Do not try to cram everything at the end.  The more questions you review, the higher your grade.

I am confident that you will not fail.

GOOD LUCK TO YOU!

Important Information for 2021 IQEX Candidates (Revised May 2021)

 

Examination Blueprint

AICPA has made several changes to the Examination Blueprint that  apply  to IQEX/REG  effective July 1, 2021.

Fortunately, the changes all pertain to material that are no longer  subject to testing.

The area and topic references that follow connect to the old  Blueprint.

Area II Business Law Topic D

The Federal Securities Acts of 1933 and 1934 are no longer tested.

Area III Federal Taxation of  Property Transactions Topic C

Estate Taxation is no longer tested, although candidates are still responsible for knowing the rules for transfers subject to Gift Taxes.

Area IV Federal Taxation of Individuals Topic H

The Alternative Minimum Tax  rules for individuals are no longer tested.

Area V Federal Taxation of Entities Topic C (C Corporations)

Candidates are no longer responsible for:

  1. Analyzing the impact of the charitable contribution and/or dividends received deductions on the net operating loss calculation of a C corporation.
  2. Analyzing the impact of net operating and/or capital losses during tax planning for a C corporation.

( Both of these were previously potential simulation topics.)

Area V  Federal Taxation of Entities  Topic G (Trusts and Estates)

Effective July 1, 2021, candidates are only responsible for knowing the differences between simple and complex trusts for tax purposes. Questions will no longer be related to the items considered as income and deductions for trusts.  There will also be no questions related to calculating a beneficiary’s share of taxable income from a trust for federal income tax purposes.

Area V Federal Taxation of Entities  Topic H.2 (Tax Exempt Organizations)

Candidates will only be required to recall the different types of tax-exempt organizations and understand the rules for “Unrelated Business Income”.

 The topic of  “ Obtaining and maintaining tax-exempt status”  is no  longer tested.

Other Changes

This version of the USCPA-NOW IQEX Course has been updated to reflect 2020 tax “numbers”. Please note that IQEX/REG does not generally test dollar amounts . For example, you would likely have to determine an individual’s tax status (married, head of household etc.) on the exam, but you will not be asked to determine that person’s tax bracket.

For now, tax rates in each bracket will remain unchanged, although the following have been indexed for inflation, effective January 1, 2021:

1. Tax bracket cutoffs

2. The Standard Deduction

3. Income levels that entitle taxpayers to pay less than a 20% tax on long-term capital gains

4. Individual tax credits (e.g. the Earned Income Credit, Credit for Adoption Expenses etc.)

5. Phase-out amounts for contributions to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

The US CPA IQEX/REG exam does not generally test tax changes until six months after they become law. It is likely, therefore, that any changes implemented by the Biden administration after June 30,2021 will not be tested before 2022.

 2020 Retirement Plan Rules: Not Effective in 2021.

 

The previous materials included a summary of the CARES ACT  tax provisions that were  potentially subject to testing  on IQEX/REG effective October 1, 2020.

 

Please be aware that the  special tax provisions enacted as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, applied only for 2020. In particular, the liberalized rules on certain distributions and loans from retirement plans, and the waiver of required minimum distributions (RMDs) from plans, will not be effective in 2021, unless re-enacted by new legislation.  The material on the CARES ACT has therefor been deleted.