02 March 2023 Reena Morjaria

Tales of a STEP student in lockdown

Reena Morjaria describes her experience studying for STEP qualifications

I am going to share with you some of my experiences of studying for the STEP Diploma during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am a Chartered Tax Adviser, currently working as tax manager with a firm of accountants that specialises in private client work. My clients are mainly high-net-worth individuals and their families, some of them foreign-domiciled. Like many professionals with tax training, I felt that I had a tendency to approach client issues (and perhaps life) wearing ‘tax-tinted’ spectacles, and so I wanted to broaden my professional knowledge base. Trusts feature as an aspect of many of my clients’ affairs and I reached the view that a greater understanding of trust law and administration would add great value.

My firm was very supportive of my request to study for the STEP Diploma. Shortly after enrolling, I was sent the study manual for my first paper, the STEP Advanced Certificate in UK Tax for International Clients, which I was due to sit in May 2020. Then came the first lockdown…

I have to say that at this point STEP was absolutely brilliant at communication with its students and I was swiftly reassured that the exam would proceed, but would be sat online rather than at an assessment centre. They adapted to the ever-changing circumstances efficiently and kept me well-informed over the entire programme, for which I was very grateful.

As anticipated, I sat my first paper in May 2020, before sitting the STEP Advanced Certificate in Administration of Estates - England and Wales paper in November 2020, the STEP Advanced Certificate in Taxation of Trusts and Estates - England and Wales paper in May 2021 and finally the STEP Advanced Certificate in Administration of Trusts - England and Wales paper in November 2021. Picking them off one at a time suited me perfectly. I was delighted to complete the Diploma, achieving a pass in one paper, a merit in another paper and a distinction in the other two, with a merit overall.

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