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Some form of taxation has existed in the US for more than two hundred years. Started in the colonial period, it took several turns and names but continued to exist. In the modern era, several changes to taxation and many ways of taxation were introduced. Over the years, there have been multiple amends and additions to it. US tax code very complex, and it takes to expert-level knowledge to fully understand it. This provides many opportunities for professionals to guide organizations about taxation and its ins and outs. Tax professionals cater to various industries, including financial, accounting, enterprise, and technology, and many more. According to theUS Bureau of Labor Statistics, a six percent growth is predicted for Taxation careers. Many students are enrolling in Taxation graduate programs to take advantage of this high demand field. In this guide, we will walk you through master’s in taxation Online Programs and provide you with all resources and guidance you will need to finish a master’s degree in taxation.
www.onlinemasterscolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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While several universities offer online master’s in taxation programs, not everyone maintains the same program quality. The best online master’s in taxation programs dig deep into tax topics, maintain high-quality content, include lectures and hands-on tax planning assignments, etc. The faculty is also highly qualified and come with real-world experience in the field of taxation. Luckily you don’t have to research the best master’s in taxation programs, as we have researched dozens of online masters in taxation programs and created a list of the best online masters in taxation rankings. Here is the list:
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According to numbers shared by NCES in 2018-19, a graduate program would cost around an average amount of $12,000 in public institutions and nearly $26,000 in private institutions. This reinforces the fact that higher education, especially graduate programs, are becoming very expensive. And affordability is one of the most important factors for Taxation program students too. Many students wonder what the cheapest online master’s in taxation programs are, and we have some answers. We researched many programs and created a list of some of the cheapest online masters in taxation programs. These programs are cheap only in financial terms, but they maintain high program quality. Here is the list:
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While a college degree in taxation might get you ready to start a taxation career at an entry-level, a master’s in taxation will make you eligible for some high wage careers. And the best way to get a master’s degree in taxation is online. But before you sign up for an online degree in taxation, it is essential to understand the online taxation program fully. This section will walk you through all aspects of a master’s in online taxation programs.
Online Masters in Taxation Degree Types
Online Masters in Taxation programs are offered mainly in three degrees: MS, MBA, and LLM. While MS and MBA are largely popular courses amongst graduates, LLM is available with select universities.
MBA in taxation, also known as Master’s in Business Administration in Taxation, combines taxation and leadership skills into one curriculum. The curriculum offers a comprehensive overview of financial and managerial accounting, business laws, federal taxation, tax research and strategy, general accounting principles, etc. The goal is to provide a strong foundation on these topics and sharpen the skills required by a tax professional. These programs also emphasize leadership skills and ready students to pursue careers in tax-related organizations in leadership roles.
MS Taxation, also known as Master of Science in Taxation, focuses on teaching students about all taxation aspects. Students gain necessary skills in taxation on both theoretical and technical aspects of taxes for businesses. These programs provide a strong foundation for complex and expansive tax codes and US tax laws regulations. Students who are aiming to become Tax professionals choose these programs. The main difference between an MBA and MS in Taxation is that the MBA programs cover some aspects of taxation but mainly focus on leadership skills. In contrast, MS in Taxation programs keeps the sole emphasis on providing in-depth knowledge about Taxation policies, laws, governance, etc.
LLM in Taxation
Online LLM in Taxation (Master of Law in Taxation) is a program that focuses on legal aspects of taxation. Students go through a curriculum packed with tax laws, federal and local regulations, corporate tax laws, etc. Students who pursue this program are expected to work in law firms dealing with tax-related litigations. Tax law professionals also work as consultants or legal counsel for organizations providing legal advice and guidance.
Specializations in Masters in Taxation Programs
Taxation is a specialization in itself, but given the complexity of the modern-day tax code, this field has branched out into several different fields. Generally, most universities that offer a master’s degree in taxation offer these specializations as electives in the program. A master’s in taxation degree provides various electives that focus on many specializations in high demand. It is important to note that most universities offer these specializations as electives or add-ons. Some universities have programs that solely focuses on these specializations. Students can check the universities that they are interested in to see if those specific universities offer any specializations that they might be interested in. Here is a list of common specializations in masters in taxation programs:
Master’s in business taxation is a specialization that provides exposure to the most common gaps identified in corporate tax. Students learn more about dividends, liquidations, business transactions, accounting for corporations, and how it affects their taxes.
Organizations registered in the US and have a global presence must deal with many tax situation complexities. Every country that these organizations do business have their tax laws, and at times there will be double taxation. Masters in global taxation explores the international taxes in-depth for foreign holding companies, indirect and direct tax, dual taxation, foreign exchange situations, and many more complex tax codes on a global scale.
Personal Finance Planning
Personal finance is a field that many students are interested in as this field involves providing advice and guidance to individuals and families for a secure financial future. Students aspiring to become individual/family tax professionals elect online masters in personal finance and planning. This field deals with assisting and advising on ways to grow wealth, lower tax bills, capital investment management, manage portfolios, risk mitigation, etc.
Auditing and Taxation
Auditing is another specialization of the taxation field that focuses on providing auditing services to organizations to ensure that the organizations’ financials comply with tax laws. Tax auditors also work for governmental agencies in an auditing capacity. Students who pursue online masters in auditing and taxation learn about all aspects of tax laws, how to audit, the tools used, and ensure overall compliance with the applicable tax laws and policies.
Taxes are levied when individuals, families, or organizations transfer wealth via inheritance or other means. Students that pursue a Master’s in estate planning become experts in tax situations that arise because of wealth transfer, gifts, inheritance, etc. They work as experts who provide guidance that ensures lower taxes, protecting wealth and growth, etc.
Taxation Vs Accounting Degrees
Taxation and Accounting degrees may appear to be very similar, but there are critical differences. Students often wonder about MS in Taxation vs. Accounting. In this section, we will point out the key difference between those Taxation and Accounting degrees.
MS in taxation focuses on tax laws, regulations, tax situations, etc.
MS in Accounting degrees provides a deep dive in accounting topics such as book-keeping, auditing, catching white-collar crimes, act as comptrollers of organizations, etc.
The below table gives a comparison of MS in Taxation vs. accounting.
Career growth in public and corporate accounting and prepares for the CPA exam.
Career growth with knowledge on Federal and state income taxation for all graduates, attorneys, and CPAs.
One to two years. Few intensive and integrated programs can be completed within a year.
12-18 months of duration. There are few flexible options, too, like part-time ones that allow a little longer tenure for completion.
It is preferred to have prior experience of at least one year.
Some programs require 1-2 years of previous experience while others don’t need it.
Though these programs’ targeted audience is experienced professionals, some universities look for GMAT or GRE scores. There are some exceptions where such standardized test scores are not required.
It varies by programs chosen where some need GRE or GMAT scores, and others don’t.
Auditing, Taxation, corporate governance, international business, data analytics in accounting are some of the popular specializations
There are very few elective courses as the taxation program itself is specialized.
Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Taxation Programs
Students who want to pursue a master’s in online taxation program need to know that these programs’ curriculum differs from university to university. Typically, the taxation master’s degrees have about 30 credit hours’ worth of curriculum, but most provide additional courses that let students’ additional knowledge in this vast field. Here are some common courses that students will see in masters in online taxation programs:
Corporate Income Taxation
Corporations pay a major share of their income in the form of taxes. The crucial revenue funds governments around the world and especially the US. In this course, students learn about how this tax works, the laws around it, subsidies, etc.
This course teaches students about how to analyze tax issues by looking at tax laws, interpreting them, and how the judiciary interprets these laws.
In this course, students learn about the legal situation for businesses. This course also teaches students about the current regulatory environment, employment law, labor rules, liabilities, etc.
Governments’ tax policies have a deep impact on the country’s larger economy and business environment. In this course, students will learn about various tax policies in the US and worldwide. Students will learn the history and impact of various policies from the past, which will help understand the relationship between tax policies and macroeconomics.
Accreditation for Online Masters in Taxation Programs
Graduates pursuing a master’s in taxation should always apply and enroll in accredited programs by independent organizations. Accreditation is a process in which third-party organizations look for program standards and education quality at universities. The accrediting body would issue the accreditation certificate to the university or the program. Hence, accreditation is essential while choosing the right university. There are three types of accreditations – National, regional, and programmatic. Regional accredited schools are most preferred over national accredited institutions. The credits earned from a nationally accredited school are difficult to transfer to a regional one. Read more about accreditation on our Accreditation guide
For the master’s in online taxation programs, three main bodies issue accreditation. Students should check the accreditation of the program that they want to pursue to ensure that the master’s in online taxation program is accredited by one of the three organizations mentioned below:
The Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation® (ACAT) – Established in 1973, ACAT is a nonprofit organization that does testing, accrediting, and monitoring educational programs. ACAT also provides services to small and medium-sized businesses that provide professional services in accountancy, finance, and taxation. ACAT is affiliated with the National Society of Accountants (NCA). An accreditation from ACAT is considered valuable, and students can be confident about the program’s quality.
AACSB International (AACSB) – Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business was formed in 1916 by colleges and universities. This body is a global nonprofit association that is well-known for its high-quality standards of education. AACSB accreditation is considered as a gold standard for many programs like business, finance, marketing degrees. An accreditation from AACSB for master’s in online taxation programs is a stamp of the program’s high quality.
Timeline for graduation from Masters in Taxation Programs
Students often wonder about how long it takes to complete an online masters in taxation programs. The answer depends on many factors. First and foremost, it is important to note that the timeline for a master’s in taxation programs varies from university to university. Other factors that play a role in determining the timeline are:
Part-time vs. Full time
How many credits can students enroll in?
Synchronous vs. Asynchronous style of the programs
Availability of summer semesters
Flexibility in the course selection process
Students from tax or account-related under-grad programs take less time to complete the master’s in online taxation programs than those entering such degrees for the first time. Non-tax or account-related students will have to take up prerequisite courses to gain the required credit hours to finish the programs. Taxation or accounting under-graduates can also opt for accelerated programs, i.e., to complete the entire online master’s program in just 15 months. Students who do not have a taxation or accounting background would need to take up to 36 credit hours to complete the program. This means that the timeline taken to graduate from online masters in taxation programs can take up to two to two and a half years for completion.
Online Masters in Taxation Programs Admission Requirements
Before students pick online master’s in taxation programs, note that each program’s admission requirements might differ. While the requirements might be specific to the specialization and/or the university, there are a set of common requirements. Students can start collecting the supporting materials to include with their application kit. Here are some of the most common admission requirements for masters in online taxation programs:
GRE / GMAT – While most universities require some standardized test score requirement, many universities do not require a GRE or GMAT.
Transcripts: A vast majority of all universities require transcripts from an undergraduate degree. The undergraduate degree may not necessarily belong to taxation or accounting. However, students will get prerequisites waived if the undergraduate degree belongs to taxation or accounting, or other related fields.
Statement of Purpose: Many universities require a statement of purpose from students. Students who want to pursue an online master’s in taxation program should create a statement of purpose explaining why they intend to get into the program, their background, career aspirations, why they chose that particular university, etc.
Letters of Recommendation: Most graduate schools require two or three letters of recommendation for students. These letters are typically written by students’ past teachers/faculty, employers, or other people who have/had a significant role in their lives.
Undergraduate GPA: A minimum GPA requirement from the undergraduate degree can also be expected as part of the admission requirements. This minimum GPA requirement varies from university to university. Typically, the range can be between 2.5 to 3.0.
Professional Experience: Some universities also want to see a few years of professional experience from student applicants to ensure that they can take up rigorous work involved in graduate programs. This requirement is not that widely imposed, but students need to be aware of such requirements. Typically, the universities that do not require a GRE or a GMAT score requirement enforce professional experience requirements.
How to Pay for Online Master’s in Taxation Programs
Higher education is becoming increasingly expensive all across the US. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a graduate program would cost around $12,000 in a public institution and nearly $26,000 in a private one. Funding an online master’s in taxation program can be a tough ask for many students. This section will walk you through several different ways that students can fund the taxation degree programs, including some available scholarships.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form that students should fill out to qualify for any federal financial aid. The US Department of Education reviews the applications to determine the student’s eligibility. The assistance is given in the form of grants, scholarships, work-study options, and loans. This is the first step in applying for any financial aid.
Tax Technology Conference is held annually to discuss technology advancements to support the tax system and identify ways to integrate. An award is introduced to prospective students or working professionals attending the event. This covers course costs, travel expenses to participate in the conference.
While this may not apply for online students, many departments on campuses hire students for various roles. These departments pay the full or part of tuition fees depending on what roles the students get hired for.
Employer tuition reimbursement
Some employers of education tuition reimbursement programs for their employees. Check with your organization to see if they any such programs.
Scholarships are typically offered to students that show merit in the field of their study. The organization that funds these scholarships usually awards them to students that fit their mission and vision. Below are some scholarships for which master’s in taxation students might qualify for.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is the world’s largest member association that sets professional auditing standards. AICPA offers many scholarships to students that are pursuing higher education in the field of accounting, taxation, and other business degrees. The scholarship awards range from $5,000 to $12,000. AICPA also administers scholarship awards for female graduate students that are interested in taxation. They can apply for The AWSCPA Scholarship Award. There are four awards with an award amount of $5,000.
Founded in 1969, the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bridging the opportunity gap between black accounting and finance professionals. To support this mission, the NABA administers 50 scholarships each year. Applicants for these awards need to meet specific qualifiers. The award amount ranges from $1,200 – $5,000.
The ACT is a nonprofit organization that helps identify and solve problems involved with automating corporate tax functions. To support this mission, ACT administers scholarships, internships, and grants for students pursuing degrees in taxation. The award amount varies by the program.
Careers and Salary Outlook for Taxation Masters Graduates
Students who want to pursue online master’s in taxation should note that this field’s career prospects are high. Graduation of taxation degrees qualifies for a wide variety of career titles and roles. The compensation for taxation graduates varies based on the industry, specialization, prior professional experience, and geographical location. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), tax consultant earns median wages of $54,000/year. PayScale shows a slightly higher average wage of $61,000/year. Here are some more job titles that taxation master’s graduates can expect to pursue:
Senior Tax Accountants
Taxation is a diverse field with many specializations. The students who also complete a CPA exam after master’s in taxation will qualify for more job titles and better career prospects. The below table displays some of these career options with their average salary per year.
ANNUAL MEDIAN SALARY
Certified Public Accountants
Chief Financial Officers
Personal Financial Advisors
In today’s world, every individual, organization, business, and entity have to file for taxes. This makes the taxation field an essential component of every industry. This is why there is a high demand for taxation graduates. The average wage of tax professionals depends on which industry they work for. The below chart is the salary split based on the industry type.
ANNUAL MEAN WAGE
School and Employee Bus Transportation
Federal Executive Branch
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities
Other Investment Pools and Funds
Other Pipeline Transportation
Certifications and Licensing for Taxation Masters Graduates
Students who want to pursue a career in taxation should also consider getting certifications and should know about licensing requirements. A master’s in taxation is the right step in building a good career, but certain certifications and licenses put you ahead of the competition. These certifications or licensing requirements vary based on geographical location. Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam is an obvious choice for many students that pursue taxation degrees. Apart from the CPA exam, there are few other certifications that students can consider:
Certificate in Employee Benefits Law: Employee benefits is a vast field that covers many aspects such as compensation, health benefits, retirement account administration, deferred compensation, short-term and long-term disability benefits, etc. A certificate in this crucial field puts students in the HR department of organizations or financial organizations that administer these employee benefits for corporations.
Certified Estate Planner/Master Certified Estate Planner: Many families opt to create estates for their wealth for an easy transfer to their family members. This estate planning involves a deep understanding of many tax laws that deal with inheritance, charitable giving, gift tax situations, etc. A certification in estate planning adds value to students that want to pursue a career as financial advisors or wealth managers.
Certified Bookkeeper: The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers administers the Certified Bookkeeper (CB) program that certifies qualified individuals as CBs. This title adds value for students and lets them pursue many careers in the accounting and bookkeeping industry.
Additional Resources for Taxation Professionals
Students pursuing an online master’s in taxation should note that graduating from these programs will help. Still, they also need close contact with the taxation industry for a wide variety of reasons. Staying updated with changes happening around in taxation or accounting helps shift gears and upward mobility for students. Many organizations in taxation that students can network with for a better career, increased knowledge, etc. Here are a few such organizations:
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