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A master’s degree in taxation prepares students for a career as a tax advisor, tax examiner, tax manager, auditor, financial manager, or tax lawyer. It is a degree in tax-specific accounting and applying tax code compliance to financial evaluations. The average annual salary ranges from $78,000 for an accountant or auditor to $135,740 for a tax lawyer.

The average cost to complete a master’s degree in taxation is $20,513 per year. Before you can earn this degree, you’ll first need to earn a four-year undergraduate degree, commonly a Bachelor of Science (BS) in accounting or a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in accounting. Many schools offer a five-year combined bachelor’s and master’s degree.

A continuing education student with a bachelor’s in accounting can complete a master’s in taxation program in 12 to 18 months, depending on their existing course credits and whether they study part-time or full-time.

How to Choose a Master’s in Taxation Degree Program

Choose your area of study

Before you select your program, consider your career goals and logistical needs. Do you need the additional coursework to sit for your CPA license exam? Have you worked as an accountant and want to complete your master’s degree as a continuing student? Are you planning on sitting for the bar exam?

Depending on your chosen institution, you can attain a Master of Taxation (MTax), a Master of Business Taxation (MBT), or a Master of Science in Taxation (MSTax). Accountants often sit for their certified public accountant (CPA) license, though it’s not a requirement for all accounting positions. All states require 150 semester hours of college coursework for CPA candidates. You must be a licensed CPA to file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Research schools and programs

Selecting an accredited school ensures your credits will help you attain your ultimate career goal. Cross-reference your potential schools and programs with the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

You can research your potential school by visiting the program website, following the schools and programs on social media, and attending an in-person or virtual information session or open house. You can also reach out to program alumni groups to learn more about their experience with the program and job placement opportunities.

Prepare for tests and applications

The application process will vary based on the school and the program. Contact an admissions counselor for the most accurate information.

All applicants need a completed application and fees. Most schools use an online application system. To streamline the uploading process, have all your documents in PDF format. Anticipate submitting school transcripts, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores, and letters of recommendation from internships or employers. You’ll need a personal essay detailing why you are a good candidate and how a master’s in taxation will help you achieve your career goals.

Be prepared to submit a deposit to hold your place in the program. The amount goes toward your tuition and fees and is not an additional cost. It is mainly to ensure your commitment to the program.

Select your program

As you prepare to select your program, review your goals and needs. You may need to adjust and account for any new information not previously considered. Ensure you’ve outlined your logistical needs, like in-person and online options, and whether you’ll attend part-time or full-time classes.

Consider your learning style and how you perform best. Do you learn better alone or in a group, in synchronous or asynchronous online classes, in lectures or by reading in the library? These and other logistical considerations can help you select the best program for your current needs and future goals.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Access to financial aid is a significant factor for many students, and exploring all options is worthwhile. Start by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Schools use the results to determine whether you qualify for need-based aid. Check with the institution’s financial aid office to see if you are eligible for merit-based grants or scholarships.

Many employers offer tuition assistance and employee reimbursement programs to encourage employees to update their education as the need arises.

Finally, explore private funding options like non-profit organizations and community groups. When applying for private funding, research the organization and tailor your request to align with its ethos.

Best 50 Accredited Master’s in Taxation Degree Programs

Best Master's in Taxation Degree Programs _2024 badge

California State University, Fullerton

Bentley University

Villanova University

California Polytechnic State University

University at Albany

Arizona State University

San Jose State University

CUNY Baruch College

Mississippi State University

University of Southern California

University of Mississippi

University of Washington

University of Baltimore

Weber State University

FAU College of Business

Thomas Jefferson University

SUNY at Old Westbury

Grand Valley State University

American University

University of Colorado Boulder

Rutgers Business School

Indiana University, Purdue University-Indianapolis

University of Texas at Arlington

University of Miami

University of Alabama

University of San Diego

University of North Texas

University of Akron

University of New Orleans

Florida Gulf Coast University

Goldey-Beacom College

Fairleigh Dickinson University

Baylor University

Gonzaga University

St. John’s University

Hofstra University

University of Denver

Walsh College

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How we rank schools

We reviewed many master’s in taxation degree programs, including Master of Science (MS), Master of Taxation (MTax), and Master of Accounting (MAC) degrees. We included online, traditional, and hybrid programs to offer maximum flexibility among the listed choices.

All of the programs that we included are regionally accredited, and many have additional accreditation through the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Accreditation ensures that a program meets high academic standards and is recognized by other institutions.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect From a Master’s in Taxation Degree Program?

Graduates with a master’s degree in taxation can expect an in-depth understanding of United States tax law, including corporate, domestic, and foreign implications. Students learn:

  • Critical thinking skills to evaluate data, identify issues, and suggest solutions.
  • Advanced math skills, including calculus and statistical analysis, and the ability to compare, analyze, and interpret financial data.
  • Written and oral communication skills that aid in the presentation and discussion of tax-related topics in reports and meetings.

A master’s degree in taxation can take 12 to 18 months to complete, on top of the four years of study required to complete a prerequisite undergraduate degree. Internships provide real-world skill applications and can help students decide their career path.

The following organizations require work experience for many advanced licenses, including Personal Financial Specialists (PFS), Chartered Global Management Accountants (CGMA), and Certified Government Financial Managers (CGFM).

Potential courses you’ll take in a master’s in taxation program

  • Fundamentals in Corporate Taxation. Students learn about the distribution of assets to shareholders, asset contribution to corporations and their primary effects, and how to calculate gains. They also learn about deduction items and income in corporate operations.
  • Ethics and Communications for Tax Professionals. Students learn the importance of explaining tax rules to clients and the legal and ethical implications of failing to adequately communicate tax issues and liabilities to clients.
  • International and State Tax Issues. This course covers international tax laws and state-specific implications. Topics include permanent establishments, foreign tax credits, international tax treaties, income-sourcing rules, and international tax ownership structures.
  • Income Taxation of Estates and Trusts. Students explore the principles of taxation involved in grantors, descendants, and beneficiaries. The course covers estates and trusts, grantor and employee trusts, and other particular types of trusts.
  • Real Estate Taxation. Students learn about leases, dispositions, operations, real estate acquisitions, the securitization of real estate investments, and the associated federal tax implications.

Master’s in Taxation Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to a master's in taxation degree program?

The application process will vary by school and program. For the most up-to-date information, visit the program’s website and contact the admissions counselor. Make an in-person or online appointment to speak with the counselor to get real-time answers to all your questions.

Undergraduates apply directly to the master’s program after completing their bachelor’s degree. The process is usually the same for returning education students who have completed an undergraduate degree and worked in the field for any length of time. Prepare a personal essay and have any letters of recommendation from employers and internships ready for submission.

How much does a master's in taxation degree cost?

A master’s degree program averages $20,513 per year. This is on top of the prerequisite undergraduate studies, which cost an average of $14,688 per year. Some schools combine the bachelor’s and master’s degrees into a five-year program.

To attain a master’s degree in accounting and taxation, you can expect five to six years of study. A taxation law degree can take six to seven years to complete. Depending on your path, it can cost between $80,000 and $100,000 to complete your studies.

How long does it take to earn a master's in taxation degree?

A master’s degree in taxation requires 12 to 18 months of study after completing a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an accounting focus or a bachelor’s of science with a focus on accounting.

Becoming a CPA can increase your learning potential and job opportunities. All states require 150 hours of coursework, equivalent to a master’s degree, to sit for the CPA license exam. Continuing education courses are also required to maintain a CPA license.

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