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Tax law is complicated, and a master’s in taxation prepares students with the required expertise to advise an organization on its tax strategy. Candidates in an online master’s in taxation take coursework related to federal, corporate, and international tax policy; successful graduates can pursue well-paying positions in government, private industry, nonprofit organizations, legal practices, and accounting firms.

Individuals with a graduate degree in taxation may become certified public accountants (CPAs); a master’s in taxation can fulfill the academic requirements for an accounting license. Accountants make an average annual salary of $77,250. Those seeking a more lucrative profession might instead work as a financial advisor and make more than $130,000 each year.

An online master’s in taxation may not be necessary for these positions, but it will increase your earning potential and give you an advantage in your job search. Most programs require 30 total credits (ten classes) and cost, on average, $24,000.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Taxation Program

Choose your area of study

This degree has two main choices: a Master of Taxation or a Master’s in Accounting with a concentration in taxation. The latter is best suited for individuals focused on becoming a CPA and earning their license. Both options require applicants to possess an undergraduate degree in a related field. There is a third option, a Master of Laws in Taxation (LLM), meant for practicing attorneys.

Not every program offers the same curriculum, so determine your specific area of study before applying. For example, some schools provide specialized electives on estate taxation or auditing; others emphasize financial data analytics.

Research schools and programs

As you begin your research, confirm that a regional accreditation agency recognizes each institution. Accreditation status is essential for financial aid eligibility and future professional licensure.

Business-related degrees, such as those in taxation, may also receive a separate programmatic recognition. Seek master’s degrees with distinction from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

As you research further into each program, consider the following:

  • What is the online experience like? Taxation courses integrate well within an asynchronous environment. This format is ideal for working adults or those with family obligations. Some programs feature scheduled evening classes where participants engage with their faculty and peers in a real-time, remote environment.
  • What support services are available to online students? Consider what resources you need to be successful. For example, online programs should offer tutoring, tech support, and disability accommodations. Determine how to access faculty office hours and other opportunities for professional networking.
  • How does the program integrate hands-on practice? Some, but not all, programs provide optional internships, capstone projects, or immersion opportunities.

You can find most of the necessary information on each program’s webpage. For specific queries, connect with an admissions counselor or program advisor. Many schools also offer virtual open houses for interested candidates.

Prepare for tests and applications

Ensure you’re eligible, and check the admissions requirements for each program. Most online master’s in taxation programs ask applicants for a related undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA (sometimes 3.0 or higher). They also prioritize students with relevant professional experience in auditing, accounting, or finance. Many master’s in taxation require GRE or GMAT scores. Prepare early for the exam, and consider enrolling in a test preparation program.

Select your program

Select your program once you’ve narrowed down the options you’re eligible for that meet your professional goals. Choose the most affordable option, the most prestigious one, or the one that works best around your obligations. Be mindful of application deadlines and submit materials early if you can.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Earning a master’s in taxation can immediately increase your earning potential, but the upfront cost of the degree is nonetheless a financial commitment. To determine how best to pay for this degree, fill out the FAFSA form; the FAFSA outlines what federal assistance you might qualify for. From there, meet with an academic advisor to ascertain whether your prior professional or academic work might be transferable as credits.

You should also contact a financial aid counselor for your program. While scholarships and other funding opportunities are highly competitive at the graduate level, you may be eligible to apply at least. These individuals can also determine if you qualify for tuition reductions, such as military discounts.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Taxation Programs

Best Online Master's in Taxation Degree Programs

University of Southern California

Villanova University

Northeastern University

Boston University

Bentley University


University of Denver Sturm College of Law

University of Cincinnati

DePaul University

Golden Gate University

FAU School of Accounting Executive Programs

The University of Akron

University of Hartford

University of New Haven

St. John's University

California State University at Northridge

Walsh College

Loyola Marymount University

Liberty University

Portland State University

Weber State University

Southern New Hampshire University

NSU Florida College of Business

Discover More Options

How We Rank Schools

Our research focused on master’s-level programs in taxation. There are several different types of degrees available in this field, including a Master of Science (MS), Master of Accounting (MAC), and Master of Taxation (MTax).

As a quality measure, we only included programs offered by regionally accredited institutions. Many programs are further accredited by specialized accrediting bodies like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).

Another criterion was that programs be available entirely or primarily online, ensuring accessibility for the greatest number of students regardless of schedule and location. Many programs can also be completed in-person or as hybrid programs.

Our team evaluated each program based on outcomes, affordability, faculty, reputation, and flexibility. Then we calculated an Intelligent Score for each degree on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out our ranking methodology.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Taxation Program?

An online master’s in taxation is designed for working adults with several years of experience in finance or accounting. Coursework is highly specialized and counts toward CPA licensure or continuing education units. Explore topics related to corporate taxation, international tax regulations, and federal tax law; you’ll become an expert in upholding compliance while reducing tax liability. Participants learn the necessary expertise to qualify for advanced financial positions with an organization.

Coursework takes one to two years to complete. Many degrees operate on an accelerated timeline during which students take one class at a time in condensed sessions. Part-time students may need up to three years to graduate.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s in taxation program

  • Tax Law and Policy. Students examine federal and international policies through tax reforms related to individual taxpayers. Coursework emphasizes a theoretical framework and how it applies to real-world scenarios.
  • Topics in Corporate and Tax Law. This course details corporate-specific tax issues, such as mergers, acquisitions, and bankruptcy.
  • International Taxation. Participants learn how foreign assets apply within U.S. federal income tax provisions.
  • IRS Practice and Procedure. Students engage in specialized study of the Internal Revenue Service. In particular, participants learn about the daily processes and responsibilities of IRS officials.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Taxation?

Career outlook

Navigating the intricate landscape of taxation is an essential function in both personal and business financial planning. An online master’s degree in taxation equips individuals with advanced knowledge of tax regulations, strategies, and compliance, making them valuable assets in the fields of accounting, finance, and business consulting. Demand for those with this credential is on the rise. The need for financial examiners, for example, is expected to increase by 21 percent over the coming decade, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median salary for this position is $81,410 annually.

Career paths

From tax planning and advisory roles to leadership positions and entrepreneurial ventures, a diverse range of opportunities are available to those who earn an online master’s in taxation. As individuals and businesses seek to optimize their financial strategies and navigate complex tax codes, the need for skilled taxation professionals continues to rise. An online master’s in taxation provides a competitive edge in this demanding and rewarding field.

Here are some possible career paths to consider when you have earned an online master’s in taxation:

  • Corporate tax analyst — work within a corporation to manage tax-related matters, including planning, compliance, and reporting, to optimize the organization’s tax position
  • Tax policy analyst — analyze tax laws and policies, provide insights on their economic and social implications, and contribute to the development of effective tax policies
  • Financial planner — integrate tax planning into overall financial strategies, helping individuals and families achieve financial goals while minimizing tax burden
  • Forensic accountant — investigate financial discrepancies, fraud, and white-collar crime, often involving tax-related matters
  • Accounting and tax faculty — teach taxation courses at college or universities

Tax Consultant

Earning Potential: $56,940-$137,150 annually

Education Required: Master’s degree in taxation, accounting, or a related field

A tax consultant provides specialized expertise in tax planning, compliance, and strategies to minimize tax liabilities for individuals and businesses. They analyze financial data, interpret complex tax codes, and offer tailored recommendations to optimize financial outcomes. Tax consultants navigate changing regulations, identify deductions, credits, and exemptions, and assist clients in making informed decisions to achieve tax efficiency. Whether providing advice on investment structures, estate planning, or business transactions, tax consultants play a pivotal role in helping clients navigate the intricate landscape of taxation and maximize their financial well-being while ensuring compliance with legal requirements.

Tax Manager

Earning Potential: $76,720-$208,000 annually

Education Required: Master’s degree in taxation, accounting, or a related field

A tax manager oversees an organization’s tax functions, ensuring accurate and timely compliance with tax regulations. They develop tax strategies, oversee the preparation and filing of tax returns, and implement tax-saving measures. Tax managers analyze financial data to optimize tax positions, manage audits, and liaise with tax authorities. They collaborate with cross-functional teams, provide guidance on the tax implications of business decisions, and stay updated on changing tax laws. By maintaining fiscal responsibility, ensuring legal compliance, and minimizing tax burdens, tax managers contribute to sound financial management and the organization’s overall success.

Certified Public Accountant

Earning Potential: $47,040-$124,450 annually

Education Required: Master’s degree in taxation, accounting, or a related field

A certified public accountant (CPA) offers expert financial services, including auditing, tax preparation, and advisory. CPAs analyze financial records, ensure accuracy, and provide insights to individuals, businesses, and organizations. They interpret complex tax codes, prepare tax returns, and offer tax planning strategies to minimize liabilities. CPAs also provide financial consulting, helping clients make informed decisions for growth and compliance. With a strong focus on ethics and professionalism, CPAs play a pivotal role in financial management, reporting, and ensuring adherence to accounting standards and regulations.

Online Master’s in Taxation Degree Frequently Asked Questions

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

First, confirm that you meet all of the eligibility requirements. To apply, review the application materials outlined on each program’s webpage. While exact lists differ, most master’s in taxation programs request the following:

  • A completed application
  • Official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate program in a related field (business, finance, or accounting)
  • GRE or GMAT scores (if applicable)
  • A professional resume
  • A personal statement
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Proof of English proficiency (if applicable)
  • A non-refundable processing fee

For any questions regarding the application process, contact an admissions counselor.

How much does an online master's in taxation degree cost?

Online degrees can be more affordable than in-person programs, especially if you can save on travel and living expenses. However, the actual tuition rates per credit hour are largely the same, no matter the course delivery format. Some online courses charge an additional technology fee. The main factor to consider is your residency status. In-state tuition is more affordable than out-of-state rates. Overall, an online master’s in taxation will cost between $9,000 and $39,000 to graduate, or an average of $24,000.

When determining your expenses, there are often supplemental charges to consider. For example, tuition does not include the cost of books or computer-related materials.

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

A typical master’s degree in taxation is 30 credit hours (or ten classes). Full-time attendees can graduate within two years or less. Part-time students who continue working full-time alongside their coursework may need up to three years to graduate.

Is an online master's in taxation worth it?

This advanced degree equips professionals with specialized knowledge of tax codes, regulations, and financial strategies.

One of the key benefits of earning a master’s in taxation is the potential for higher salary levels and career advancement. Graduates with this degree often qualify for higher-paying roles, such as tax consultants, managers, or certified public accountants, that are integral to financial planning and business success. The median salary for an accountant, for example, is $77,250, according to the BLS.

Online master’s programs in taxation offer more flexibility than on-campus programs, allowing students to enhance their skills while managing work and personal commitments. Virtual learning platforms offer access to specialized tax knowledge, case studies, and interactive discussions, enabling professionals to stay current with evolving tax laws.