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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 $78,000. Those seeking a more lucrative profession might instead work as a financial manager 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, $20,513 per year in tuition.

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

Not every program offers the same curriculum, so determine your specific area of study before applying. For example, some schools allow you to choose a concentration and specialize in a niche such as estate taxation or financial data analytics. If you already know what you would like to do after you graduate, look for programs that match these career goals.

Research schools and programs

You should only apply to institutions that have been approved by a DOE-recognized regional accrediting organization, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education or Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. These organizations evaluate schools to ensure they provide students with a high-quality education. Those who attend a school that isn’t regionally accredited may be unable to access financial aid or transfer credits to another institution if needed.

Ideally, your master’s in taxation program will also be accredited by a respected industry group like the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). These programmatic accrediting organizations have particularly high standards for business education.

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

  • 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.

To learn more about any schools that you’re interested in, you can visit the school’s website, contact an admissions counselor, follow the school on social media, or attend an in-person or virtual open house.

Prepare for tests and applications

Application requirements vary by school and 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 may also prioritize students with relevant professional experience in auditing, accounting, or finance. Many master’s in taxation programs require GRE or GMAT scores. Prepare early for the exam, and consider enrolling in a test preparation program.

Undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement may be required as well. Before submitting an application, always contact an admissions counselor to ensure you have the most accurate information regarding requirements and deadlines.

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.

Before making your final decision, review your needs and goals again. Do you plan to attend school full-time or part-time? Are you only interested in 100% online programs, or are you fine with a hybrid program that has a few in-person requirements? Some programs offer asynchronous courses, which can be completed at your own pace, while others only offer synchronous courses, which involve remotely attending lectures and completing assignments at the same time as other students — which of these two online learning formats do you prefer? Your school should accommodate your scheduling needs and learning preferences.

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. And if you already work in the field, you should see if your employer offers tuition assistance benefits as well.

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

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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 Master of Accounting (MAC), Master of Taxation (MTax), and Master of Laws (LLM).

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 option 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 for full-time students. 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.

Indeed, 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:

  • Accountant or auditor — Assess financial operations and prepare and examine financial records.
    • Median annual salary: $78,000
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 4%
    • New job openings projected: 126,500 annually
  • Financial examiner — Ensure regulatory compliance by reviewing balance sheets, expense accounts, and other financial records.
    • Median annual salary: $82,210
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 20%
    • New job openings projected: 6,300 annually
  • Financial manager — Maintain the financial health of an organization by directing investment activities, managing tax strategies, and developing plans for meeting long-term financial goals.
    • Median annual salary: $139,790
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 16%
    • New job openings projected: 69,600 annually

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?

The average graduate degree program costs $20,513 per year in tuition. Private schools tend to be more expensive than public schools. Also, public schools typically charge much higher tuition rates to out-of-state students than in-state students.

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.

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.