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This article contains information about what a master’s degree in taxation is. It discusses the reasons you may want to earn one, and the typical topics and learning outcomes involved. There also is information about a specific, online master’s degree in taxation.
What Is a Master’s in Taxation?
A master’s in taxation is a specialized type of accounting degree that will build your knowledge in tax law at the federal and state level. The master’s in taxation will usually be within a university’s school of business and is designed to train students to evaluate finances to ensure that companies and individuals are in compliance with tax codes.
These programs are two or three years in length. The program will teach graduate students about filing tax returns, conducting tax investigations, working with government taxing authorities, advising corporate clients on tax decisions, and how to create corporate budgets.
In addition to providing advanced taxation advice, students usually may focus on a certain area in tax law, including estate planning, income taxes and tax planning. Students learn modern, sound tax strategies to prevent clients from being audited. They also learn how to represent clients in tax investigations.
Some of the common topic areas in a master’s in taxation online program are:
- Special topics in taxation
- Estate and gift taxation
- Tax research methodology
- Advanced auditing
- Business law
- Cost accounting
- Financial reporting
- Situational ethics
- Control and auditing of accounting information systems
Why Earn a Master’s in Taxation?
As the economy is gathering strength in the last several years since the economic downturn, there is more need for accountants and tax professionals.
Demand is being driven by more economic activity, which naturally spurs the need for more professionals who are experts in current tax law. Another factor is the greater scrutiny that is taking place in the business and finance sector after the last recession.
There are more financial regulations to ensure that company business practices are ethical and legal, which creates greater need for many financial professionals. There also is more need for audits, which creates need for professionals with graduate degrees in taxation.
The higher need for tax professionals can be seen in recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Employment for accountants and tax professionals will rise by 11% by 2024, which is faster than average. The Bureau also states that employment for tax professionals is tied closely to the strength of the economy. As the economy continues to grow, tax professionals are needed to prepare tax records and to examine various financial records to ensure that federal law is being followed.
There also are other growing professions where a master’s in taxation can be very beneficial. For example, many top executives have a master’s degree either in business, accounting or taxation. Chief executive officers and chief financial officers benefit immensely from this type of financial and taxation background. Job demand in the field will grow 6% by 2024.
Also, as more companies go public in the economic expansion, there is greater need for accountants with tax law skills to handle the financial documentation required.
You ability to obtain a good-paying job in this field will increase after you earn your master’s degree, especially if you become a Certified Public Accountant or CPA. To become a CPA, you must pass a national examination and meet other requirements of your state. Most states currently mandate that CPA candidates have 150 semester hours of college courses to be certified. This is 30 more hours than the typical undergraduate degree.
Some schools may offer a five year, bachelor’s/master’s program in accounting and or taxation to meet this requirement.
Tax professionals also earn a good salary, with accountants and auditors earning a median salary of $68,100 per year. Those with the most experience and a master’s degree can earn more than $120,000 per year.
Master’s in Taxation Online Programs
Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University offers a Master of Science in Accounting with a concentration in taxation. This is a highly focused taxation curriculum that will introduce the student to vital taxation concepts, rules and practices involving income taxation for corporations, partnerships and individuals. Students also will learn in detail about excise taxes on estates and goods.
This fully online program is taught by professional accountants, and is designed to help the student to meet the strong demand for highly skilled tax professionals and accountants. You will enjoy practical and interactive coursework so that you gain the technical and analytical skills that public and private companies need for their accounting and taxation professionals today.
The SNHU program aligns with Content and Skill Specification Outlines that have been established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants or AICPA.
Required courses in this two year, online master’s program are:
- Estate and Gift Taxation
- Special Topics in Taxation
- Advanced Auditing
- Accounting Capstone
- Corporate Finance
- Business Law
- Control and Audit of Accounting Info System
- Situational Ethics in Accounting
- Managing Through Communication
- Federal Income Tax of Corporations and Partnerships
Some students may be required to take background courses in mathematics and statistics, economics for business and financial reporting and analysis.
University of Southern California
USC also offers an online Master of Business Taxation that has been made for working tax professionals in private industry, accounting, and regulatory and governmental agencies, who want to stay employed full time while completing their degree.
This program is intended to be completed within as few as five semesters or 21 months. The typical student completes the master’s program in seven or eight semesters. One year of full time work experience in a tax related position is required. It is a 30 unit program that has 10, three unit courses. Students must complete five core classes, and then they can choose five more electives.
Faculty and students meet each week via live video discussions. There they will examine vital course concepts, review accounting and taxation homework, and talk about business taxation and current events. Core class content, which includes guest experts, mini lectures case studies and interactive class exercises, are available online in the virtual classroom.
Faculty office hours and peer discussion groups happen via video web chat.
Required courses and available electives include:
- ACCT 550T Tax Research and Professional Responsibilities
- ACCT 560T Tax Theory and Ethics
- ACCT 551T Taxation of Partnerships and S-Corps
- ACCT 561T Income Tax of Corporations and their Shareholders
- GSBA 523T Communication for Acct and Tax Professionals
- ACCT 580T Tax Accounting Methods
- ACCT 570T State and Local Tax Concepts
- ACCT 583 Income Tax Accounting and Auditing
- ACCT 569T Advanced Partnership Taxation
- ACCT 578T Advanced Corporate Taxation
- ACCT 567T Taxation of Transactions in Property
- ACCT 563T Federal Estate and Gift Taxes
- ACCT 571T Taxation of Individuals
Every online class meets every week online, which lasts approximately 90 minutes. Every student also most complete two hours of asynchronous class time each week when he or she likes. Students also will need to complete additional study and homework hours on their own each week.
Earning a master’s degree in taxation is a good career choice for the experienced business student or professional who wants to expand his or her tax law skills to rise higher in the field. This type of degree program is a good choice for the student who wants to become a CPA so that they can attain the highest-paying tax professional positions.
- Accountants and Auditors. (2015, Dec. 17). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm#tab-4