Best Online Master’s Degrees in Taxation: 2017

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Advanced Programs, Careers & Pay in Taxation

In today’s global environment, the fields of law and finance often overlap. This complicated relationship requires individuals with a comprehensive knowledge of taxation to help governments, corporations and private individuals implement accounting practices that accurately reflect their financial health and help them manage spending. Accountants who pursue a master’s degree in taxation can develop specialized knowledge on tax principles and methods, helping them stand out in the industry.

Best Online Master’s in Taxation Degrees: 2017

A master’s degree in taxation has long been accessible as an exclusively online option, and today the offerings have expanded to include a number of respected colleges and universities. Aspiring students trying to determine which school is the best fit can narrow the field by looking at reputable rankings that take into account the finer points of pursuing this degree.

Rank University Name Score Net Price Financial aid percent Online Programs Aavailable Student-Teacher Ratio Grad Rate University Information Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services
1 St John's University-New York Score97.21
Net Price
Financial aid %98%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate59%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
2 Bentley University Score96.97
Net Price
Financial aid %65%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate84%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
3 Northeastern University Score96.79
Net Price
Financial aid %69%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate79%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
4 Nova Southeastern University Score95.20
Net Price
Financial aid %94%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate42%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
5 Florida Atlantic University Score93.53
Net Price
Financial aid %43%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate41%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
6 Golden Gate University-San Francisco Score86.73
Net Price
Financial aid %N/A
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad RateN/A
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less

Search Online Master’s Degrees in Taxation

With so many options for obtaining a master’s degree in taxation online, it can be overwhelming just to view the list of schools, let alone choose one. This search tool should serve to aid students in narrowing the options by location, degree level, school type, tuition rates and even student population. Use it to create a short list of schools to aid in final selection.

Student Population:
School Type:
see map

Timeline of an Online Master’s in Taxation

Getting in: The Application Process

The best programs offering a master’s in taxation will be highly competitive, making it vitally important for an application to stand out. Students should understand what is required from the outset so they can plan their application process appropriately and have enough time to complete all the steps. Here’s what most programs will examine:

  • GRE and/or GMAT scores

    Students bound for grad school usually take the Graduate Record Examination, or for some schools, the Graduate Management Admission Test. Students headed to more business-specific schools are usually required to take the GMAT, while the GRE is a more general grad school readiness exam. Schools value the scores differently and it’s possible to take the exams more than once to improve your numbers if needed.

  • Undergraduate performance.

    Almost all schools require a student to already hold a bachelor’s degree, and will often set standards for a minimum GPA. Most schools demand a grade of at least a B average or 3.0 GPA on entry. Admissions counselors may look for higher grades in undergraduate classes that relate to knowledge and skills necessary for the taxation master’s, such as any pre-law, accounting or economics courses.

  • Statement or personal essay.

    The personal essay is an opportunity for applicants not only to demonstrate their communication skills, but also to express their interest in the program and passion for the field. For a master’s in taxation, schools often require two essays: one addressing why you want to apply to their program, and one detailing your career goals.

  • Resume.

    Most graduate programs in taxation look for applicants who have several years of experience working in the field. The average requirement for a taxation program is eight years of previous professional experience. A strong resume showing upward mobility in a company and a growth in job responsibilities will bode well for prospective students.

  • Letters of recommendation.

    Most schools request that applicants supply letters from former professors, managers or work colleagues to admission into a master’s in taxation program. On average, programs will require one to three letters of recommendation to round out the application portfolio.

  • Interview.

    Some colleges conduct personal interviews with candidates to get a sense of their achievements and future goals in the taxation field. Interviews can be done in person or via video chat for those who don’t live near the physical campus.

  • Financial Documents.

    Some schools may request financial documents to show how a student will pay for the program. In addition, to apply to financial aid programs—which are available at the federal and state levels, as well as through private sources—students will need ready access to information about their income and assets.

Year 1

The first year of an online master’s in taxation is dedicated to learning the fundamentals of the national income tax code, as well as how to use accounting methods for applying them. Because taxation also has legal underpinnings, students will learn how to research, interpret, understand and apply relevant case law to their work. Most major areas of taxation are introduced, including corporate and federal tax, as well as business structuring and real estate issues.

Year 2

This year features courses that delve deeper into the student’s chosen concentration, as well as classes that prepare students for other degree requirements, such as a master’s thesis. Many students will also take a career development preparation course in order to target employment opportunities. Students use this year to finish up any requirements, meet their concentration credits, and work on their theses and research projects.

Testing & Graduation Requirements

Graduation requirements for online master’s programs encompass more than coursework; they are designed to ensure students have learned the proper skills and knowledge to have a successful career in the financial sector. Most schools choose from the following when establishing graduation requirements:

  • Research project.

    This project lets students demonstrate their knowledge about the fundamentals of taxation law and theory. For example, students might be expected to explore taxation issues and offer recommendations on how to address gaps or loopholes in the law.

  • Applied project.

    This project has students apply their knowledge of taxation law in the real world, working on an actual assignment from a company or other organization. Completing and applied project during an online master’s program demonstrates to prospective employers that the graduate has a functioning practical knowledge of the field that supports their academic studies.

  • Internship.

    Participating in an internship provides real-world experience in a position related to taxation. An internship might be set up through the college’s career resources, or students may find one on their own and receive course credit for their hours. Internships also offer a potential avenue to employment upon completion of the master’s program.

  • Master’s thesis.

    The thesis caps the master’s pursuit with a written report typically accompanied by an oral presentation involving original research and theories on a tax-related issue. Depending on the school, the thesis may be optional, allowing students to opt for an internship instead.

  • Comprehensive exam.

    The comprehensive examination tests the knowledge and skills that students should have been learned throughout the online master’s program. Most students begin studying for this exam during the first year of their program.

The Return on a Master’s in Taxation: Careers and Salary

An online master’s degree in taxation broadens the horizons of anyone working in the accounting sector, especially those who already have established careers. Numerous jobs are available to those who have a master’s degree and the right kind of experience. Here are some of the most popular concentrations in the field:

Concentrations
Corporate Tax

Students focus on all aspects of taxation law as it relates to corporations. This track emphasizes the importance of proper research and accounting skills required to ensure that one is technically and legally competent within the field.

Career:
Corporate Tax Accountant
Corporate Tax Accountant

These professionals have duties similar to those of public accountants, but have detailed knowledge about corporate tax practices and tailor their services accordingly.

Tax Paralegal
Tax Paralegal

Works in tandem with tax lawyers to help them stay abreast of the ever-changing tax code and help clients solve tax issues. Duties include conducting research, managing files and assisting in preparing returns.

Tax Manager
Tax Manager

A managerial position that involves overseeing multiple accounts requiring tax-related services. Responsible for building and maintaining client relationships, training staff and reviewing their performance, and preparing internal memos and documents to be submitted to the IRS.

Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor

Bridges the gap between theory and practice by teaching students the fundamentals of taxation and related laws, and how to apply them in professional situations.

Federal Tax

This concentration teaches students the skills required for working in the public sector of taxation, such as a career in government at the federal, state or municipal level. Students learn the objectives of taxation and the codes set up to implement it, and learn to spot inconsistencies or loopholes that can be resolved through future legal action.

Career:
Public Tax Accountant
Public Tax Accountant

Offers tax accounting services to small and large businesses, governments, nonprofit organizations, and private individuals. May work for an accounting firm; many are also self-employed.

Government Auditor
Government Auditor

Works with agencies at the local, municipal and state levels to ensure that financial operations are properly executed and that public spending meets accountability standards.

Revenue Agent
Revenue Agent

Responsible for ensuring that governments receive tax revenue from businesses and citizens. They review tax returns to determine if taxes are owed; they are also responsible for collecting such payments.

Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor

Bridges the gap between theory and practice by teaching students the fundamentals of taxation and related laws, and how to apply them in professional situations.

International Tax

Students learn how international law is applied throughout the global economy; how global trends may affect the future of international taxation law; and how to apply foreign tax laws and rules that affect multinational corporations.

Career:
Tax Paralegal
Tax Paralegal

Works in tandem with tax lawyers to help them stay abreast of the ever-changing tax code and help clients solve tax issues. Duties include conducting research, managing files and assisting in preparing returns.

Tax Manager
Tax Manager

A managerial position that involves overseeing multiple accounts requiring tax-related services. Responsible for building and maintaining client relationships, training staff and reviewing their performance, and preparing internal memos and documents to be submitted to the IRS.

Corporate Tax Accountant
Corporate Tax Accountant

These professionals have duties similar to those of public accountants, but have detailed knowledge about corporate tax practices and tailor their services accordingly.

Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor

Bridges the gap between theory and practice by teaching students the fundamentals of taxation and related laws, and how to apply them in professional situations.

Tax Planning

This concentration focuses on learning how to differentiate between various tax structures, and how businesses, corporations and estate groups can be reorganized to create more effective structures. Students also learn how to implement tax planning to meet the expectations of stakeholders or the objectives of the organization.

Career:
Real Estate Manager
Real Estate Manager

Manages the financial and taxation aspects of real estate firms and property management corporations.

Tax Technician
Tax Technician

Performs a variety of administrative tasks that free up time for their fellow accountants. They prepare and submit routine documents, locate and deliver paperwork to their team members, and assume filing duties.

Tax Analyst
Tax Analyst

Researches transaction tax issues, assists with audits, provides advice about adhering to rules and regulations, and interprets tax law so that clients comply with all regulations.

Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor

Bridges the gap between theory and practice by teaching students the fundamentals of taxation and related laws, and how to apply them in professional situations.

Tax Procedure and Policy

Students who want a career in interpreting and applying case law related to taxation learn about how the tax code is structured, as well as the legal principles and precedents applied in specific situations. Given the broad nature of the tax code, this concentration can be used in a variety of public and private sectors.

Career:
Tax Analyst
Tax Analyst

Researches transaction tax issues, assists with audits, provides advice about adhering to rules and regulations, and interprets tax law so that clients comply with all regulations.

Tax Manager
Tax Manager

A managerial position that involves overseeing multiple accounts requiring tax-related services. Responsible for building and maintaining client relationships, training staff and reviewing their performance, and preparing internal memos and documents to be submitted to the IRS.

Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor

Bridges the gap between theory and practice by teaching students the fundamentals of taxation and related laws, and how to apply them in professional situations.

Salary Potential with a Master’s Degree

Students who complete an online master’s in taxation program often do so for the job advancement opportunities—such as managerial positions — and the pay increase that typically accompanies an advanced degree. PayScale.com reports that, on average, those with a master’s degree earn wages 40 to 50 percent higher than their colleagues with bachelor’s degrees. Specifically, users on PayScale with a bachelor’s in accounting reported earning between $35,838 and $84,653, whereas users with a master’s in taxation earned between $50,684 and $127,018. The numbers below demonstrate the job growth and average median salary for accountants and auditors, regardless of degree level:

Growth potential 13%
Average Salary $65,940

Additional Resources & Links

Students and professionals alike can network with like-minded individuals and find a host of resources through the following organizations:

  • American Accounting Association

    The largest community of accountants in the academic field, the AAA offers a platform for research and publications related to taxation issues.

  • American Association of Attorney-Certified Public Accountants (AAA-CPA)

    Represents members who are both practicing accountants and work in the legal field of taxation.

  • American Institute of CPAs (AICPA)

    An advocacy group that promotes the interests of CPAs (certified public accountants) by offering various educational, research and career services.

  • American Taxation Association

    This section of the American Accounting Association focuses on providing education about taxation law by publicizing and disseminating taxation materials and research. Also serves as an intermediary between tax academics, professionals and various financial organizations.

  • Association of Finance Professionals

    Members worldwide can take advantage of career training and advisory services, as well as publication and data management tools. The organization also hosts annual financial conferences and offers various professional certifications.

  • Financial Women’s Association

    Dedicated to enhancing the role of women in finance by connecting professionals from every sector of the financial world and developing future leaders.

  • National Association of Tax Professionals

    A nonprofit organization that provides support, education and services to its member base, which includes tax preparers, tax attorneys, certified public accountants and financial planners.

  • National Society of Accountants

    An advocacy group that promotes high standards in ethics, education and professional excellence for its members, who are comprised mostly of accountants and tax practitioners. Provides members with networking opportunities and information about the industry, and helps organize events.

Best Online Master’s in Taxation Degrees

Methodology here.

RANK COLLEGE SCORE TEACHER/STUDENT RATIO COST GRADUATION RATE
1 University of Southern California 100.00 9:1 91%
2 University of Tulsa 98.75 11:1 70%
2 University of Denver 98.75 11:1 76%
4 Bentley University 97.50 12:1 88%
5 Nova Southeastern University 93.75 16:1 46%
5 Northeastern University 93.75 14:1 82%
5 Florida Atlantic University 93.75 24:1 46%
8 National University 91.25 20:1 40%