Best Online Master’s in Taxation 2021

Best Online Master's in Taxation

A master’s degree in taxation offers a more concentrated study of taxes than a general accounting degree. Students pursuing taxation concentrations learn mastery of income, property, payroll, and real estate tax. These degrees prepare graduates for employment as financial examiners, tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 4% growth rate for accounting professionals, who earned a median annual salary of $71,550 as of 2019. Workers who specialize in taxation can gain a competitive edge in the job market.

Pursuing a graduate-level degree in accounting can present financial stresses, but students can pursue flexible online master’s in taxation programs without breaking the bank. Our top list of programs offers a great starting point for prospective students searching for their ideal schools.

Top 10 Best Online Taxation Grad Schools

Rank School Location
1 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
2 Villanova University Villanova, PA
3 Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL
4 University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg, TX
5 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
6 DePaul University Chicago, IL
7 University of Denver Denver, CO
8 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Newark, NJ
9 University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH
10 Bentley University Waltham, MA

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What Is Taxation?

State and federal taxes were introduced in the U.S. in the early 1900s and persist to this day to help fund healthcare, infrastructure initiatives, social programs, and defense. Tax laws continue to adapt and change over time and can vary significantly between states and regions.

Students pursuing graduate-level concentrations in taxation develop a working understanding of tax regulations and laws specific to industries in their areas. Since taxation is a compulsory aspect of modern life, professionals in the financial industry enjoy relatively secure employment.

Many employers in accounting and business expect workers to possess an advanced understanding of the laws governing financial institutions. Many careers see professionals ensuring organizations’ compliance with tax law.

Earning a master’s in taxation benefits those who plan to work as financial examiners, accountants, tax examiners, bookkeepers, and auditing clerks.

Accountants and auditors benefit from graduate-level concentrations in taxation, since much of their work involves financial advising and examining. During tax season, an especially busy time for those working in finance, professionals can apply their advanced knowledge of taxation to benefit their organization or clients.

Why Get an Online Taxation Master’s?

A concentration in taxation provides students with an in-depth understanding of the field. A graduate-level degree also demonstrates a mastery of accounting and a readiness for management and leadership roles.

Tax professionals at the management level may need to develop specific industry skills, but they receive high salaries as a result. According to PayScale, tax managers earn an average annual salary of $98,220.

Prospective students pursuing online master’s in taxation programs can take advantage of the professional benefits while completing their courses on their own time.

Competitive Edge
Graduates with a taxation focus may enjoy an advantage over other candidates in the job market. This specialization may also meet some of the preferred requirements for certain careers.
Career Advancement
Specializations and advanced industry knowledge can help professionals advance their careers and qualify for management positions.
Widely Available
The flexibility of the online format allows students of all kinds to learn at their own pace while maintaining their work-life balance.

The Top Online Master’s in Taxation Programs for 2021

We compiled the top 15 master’s in taxation programs for 2021. Dig into the details by exploring our ranked list of schools.

Visit the link below to learn more about how we rank schools and programs.

  1. University of Southern California
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    USC, founded in 1880, is a leading private research university located in Los Angeles. The highly selective institution enrolls approximately 20,000 undergraduates and 27,000 graduate and professional students.

    Master of Business Taxation

    USC's part-time online master of business taxation comprises 10 courses with small class sizes and 100% online delivery. Learners attend live class meetings once a week and complete additional exercises on their own schedules.

    Required courses include tax theory and ethics, communication for accounting and tax professionals, and tax research and professional responsibilities. Electives explore international tax, estate and gift tax, family wealth preservation, and more.

    Master's in taxation students can broaden their networks by joining one or more of USC's social, career, or diversity clubs.

    Applying to USC

    Each applicant must possess a bachelor's degree and at least one year of full-time tax-related work experience. Candidates also submit a personal statement, transcripts, and a resume. Prospective students who have not passed all CPA exam sections must provide GMAT scores.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: WSCUC
    Tuition: $1,995/credit
    Required Credits: 30 credits
    Program Length: As few as 21 months
    Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous) or on campus

  2. Villanova University
    Location

    Villanova, PA

    As the only Augustinian Catholic university in the U.S., Villanova was founded in 1842 on the ideals of truth, unity, and love. Nearly 11,000 students attend each year, enjoying an 11-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

    Master of Taxation

    Villanova's nationally recognized online master's in taxation attracts legal, accounting, and business professionals. Enrollees progress through the program in diverse, cross-disciplinary cohorts.

    Conducted jointly by the School of Law and School of Business, Villanova's taxation degree offers courses in charitable gift planning, partnership taxation, and executive compensation. Students complete six core courses and six elective courses. Classes each involve a live discussion component, scheduled once a week during the evenings.

    Enrollees can pursue graduate certificates in conjunction with their taxation degrees. Options include the state and local tax certificate, estate planning certificate, and employee benefits certificate.

    Applying to Villanova

    Each applicant needs a bachelor's degree in accounting or business and one year of professional tax experience (preferred). Villanova requires a recommendation letter, resume, essay, and GMAT/GRE scores, unless waived by successful completion of the CPA exam.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: MSCHE, AACSB
    Tuition: $1,525/credit
    Required Credits: 30 credits
    Program Length: As few as 2 years
    Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous)

  3. Florida Atlantic University
    Location

    Boca Raton, FL

    FAU, a Hispanic-serving institution and the most diverse university in Florida, spans 110 miles of coastline. More than 30,000 students attend each year.

    Executive Master of Taxation

    Students enrolled in FAU's executive master of taxation program can stream course lectures in real time or view recordings at their convenience. Individuals interested in a more traditional learning format can take optional Saturday morning lectures on campus in Fort Lauderdale.

    The 30-credit program requires coursework in tax research, estates and trusts, and concepts of federal income tax. To accommodate working professionals during the busy tax season, FAU schedules no courses in the spring semester.

    The university also offers a master of accounting program with a tax concentration, available online and on campus. This program covers taxation, auditing, and consulting areas.

    Applying to FAU

    FAU accepts applications to its master's in taxation program on a rolling basis. Each candidate needs a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university, plus a competitive GPA. Applicants may need to submit supplemental materials on a case-by-case basis.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public
    Accreditation: SACSCOC, AACSB
    Tuition: $2,500/course
    Required Credits: 30 credits
    Program Length: Just over 2 years
    Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous or asynchronous) or hybrid

  4. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
    Location

    Edinburg, TX

    Created by the Texas Legislature in 2013, UTRGV expanded educational opportunities at campuses and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley. Approximately 29,000 students attend each year.

    Master of Accountancy - Taxation Concentration

    UTRGV's accelerated online master of accountancy satisfies the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy's 150-credit requirement to sit for the CPA examination. Graduates compete for accounting positions in business, government, and public accounting.

    The 30-credit program offers a taxation concentration covering international taxation; tax research and communication; corporate and partnership tax; and wealth, transfers, trusts, and estates. Core accounting courses focus on ethics, business law, research, and technology information.

    Multiple program start dates occur each year. With each course lasting seven weeks, students can complete their degrees in as little as 12 months.

    Applying to UTRGV

    An applicant must submit two letters of recommendation, a letter of intent, a CV, GMAT scores, and demonstrate a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Individuals with CPA licenses, AACSB-accredited graduate degrees, or 3.25 undergraduate GPAs can waive the GMAT requirement.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public
    Accreditation: SACSCOC, AACSB
    Tuition: $472/credit
    Required Credits: 30 credits
    Program Length: 12 months
    Delivery Format: 100% online

  5. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Liberty, established in 1971, operates a main campus in Lynchburg, Virginia, and offers more than 450 programs through online learning. Liberty is an evangelical Christian, liberal arts university that welcomes students from all backgrounds.

    Master of Science in Taxation

    Completing a master's in taxation online at Liberty equips students with the professional knowledge, job skills, and ethical framework needed to advance in accounting and business careers.

    Program courses include tax research and jurisprudence, advanced auditing, advanced financial accounting theory, and topics in individual and pass-through taxation. This varied curriculum offers broad practical applications. Graduates may help clients file their income tax returns, minimize tax liability, or navigate complex areas of taxation, like estates and trusts.

    During the program, students can network with peers and professionals from across the country.

    Applying to Liberty

    Each applicant must possess a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Certain prerequisite accounting courses apply. Liberty requires transcripts and a $50 application fee.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: SACSCOC, ACBSP
    Tuition: $565/credit
    Required Credits: 30 credits
    Program Length: 1 year
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

  6. DePaul University
    Location

    Chicago, IL

    With upwards of 20,000 students enrolled each year, DePaul is the largest Catholic university in the nation. The university's location in the heart of Chicago provides unprecedented access to networking and internship opportunities.

    Master of Science in Taxation

    DePaul's master's in taxation was one of the first of its kind launched in the United States. Students can complete the degree partially or entirely online, on a part-time or full-time basis. DePaul also allows learners to take semesters off during busy tax seasons.

    The 46-credit program comprises eight required courses and five electives. Available classes include writing for tax professionals, advanced concepts in international taxation, taxation of real estate, and tax-exempt organizations.

    Over 90% of taxation master's alumni find employment, continue their education, or pursue other goals within six months of exiting the program. Graduates earn an average salary of $60,000.

    Applying to DePaul

    DePaul requires each prospective taxation student to provide a completed online application, a $60 application fee, official transcripts, a resume, and an essay explaining professional goals and program interest. Letters of recommendation are optional.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: HLC, AACSB
    Tuition: $1,080/credit
    Required Credits: 46 credits
    Program Length: 1 year
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or hybrid

  7. University of Denver
    Location

    Denver, CO

    Situated where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains, DU remains committed to meaningful local involvement and global reach. This high-volume research institution enrolls approximately 13,000 students each year.

    Master of Taxation

    Requiring a total of 24-30 credits, DU's online master's in taxation program offers coursework in startup and venture capital taxations, ethics in tax practice, and natural resources taxation.

    Denver hosts a low-income taxpayer clinic that welcomes graduate tax students to participate for credit or on a volunteer basis. Participants gain valuable experience with clients, research, and working directly with the IRS.

    Local, regional, and national firms, including the Big Four, visit campus to interview and recruit tax personnel each fall. Many DU alumni currently work for top accounting firms.

    Applying to DU

    Each candidate must provide official transcripts, a personal statement, resume, at least one letter of recommendation, and a $65 application fee. GMAT or GRE scores are required, with waivers available for eligible applicants.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: HLC
    Tuition: $1,426/credit
    Required Credits: 24-30 credits
    Program Length: 1 year
    Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous or asynchronous) or on campus

  8. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
    Location

    Newark, NJ

    As one of the highest-ranked and most diverse public research universities in the nation, Rutgers operates three main locations across New Jersey. More than 70,000 students enroll each year.

    Master of Accountancy in Taxation

    The master's in taxation program offered by the Rutgers Business School is a part-time, primarily online degree designed to provide flexibility for busy, working professionals. Learners may attend classes virtually in real time or view recordings at their convenience.

    Students must travel to the Newark campus to complete exams, but Rutgers requires no other in-person components. Program courses include ethics in business, tax practice and procedures, and regulation of tax practice.

    Rutgers provides access to dedicated career teams and related resources, including internal job portals, virtual and in-person workshops, and a career management system specifically designed for business students.

    Applying to Rutgers

    Each applicant must possess a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, an accounting background, and work experience in taxation. All candidates supply a $70 application fee, official transcripts, an essay, a resume, and two letters of recommendation.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public
    Accreditation: MSCHE, AACSB
    Tuition: $1,155/credit (in state); $2,004/credit (out of state)
    Required Credits: 30 credits
    Delivery Format: Online (synchronous and asynchronous) with some in-person requirements

  9. University of Cincinnati
    Location

    Cincinnati, OH

    More than 46,000 students attend UC each year. Since its founding in 1819, the major Ohio research university has produced graduates who possess real-world experience and demonstrate educational excellence.

    Master of Science in Taxation

    UC's online master's in taxation equips each enrollee with a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of tax law. Graduates work as professional tax advisors for individuals, small businesses, and large corporations.

    The program's award-winning faculty includes tax experts, CPAs, lawyers, and Fortune 500 accounting professionals. Students receive instruction in individual and corporate taxation, federal tax research, and corporate tax life cycle strategies. Electives cover IRS practice and procedures, along with specialized areas like estate and gift tax.

    UC's structures its online programs in an entirely online, asynchronous format. Online enrollees do not need to make on-campus visits, but they can walk at graduation.

    Applying to UC

    Each applicant needs a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. UC requires submission of a goal statement, unofficial transcripts, a resume, and two letters of recommendation. GRE/GMAT scores are not required.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Public
    Accreditation: HLC, AACSB
    Tuition: $12,467/semester (in state); $12,617/semester (out of state)
    Required Credits: 30 credits
    Program Length: As little as 1 year
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

  10. Bentley University
    Location

    Waltham, MA

    Bentley focuses on providing business leaders with the practical and critical-thinking skills needed to pursue successful careers. Located in Waltham, Massachusetts, Bentley enrolls 5,300 students as one of the best business schools in the nation.

    Master's in Taxation

    The 30-credit online master's in taxation from Bentley is the largest graduate tax program in New England. Big Four partners and corporate tax department vice presidents instruct courses at Bentley.

    The core curriculum covers professional tax practice, tax consequences of property transactions, and tax treatment of individuals and corporations. Students can choose to attend class virtually or in person, engaging in live discussions with peers and instructors.

    Bentley's program fulfills the academic requirements needed to pursue CPA licensure in many states. Alumni have secured positions with Deloitte, JPMorgan, and Fidelity Investments.

    Applying to Bentley

    Each applicant must possess a bachelor's degree and supply required materials, including a resume, two essays, and two letters of recommendation. Eligible candidates may waive the GMAT or GRE score requirement.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: NECHE
    Tuition: $5,124/course
    Required Credits: 30 credits
    Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous) or on campus

  11. St. John's University
    Location

    Queens, NY

    Founded in 1870, St. John's is a Catholic and Vincentian university located in Queens, New York. Nearly 22,000 students attend each year, participating in world-class academics and a tradition of service.

    Master of Science in Taxation

    St. John's online master's in taxation fulfills the education requirement for the CPA examination and prepares tax professionals to plan strategies, conduct research, perform compliance, and communicate findings. Each enrollee must complete five required courses and six electives to graduate.

    Areas of study include corporate taxation, individual tax planning, and financial products. The program requires a research project and offers an optional taxation internship. Students receive access to technological tools, including online access to major tax services.

    Prospective St. John's students can also consider the university's MBA in taxation, available online and on campus.

    Applying to St. John's

    St. John's requires a professional goals statement, a resume, two letters of recommendation, and official transcripts. Applicants may demonstrate successful completion of the uniform CPA examination in lieu of submitting GMAT scores.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: MSCHE
    Tuition: $1,280/credit
    Required Credits: 31 credits
    Program Length: 12-24 months
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or on campus

  12. Stetson University
    Location

    DeLand, FL

    Stetson, a private university founded in 1883 in DeLand, FL, focuses on learning that stimulates critical thinking, imaginative inquiry, creative expression, and lively intellectual debate. Approximately 4,400 students attend each year.

    Master of Accountancy - Tax Track

    The flexible, online master of accountancy program at Stetson offers both asynchronous coursework and real-time interaction with faculty who bring years of industry experience to the classroom. Each accelerated, five-week session allows enrollees to maximize networking opportunities with instructors and peers.

    To complete the program's tax track, students complete three courses: tax research, taxation of U.S. corporations, and taxation of partnerships. Other required courses include advanced auditing, advanced accounting theory, and accounting information systems.

    Historically, more Stetson accounting alumni pass the uniform CPA examination than the Florida average — 60% vs. 52%.

    Applying to Stetson

    Stetson accepts graduate business applications on a rolling basis. Each prospective student provides official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a resume, a personal statement, and a $50 application fee.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: SACSCOC, AACSB
    Tuition: $1,000/credit
    Required Credits: 30 credits
    Program Length: As little as one year
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous or synchronous)

  13. Southern New Hampshire University
    Location

    Manchester, NH

    SNHU first emerged as a school for accounting and secretarial science in 1932. Today, as one of the fastest-growing universities in the nation, the school enrolls over 3,000 on-campus students and 135,000 online learners.

    Master of Science in Accounting - Taxation

    SNHU's master of science in accounting program provides students with a broad education in business law, finance, ethics, and auditing. Graduates find employment in public accounting, auditing, management accounting, and taxation.

    The taxation concentration comprises three specialized courses: estate and gift taxation, tax research methodology, and special topics in taxation. The 36-credit program fulfills the requirements needed to sit for the CPA exam in most states.

    Online SNHU students receive access to a private online community for networking, participating in events, and joining clubs, like SNHU's student chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants.

    Applying to SNHU

    SNHU charges no application fee and accepts new students throughout the year. Graduate applicants must provide a completed application, transcript release form for all prior schools, and a graduate attestation form detailing GPA and conferral date.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: NECHE, ACBSP
    Tuition: $627/credit
    Required Credits: 36 credits
    Program Length: As few as 15 months
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

  14. University of New Haven
    Location

    West Haven, CT

    Approximately 6,800 students study at New Haven — a private university located between New York City and Boston. New Haven provides a transformative and career-focused education with an emphasis on collaborative, project-based learning.

    Master of Science in Taxation

    New Haven offers its online master's in taxation for accountants, attorneys, government employees, and executives seeking advanced taxation law expertise. The program also satisfies education requirements to sit for the CPA examination.

    Requiring a total of 30 credits, the curriculum covers partnership and limited liability company income taxation, property transactions taxation, and international taxation. All students must complete federal income taxation research projects for practical experience in tax research.

    Program alumni have secured employment in top local, regional, and international CPA firms as partners and high-level executives.

    Applying to New Haven

    Each candidate must provide two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, official undergraduate transcripts demonstrating proof of bachelor's degree completion, and a $50 application fee. New Haven encourages applicants to supply their resumes, as well.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: NECHE, AACSB
    Tuition: $965/credit
    Required Credits: 30 credits
    Program Length: As little as 1 year
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)

  15. Golden Gate University
    Location

    San Francisco, CA

    Nonprofit, private GGU operates a main campus in San Francisco, with additional teaching sites in Seattle and Silicon Valley. GGU offers evening, weekend, and online programs for working professionals.

    Master of Science in Taxation

    GGU's master's in taxation program stresses real-world skills and develops analytic and communication abilities. Students can pursue their degrees online in a self-paced format; an accelerated, in-person cohort; or a hybrid format.

    The 30-credit curriculum requires courses in tax research and decision-making, federal tax procedure, property transactions, and tax timing. Nine credits of electives allow for degree customization. Eligible students can complete optional internships, as well.

    GGU provides an array of student and career services to ensure success before and after graduation.

    Applying to GGU

    Each candidate must possess a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. All applicants must submit official transcripts. Those with undergraduate GPAs below 3.0 should provide statements of purpose and their resumes.

    Program at a Glance

    School Type: Private
    Accreditation: WSCUC
    Tuition: $1,250/credit
    Required Credits: 30 credits
    Program Length: 2-4 years
    Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous), on campus, or hybrid

What the Best Master’s in Taxation Online Programs Have in Common

Whether you study online or on campus, the college experience varies among students. However, the top schools share several important qualities.

They are accredited.

Accreditation is a voluntary yet vital form of quality assurance sought by universities and colleges. During the accreditation process, third-party organizations perform a rigorous evaluation of an institution’s academics, faculty qualifications, financial activities, and other key areas. Accreditation ensures that an institution provides a high-quality education to its students. The schools and programs in our ranking are accredited by the following agencies:

  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission (WSCUC)



They offer academic excellence.

Schools of academic excellence demonstrate a commitment to student success and student-centered education — especially important for online degree-seekers, who learn in a more isolated environment. We consider the number of full-time faculty employed, student-to-faculty ratios, retention rates, and graduation rates for this category. For example, Villanova University boasts a high 90% graduation rate and 96% retention rate for full-time students.





They are reputable.

Top schools maintain competitive admissions processes, and high percentages of students accept admission offers from these institutions. Attending a reputable college or university can improve post-graduation prospects, as alumni from the best schools often compete for top positions and earn higher salaries. Recent graduates of DePaul University’s taxation master’s, for example, enjoy a 92% employment rate.





They are affordable.

We can measure affordability by net tuition price, default loan rate, percentage of students with scholarships or federal aid, and the average amount of aid awarded. At University of Denver, for example, 86% of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid, and graduate students receive nearly $70 million in institutional aid each year.

What To Expect From Master’s in Taxation Programs

Master’s in taxation programs prepare learners for successful careers in the financial industry. Like other graduate-level accounting programs, master’s in taxation degrees can qualify students to sit for the CPA exam. However, a specific concentration in taxation also readies graduates for careers in financial examining, advising, and reporting.

These programs generally take 1-2 years to complete and require a minimum of 30 credits. Tuition cost varies by program, so students should identify affordable programs that match their lifestyles and satisfy their learning needs.

Read More About Taxation Programs

Admission Requirements

Prospective students need to meet certain admission requirements before applying for master’s in taxation programs.

Prior Education
Since a master’s in taxation builds on fundamental aspects of accounting, students need to hold bachelor’s degrees in accounting.
Minimum GPA
Many schools use an undergraduate GPA as a predictor for success in a master’s program. Institutions commonly require a 3.0, but some require a 3.5 or higher.
Required Tests
Master’s programs generally require the successful completion of the GRE or GMAT exams. Required test scores vary by school.
Application Process
Prospective students typically provide materials like transcripts, resumes, and letters of recommendation.
Additional Prerequisites
Graduate application requirements also vary by school, so prospective students should assemble as many materials as possible before beginning their application process.

Degree Options

Students can pursue several different paths to attain careers in taxation. Specific programs vary by school, but graduate-level programs typically appear as master’s in taxation, master’s in accounting with a concentration in taxation, or MBA in taxation degrees.

An MS in taxation provides students with a foundational knowledge of the intricacies of tax law. Students develop focused knowledge in specific areas of the financial industry, such as taxation of entities, taxation of individuals, corporate taxation, or tax accounting methods.

An MS in accounting with a concentration in taxation prepares students for careers in public accounting and qualifies them to sit the certified public accountant (CPA) exam. The concentration in taxation gives accountants an advantage in financial reporting, advising, and auditing.

An MBA in taxation is often a more general degree with courses in marketing, finance, accounting, entrepreneurship, and management, in addition to the taxation concentration. This degree prepares students for upper management and leadership roles related to taxation.

Comparing Taxation and General Accounting Degrees

With so many graduate-level programs to choose from, prospective students may struggle to select the right program for their needs. A student with a background in accounting may consider a master’s in taxation or a master’s in accounting, but they should ultimately decide based on their intended career path.

Both master’s programs generally feature a minimum of 30 credits to help students meet the education requirement to sit the CPA exam. However, the degrees vary in some educational requirements and support slightly different career paths.

Master’s in TaxationMaster’s in Accounting
Program Length1-2 years1-2 years
Course Load30-45 credits30-50 credits
Types of ClassesCorporate taxation

Federal taxation

Partnership taxation

Personal financial planning

Estate, Trusts, and Planning
Financial reporting
 
Accounting theory

Professional communication
 
Ethics for accountants

Assurance services
GoalDevelop mastery of federal tax laws Develop mastery of accounting skills
Student DemographicsProfessionals seeking careers in financial examining, advising, and reporting, and/or leadershipProfessionals seeking careers in accounting and/or leadership
Admission Requirements Bachelor’s in accounting, minimum GPA, transcripts, test scores, resumes, letters of recommendationBachelor’s in accounting, minimum GPA, transcripts, test scores, resumes, letters of recommendation, and sometimes internship or work experience

Popular Taxation Courses

Although curricula vary by school, most master’s programs share certain core requirements. Corporate, federal, and partnership taxation courses provide students with a foundational understanding of the types of tax scenarios that they may encounter in their careers.

Elective courses vary by school, as they often depend on specialized faculty members. Some programs offer courses in personal financial planning or estate and trust planning to help students prepare for specific taxation fields.

  • Corporate Taxation

    This core course provides students with a foundational knowledge of the U.S. federal income taxation of corporations and their shareholders. Coursework explores governing corporate formation, judicial opinions, operations, distributions, and liquidation. Prospective taxation professionals study common taxation issues and work to develop specific solutions.

  • Federal Taxation

    This core course focuses on the U.S. federal tax system as it applies to individuals, employees, and sole proprietors. Enrollees examine the nuances of income and deductions, along with the differing tax treatments for employees versus self-employed taxpayers.

  • Partnership Taxation

    This core course educates students on the purpose, formation, operation, and termination of business or family partnerships. Learners explore issues related to partnership tax, like liquidation, sales of interests, and distribution.

  • Personal Financial Planning

    This elective course prepares students to advise individuals, rather than entities, on money management, investing, and accumulating wealth. Prospective taxation professionals learn about capital markets, risk analysis, asset allocation, and portfolio management. These courses may also cover best practices for investment strategies.

  • Estate and Trusts Planning

    This elective course teaches students to examine the tax codes that apply when an individual or an entity transfers property and wealth. Students learn about state tax deductions, gift tax deductions and exclusions, and the marital deduction. This course may also cover inheritance taxes on wealth and property.

How Much Will a Master’s in Taxation Cost?

The cost of earning a master’s degree in taxation can vary, often ranging from $25,000-$50,000. Several educational factors affect this figure, including required credits, program length, and style of instruction.

Required credits and program length can significantly affect the cost of education. Most master’s in taxation programs offer a minimum of 30 credits, but some require closer to 45 credits, meaning that students should consider the cost per credit and the number of required credits for their prospective programs.

Elite private schools can charge exorbitant amounts, but learners can still pursue many accredited programs with affordable public schools. Additionally, online master’s in taxation programs tend to cost less per credit and allow students to maintain their employment while earning an education.

Graduate students can pursue financial aid through grants, scholarships, loans, and fellowships to lower their overall debt.

What Can You Do With a Master’s in Taxation?

Many careers in the business and accounting industries only require a bachelor’s degree, but job candidates with higher-level education — and especially those with specialized graduate degrees — often enjoy better employment prospects.

The careers listed below relate to finance, taxes, and budgets, so any person employed in these fields can benefit from advanced knowledge in taxation. Additionally, financial examining and advising roles provide steady employment with positive job prospects and comfortable salaries.

  • Financial Examiners

    Careers in financial examination involve reviewing monetary transactions for organizations and adhering to the laws governing financial institutions.

    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
    • Job Outlook (2019-29): +7%
    • Median Annual Salary: $81,090

  • Personal Financial Advisors

    Careers in personal financial advising see professionals reviewing monetary transactions for individuals and advising them on compliance with laws governing financial institutions.

    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
    • Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%
    • Median Annual Salary: $87,850

  • Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

    Careers in tax examining require determining owed taxes and collecting taxes from individuals and businesses for the government.

    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
    • Job Outlook (2019-29): -4%
    • Median Annual Salary: $54,890

  • Accountants and Auditors

    These professionals prepare and examine financial records, especially at the end of a budget year or during tax season.

    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting
    • Job Outlook (2019-29): +4%
    • Median Annual Salary: $71,550

  • Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks

    Careers in bookkeeping involve the organization and production of financial records for organizations.

    • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in a business field with proficient math, computer, spreadsheet, and software skills
    • Job Outlook (2019-29): -6%
    • Median Annual Salary: $41,230

Choosing the Right Taxation Graduate Program

Prospective students can begin their college searches with our ranked school lists, but they should also consider the following important factors in their own research:

Accreditation
Prospective students should look for programs that belong to accredited schools. For business and accounting degrees, schools should hold accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) to ensure high academic quality.
School Size
Students may find that the size of the campus affects their learning experience. Although smaller schools may offer smaller class sizes, larger schools can offer a greater variety of classes and specializations.
Cost and Financial Aid
Financing a graduate-level degree can present major difficulties, especially for working professionals. However, students can pursue affordable online master’s in taxation programs with accessible financial aid to take on less debt.
Program Length
Credit load and length of time to complete a degree vary among programs, affecting students’ total educational investment.
Prestige
A school’s prestige can affect tuition and the credibility of its degrees in the job market. Fortunately, applicants can consider many affordable accredited schools that offer quality education at a lower cost.
Earning Potential
Working professionals who hold master’s degrees in business fields tend to earn higher salaries.

Explore Accounting Careers

Why You Should Get Your Master’s in Taxation Online

Online degrees offer students the unique opportunity to gain workforce experience while simultaneously earning graduate degrees. Since employers in the business industry often value work experience as highly as educational achievement, an online degree may offer an especially smart choice for workers looking to improve in their field. 

Budget-conscious students may also prefer online degrees. Online master’s in taxation programs tend to be cheaper by the credit, and virtual students can save time and money on commuting, parking, and paying campus-specific fees.

Students may feel concerned that online programs lack the reliability of traditional on-campus programs. Fortunately, accreditation agencies like the AACSB determine schools’ integrity. Accreditations communicate the quality of the education to prospective students and the merit of the degree to potential employers.

Students may find choosing the right online master’s degree intimidating, so they should carefully consider what they want to get out of their program and their intended career path.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should I major in to become a tax accountant?

    Getting a bachelor’s degree in accounting is the first step to becoming a tax accountant. After completing undergraduate degrees, students should then pursue master’s in taxation degrees and prepare for the CPA exam.

  • Can I get a taxation degree online?

    Yes. Several online master’s in taxation programs offer added flexibility and reasonable tuition costs. Our top list of programs offers a good place for prospective students to begin their school search.

  • Is a master's in taxation worth it?

    According to PayScale, tax managers earn an average annual salary of $98,220. Individuals who excel with numbers often find the field fulfilling and lucrative.

  • Is taxation a good career?

    Accounting professionals enjoy a projected 4% job growth rate and comfortable annual salaries. Those who specialize in taxation can pursue critical work for individuals and organizations.

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A master's degree in accounting can lead to a lucrative, rewarding career. Get the details and tips you need to find the right school for your goals.

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