Best Master’s in Taxation Degrees of 2022

| Accounting.com Staff Updated on August 1, 2022

Best Master’s in Taxation Degrees of 2022

Are you ready to find a school that's aligned with your interests?

Earning a master's in taxation prepares students for rewarding careers in business and finance. Popular career paths for tax professionals include accounting, financial management, financial analysis, and tax examination and collecting. Many employers require or prefer job candidates with master's degrees. A master's in taxation can improve the career opportunities and salaries available to graduates.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 8% growth in business and financial occupations between 2020 and 2030, about as fast of a growth projection for all occupations. Factors contributing to this projected growth include expanding economies, globalization, and a complex regulatory and tax environment.

This page includes our list of the best master of taxation programs. We also answer the question, "What can I do with a master's in taxation?", explain what to expect from a typical program, and suggest strategies for choosing the right school.

What Is Taxation?

Taxation is a subdiscipline of accounting, and individuals specializing in tax matters usually concentrate in areas like individual, partnership, or corporate taxation. Tax professionals help organizations across industries make sense of complicated regulations and laws. Skilled tax accountants can help organizations streamline their financial planning by assisting in their understanding of and compliance with tax obligations.

Tax professionals help organizations across industries make sense of complicated regulations and laws.

Jobs available in taxation include tax accountant, certified public accountant (CPA), tax examiner and collector, and financial analyst. Tax professionals find work in nearly every industry; major employers include accounting and tax preparation services, finance and insurance groups, and government organizations. Many tax professionals choose self-employment as well.

People drawn to taxation often demonstrate a knack for numbers, attention to detail, and a strong aptitude for problem-solving. Professionals in this field enjoy opportunities to work in several industries, contribute to the accounting community, and engage in challenging work. The profession is also known for high standards of ethics and integrity.

A master's in taxation helps graduates distinguish themselves from other job applicants and qualify for more specialized, well-paid positions.

Why Get a Tax Master's?

You may be asking yourself, "Should I get a master's in taxation?" Only you can answer that question, but earning a master of taxation degree offers expanded career opportunities, solid salaries, and specialized new skills. A master's in taxation also prepares students to apply to law school and become tax attorneys.

  • Career Opportunities: Earning a master's in taxation equips students for business and finance careers. Master's in tax graduates pursue jobs as CPAs, tax examiners and collectors, financial managers, and financial analysts.
  • Higher Salaries: A taxation master's degree helps tax professionals qualify for more specialized positions, which often garner higher salaries. The degree also gives graduates a specialized skill set to leverage when negotiating for better compensation.
  • Specialized Skills: Graduates of master's in taxation programs hold high-level technical accounting skills. Students gain understanding of complicated state and federal tax codes and regulations.

What to Expect From Master's in Taxation Programs

Tax master's programs provide a foundation in general accounting theory and practice while focusing on specialized knowledge of tax regulations and tax law. Tax master's programs prepare degree-seekers for a variety of careers helping companies and individuals understand their tax obligations and comply with the law.

Most tax master's degrees take two years or less to complete and require 30-60 credits. Cost varies by program, but learners can usually earn the most affordable degrees at public universities where they can pay in-state tuition. Curricula for taxation master's programs vary, but common offerings include fundamentals of taxation, tax research and writing, corporate taxation, and tax procedure.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for master's in taxation programs differ by university but always call for a bachelor's degree at minimum. Requirements rarely ask for an undergraduate degree in any specific field, but applicants can increase their chances if they hold a bachelor's in accounting, finance, or a related discipline. Those without this academic background may need to complete prerequisite foundational courses before enrolling in tax master's classes. Some programs also require relevant professional experience.

Most tax master's programs require applicants to hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and earn satisfactory GRE scores. Prospective students with strong academic backgrounds may receive a GRE waiver in some cases. The graduate application process usually requires learners to submit college transcripts, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and a resume. Additional materials may include writing samples, answers to essay questions, and a statement of purpose.

Degree Options

Schools offer many types of master's in taxation programs, including an MS in taxation, an MS in accounting with a concentration in taxation, a master of accountancy (MAcc) with a taxation concentration, and a master of laws (LL.M.) in taxation. Below, we compare master's in tax degrees.

  • MS in Taxation: This degree emphasizes U.S. tax regulations and codes. Students gain proficiency in general accounting but focus on tax accounting. Graduates work as tax accountants, tax examiners, and CPAs.
  • MS in Accounting with a Taxation Concentration: A master of science in accounting with a taxation concentration focuses on general accounting theory and practice. Students take some specialized taxation courses and qualify for careers as CPAs, tax accountants, tax examiners, and general accountants.
  • MAcc with a Taxation Concentration: Curricula and career opportunities for these MAcc programs mirror those of MS in accounting programs with taxation concentrations.
  • LL.M. in Taxation: A master of law in taxation provides specialized legal training in taxation. LL.M. students may include current lawyers, juris doctor students, and accounting majors. Depending on their academic backgrounds, graduates might work for law firms, accounting companies, or government agencies.

Top Online Master's

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

Comparing Master's in Tax and General Accounting Degrees

Because taxation is a subfield of accounting, general accounting master's degrees and taxation master's degrees are quite similar. A general accounting degree covers a broader curriculum, providing a foundation in advanced theory and practice of accounting.

A master's in taxation focuses primarily on specialized tax theory and practice. It makes sense to earn a tax master's if you know you want a career in taxation. Students who earn a general accounting master's qualify for an expanded assortment of career opportunities.

Master's in Taxation Master's in Accounting
Program Length 1-2 years 1-2 years
Course Load 30-60 credits 30-60 credits
Types of Classes Fundamentals of taxation, partnership and corporate taxation, tax research and writing, tax procedure Advanced financial accounting, auditing and assurance, federal taxation, corporate financial research and reporting
Focus Taxation Financial accounting, auditing, taxation
Admission Requirements Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school, minimum 2.5-3.0 GPA, acceptable GRE scores, finance/accounting prerequisites Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited school, minimum 2.5-3.0 GPA, acceptable GRE scores, finance/accounting prerequisites
Career Opportunities Tax accountant, tax examiner, financial analyst, financial manager Financial accountant, CPA, financial analyst, auditor, financial manager, financial analyst, forensic accountant, management accountant

Popular Taxation Courses

Specific curriculum vary by program but usually focus on the fundamentals of tax law, theory, and practice. Students gain an understanding of major tax regulations and U.S. tax code. Most master's in taxation programs require core, elective/concentration, and project/capstone courses. Below, we describe some common master's in taxation courses.

  • Fundamentals of Taxation: Students receive an introduction to foundational tax principles while exploring the income tax treatment of individuals and businesses in this core class. Topics include the U.S. federal tax system, applying tax law to business decisions, and evaluating tax policies. This course also explores issues like expense deduction, income recognition, and property transactions.
  • Tax Research: This core class provides an introduction to the theories and methodologies of tax research. Students learn techniques for detecting risk, assessing primary and secondary sources, and finding potential tax problems. Enrollees gain analytical, communication, and research skills.
  • Estate and Gift Taxation: An elective course, estate and gift taxation focuses on the federal taxation of estates and gifts. Topics include determination of taxable estate, gross estate, and taxable gift. Participants develop quantitative and problem-solving skills.
  • Consolidated Tax Returns: This elective explores the federal tax treatment of consolidated groups. Topics include intercompany transactions, stock basis calculations, and loss disallowance rules. Enrollees learn to determine what is considered a consolidated group.
  • Corporate Taxation: This core course covers advanced federal income taxation of corporations, with emphasis on the connection between financial considerations and tax law. Students learn about the tax treatment of tax-free mergers and acquisitions, dividends, and redemptions. Learners develop problem-solving, analytical, and research skills.

How Much Will a Master's in Tax Cost?

The cost of a master's in taxation varies by school. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average graduate tuition and required fees totaled $19,314 as of the 2018-19 academic year.

Factors affecting the price of a master's in taxation include type of school (public or private), program format (online or in person), and tuition rate (in-state or out-of-state). In-state tuition at a public university typically offers the most affordable option. Distance education programs can sometimes save degree-seekers money with tuition discounts and accelerated options.

Prospective learners should consider other costs they may incur during their studies, including textbooks, technology upgrades, housing, and transportation. Master's in taxation programs often provide financing options including scholarships, grants, low-interest loans, and graduate research or teaching assistantships.

Jobs for Master of Taxation Graduates

Prospective students often ask: "What can I do with a master of tax degree?" Potential career paths for graduates include a variety of tax, finance, legal, and business opportunities such as CPA, tax accountant, and tax examiner and collector.

Those who continue their education or enter the program with a law degree, can practice tax law. CPAs need to earn a CPA certification in addition to a degree in order to practice. Below, we describe some typical careers for graduates of master's in law programs, including common job duties, expected salary, and projected occupation growth.

Certified Public Accountant

CPAs help clients with accounting, auditing, and tax issues. They may review client financial information, learn about new government regulations, and prepare documents for internal or external audits. CPAs tend to work more during tax season. Typical employers include government agencies and public accounting firms. Many CPAs opt for self-employment.

Required Education: Master's degree | Average Annual Salary: $69,087

Tax Accountant

Tax accountants earn an average annual salary of over $57,000, but can make even more through commissions, profit sharing, and bonuses. Typical job duties include preparing tax returns, strategizing ideas for reducing tax obligations, and explaining tax regulations to clients.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree | Average Annual Salary: $57,634

Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

Tax examiners and collectors and revenue agents work on behalf of the government to determine the tax obligations of organizations and individuals. Typical job duties may include conducting audits, examining tax returns, collecting tax payments, and keeping records on cases.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree | Job Outlook (2020-30): -4% | Median Annual Salary: $55,640

Financial Manager

Financial managers often work for investment firms, banks, and insurance companies. These professionals manage the overall financial health of organizations. Job duties may include preparing statements, supervising employees, analyzing market trends, and advising management on financial matters. Financial managers' earnings rank among the highest available to master's in taxation graduates.

Required Education: Master's degree often preferred | Job Outlook (2020-30): +17% | Median Annual Salary: $134,180

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts advise individuals and companies about financial issues. These professionals make investment recommendations, study business trends, write reports, and evaluate opportunities. Financial analyst job categories include fund managers, risk analysts, and portfolio managers.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree | Job Outlook (2020-30): +6% | Median Annual Salary: $83,660

Choosing the Right Taxation Graduate Program

Our rankings list of the best master's in taxation programs is a great place to start, but choosing the right program takes time and research. Below, we explain some additional key factors to consider when selecting the right school for you.

  • Accreditation: Attending a regionally accredited college is crucial for your chances of getting financial aid, transferring credits to another institution, and qualifying for professional licensure. Look for schools accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Graduate accounting programs also hold separate programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
  • Cost: To get the best return on investment, find an affordable taxation program that still meets your other priorities. Many colleges offer financial aid opportunities including scholarships, grants, federal student loans, and graduate assistantships.
  • Program Length: Most master's in taxation programs take two years to complete. Choosing an online or accelerated degree may allow you to finish in as little as one year.
  • University Resources: Research what types of student support your program offers. This may include resources like library access, tutoring, IT help, and career development.

Should You Get Your Tax Master's Online?

Many schools offer master's in taxation degrees online. Earning a tax master's online may offer more convenience for some students, especially those with full-time jobs or family responsibilities. Learners of all kinds increasingly see the appeal of distance education, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to make in-person learning more tenuous. In addition to convenience and flexibility, online programs may be more affordable. Many schools offer tuition discounts to out-of-state learners pursuing fully online degrees.

Earning a tax master's online may offer more convenience for some students, especially those with full-time jobs or family responsibilities.

Online students may manage to reduce their student loan burden and graduate with less debt by continuing to work while in school. Only you can decide if distance education will work for you. Consider factors like your learning style, expectations of the college experience, and your goals for earning a degree.

Although many people can learn new things by taking online classes, some simply absorb new information better in a face-to-face program. Students who want to participate in a lot of extracurricular activities and engage in campus life may also prefer a traditional in-person degree experience.

The Top Master's in Taxation Programs

California State University, Fullerton and Baruch College offer the top master's in taxation programs for 2022. The following ranking provides more information about these degrees. To find out how we rank these and other programs, click the link below.

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California State University, Fullerton

Located in northern Orange County, CSUF offers 109 graduate and undergraduate degrees through its eight colleges. CSUF Titans can also participate in more than 375 clubs and organizations, many focusing on leadership, wellness, or athletics.

Master of Science in Taxation

CSUF's master of science in taxation prepares students to serve in law firms, CPA offices, or tax agencies. The program meets California's 150-hour requirement for aspiring CPAs.

Students take nine credits of tax courses, 12 taxation-related elective credits, and six business-related credits. As part of their electives, enrollees may complete a 1-3 credit internship. This degree concludes with a professional capstone in which students demonstrate problem-solving skills using accounting tools in a professional context. Graduation requires a minimum 3.0 GPA.

CSUF welcomes new enrollees in the fall and spring semesters. Some new students may need to complete prerequisite courses.

Applying to CSUF

Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree, preferably in accounting or business administration with a "B" in all major coursework. Prospective students with a GPA lower than 3.3 should consider submitting GRE or GMAT scores.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC); Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Tuition: $3,588/semester
  • Required Credits: 30
  • Delivery Format: On campus
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Baruch College

Founded in 1847 as the Free Academy, Baruch was the first free public college in the United States. Today, it serves more than 19,700 students. Baruch offers 29 undergraduate majors, 56 graduate-level specializations, and two doctoral specializations.

Master's in Taxation

Baruch welcomes applicants from diverse backgrounds to its master's in taxation. This program prepares students to assume tax-related roles at accounting firms, government agencies, or corporations. Students may count the program toward the 150 credits required for a CPA license in New York.

This master's degree requires one preliminary course, 16.5 major credits, and 15 credits of electives. Courses include partnership taxation; current problems in taxation; and estate, trusts, and planning. Students may choose to concentrate in financial planning by taking six of their elective credits in the field.

Enrollees may switch between full-time and part-time course loads.

Applying to Baruch

Applicants need a bachelor's degree in any field. They do not have to submit the GMAT, GRE, or EA scores. Applicants who have completed financial accounting with a "B-" or better can waive the required preliminary course.

Program at a Glance

  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Tuition: $470/credit (in state); $855/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 31.5-34.5
  • Program Length: 1-1.5 years
  • Delivery Format: On campus

Best Online Master's Degree in Taxation

Students who value flexibility can benefit from online learning. According to our ranking methodology, the University of Southern California provides the best online master's in taxation program.

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University of Southern California

Located in Los Angeles, USC serves 49,500 students throughout 22 schools and units. More than 450,000 Trojan alumni live around the world -- about half making their homes in southern California.

Master of Business Taxation for Working Professionals

USC offers an online master of business taxation for working professionals. Fully employed tax professionals who want to gain broader knowledge and research skills can take classes through USC's Marshall School of Business.

The master's in business taxation requires five core courses and five electives. Courses include tax theory and ethics, taxation of corporations and their shareholders, and tax research and professional responsibilities. Students do not take an internship or practicum.

The average student brings six years of work experience, and 95% of the program's learners are licensed CPAs. About half work in mid-tier firms, and about 25% serve in a big four accounting firm.

Applying to USC

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, which includes a course in intermediate accounting, along with one year of full-time tax-related experience. USC also requests GMAT scores or a passing grade on the CPA exam.

Program at a Glance

  • Delivery Format: 100% online, on campus, or hybrid
  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • Tuition: $2,035/credit
  • Required Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: 21 months

Most Affordable and Best Accelerated Master's in Taxation

Some schools create affordable programs by reducing the price per credit hour. Others reduce the length of time a student is in school. The University of Washington achieves affordability by compressing a 51-credit program into a nine-month window.

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University of Washington

UW serves more than 54,000 students and awards 12,000-plus degrees each year. In a single quarter, UW provides 1,800 undergraduate courses. The school maintains campuses in Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma, along with a medical center.

Master of Science in Taxation

UW offers a master of science in taxation to prepare students for high-level careers that require deep knowledge of the tax code and economic decision-making. Students take 14 classes over a nine-month period running from September to June. Each class enrolls about 50 students.

Courses include state provisions, state and local tax issues, and tax research and decision-making. Prior to enrollment, students must have completed prerequisite accounting and business courses. UW's courses incorporate project-based, hands-on learning assignments.

Graduates complete all the requirements to sit for the CPA exam in Washington. In 2021, 100% of graduates received job offers.

UW's Affordability

In this program, UW students pay a single fee for the entire curriculum, $25,000 for state residents and $27,380 for non-residents. Enrollees can take advantage of financial aid packages, including federally subsidized student loans.

UW's Accelerated Experience

Students take courses across three terms -- autumn, winter, and spring. Four courses comprise the autumn term, while five courses each make up the winter and spring terms. New students must begin in the autumn term.

Program at a Glance

  • Tuition: $25,000/year (in state); $27,380/year (out of state)
  • Program Length: 9 months
  • School Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • Required Credits: 51 credits
  • Delivery Format: On campus
  • Admissions
    • Process: Complete the application form, submit a video essay and written essay, submit resume and transcripts, send GMAT scores if required, and submit three recommendations and application fee.
    • Standardized Tests: GMAT for all applicants with a bachelor's degree from another country and recommended for those whose GPA falls below a 3.2
    • Cost: $85

The No. 1 Private School for a Master's in Taxation

While the overall top master's in taxation program is at a public school, Fairfield University offers the best private school to earn a master's in taxation program. Students may appreciate Fairfield's Jesuit and Catholic approach to social impact and spirituality.

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Fairfield University

Located in Fairfield, Connecticut, just an hour outside New York City, Fairfield serves more than 5,000 graduate and undergraduate students. The school is rooted in the intellectual and spiritual tradition of the Jesuit order.

Master of Science in Accounting (Taxation Track)

Fairfield's master of science in accounting (taxation track) prepares students to take the CPA exam. Graduates may serve as accountants in companies, hospitals, universities, or government agencies.

Courses include entity taxation, tax planning, and audit issues in a global environment. Students must also take either tax research or research on contemporary issues in accounting.

Enrollees begin the full-time program in the summer and conclude the following May. The average Fairfield taxation student is 22 years old and holds a major in accounting, economics, finance, or business administration with a 3.82 GPA. About 55% of students are male and 45% female.

Applying to Fairfield

Fairfield requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited school and recommends a major in accounting. Students who have not passed the CPA exam or qualified for the bar must submit GRE or GMAT scores.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE); The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
  • Tuition: $1,115/credit hour
  • Required Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: 1 year
  • Delivery Format: 100% online, on campus, or hybrid

Most Individualized Attention at a Taxation School

According to our ranking, Tulane University features the best student-to-faculty ratio, a quality measure that divides the number of students in the program by the number of faculty. A small student-to-faculty ratio means opportunities for personal attention from teaching professors.

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Tulane University

Founded in 1834 as Medical College of Louisiana, Tulane now enrolls 14,472 students on five campuses. One-third of Tulane's students are people of color, and its international population includes learners from more than 20 countries.

Master of Accounting (Taxation Specialization)

Tulane's master of accounting (tax specialization) prepares students to sit for the CPA exam or for a career in finance. Full-time students can complete the degree in 10 months, and part-time learners can finish in 18 months.

Created for students with 1-2 years of work experience, this program incorporates 21 credits in accounting and nine in taxation. Courses include taxation of individuals, research in taxation, and taxation of S-corps and partnerships.

Throughout the program, students work one-on-one with an advisor to develop their goals and plans. Tulane graduates work for top employers, such as IBM, PwC, and Wells Fargo.

Applying to Tulane

Applicants should submit an online application form, application fee, undergraduate transcripts, and GRE or GMAT scores. The priority deadline for fall is December 1. For spring applications, the deadline is November 1.

Program at a Glance

  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 8-to-1
  • School Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS); The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Tuition: $55,500/total tuition
  • Required Credits: 30 credits
  • Program Length: 10-18 months
  • Delivery Format: On campus

Master of Taxation Questions

Can I get a tax master's degree online?

Many master's in taxation programs include online or hybrid options that offer greater convenience and flexibility than traditional on-campus degrees.

What can I do with a master's in taxation?

Earning a master's in taxation provides preparation for a variety of career opportunities, including tax examiner, financial analyst, tax accountant, and financial manager. With the right academic background, you can also become a tax lawyer.

Is taxation a good career?

Taxation careers provide stability, intellectual challenge, and lucrative salaries. For example, the BLS reports that financial managers earned a median annual salary of $134,180 as of 2021. The BLS also projects a 17% growth rate for the occupation from 2020-30.

Is a master's in tax worth it?

Earning a master's in taxation takes time and money, but can offer a substantial return on investment. Graduates qualify for a variety of in-demand careers with higher-than-average salaries. To get the best return on your educational investment, look for tax master's programs at public universities offering financial aid opportunities.


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