PhD in Tax Law

Learn about the types of tax law graduate and joint degree programs. Get info on undergraduate prerequisites, areas of study, course topics and state bar association exam requirements. Schools offering Juris Doctor degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kinds of Tax Law Programs Award a Ph.D.?

Ph.D. programs in tax law are hard to find, though a few exist. However, you can also choose to earn dual Juris Doctor (J.D.)/Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation or J.D./Master of Taxation degrees. Both programs require a bachelor's degree prior to enrollment and prefer accounting majors. If you have a 4-year degree in another field, you'll need to complete prerequisite coursework prior to enrolling in taxation courses.

A dual-degree program is the most common way to receive legal instruction specific to practicing tax law. Master's programs in taxation teach you how research tax law, represent clients in tax court and comply with existing regulations. In the workforce, you can help clients deal with the taxation aspects of real estate transactions, sales, corporate organization and probate matters. The J.D. curriculum provides you with legal training and qualifications to sit for a state bar exam and become a practicing lawyer.

Program TypesPh.D. in Tax Law, dual J.D./LL.M in Taxation, dual J.D./Master of Taxation
Online AvailabilityWhile there are some online J.D. programs, the American Bar Associate does not recognize any, though graduates of such programs may qualify to take the bar exam. Students can complete requirements for a master's degree in taxation online however.
Common CoursesConstitutional law, contracts, torts, sales tax regulations, due process
Certification & LicensureBefore practicing law, students must pass the bar exam in the state in which they plan to work

Can I Earn the Degrees Online?

Though several schools offer a J.D. degree program fully or partially online, the American Bar Association (ABA) doesn't recognize or approve any. Graduates of an online program may qualify to sit for a state bar exam; however, many states depend on the ABA's academic standards. You may be able to complete requirements for a Master of Taxation or Master of Laws degree online.

What Will I Learn?

Regardless of which type of program you choose, you'll complete the standard requirements to earn a J.D. degree. These include courses in constitutional law, contracts, torts, legal writing and due process. Many schools offer you the opportunity to participate in law clinics under the supervision of licensed attorneys, providing you with practical experience representing clients.

Master of Taxation studies cover real estate, corporate, employment and sales tax regulations and transactions for the purposes of tax planning. You'll also learn tax strategies, issues that arise in tax litigation and how to prepare individual and business tax returns. Coursework in an LL.M. program contains similar topics, as well as tax policy and internal revenue procedures.

What Do I Need to Practice Law?

Before you practice law, you'll need to pass the state bar exam to become licensed in the state you plan to work. States may recognize experienced lawyers licensed in another state. Depending upon the nature of your practice or clients, you may also need to apply for admission to the bar of state supreme courts, U.S. circuit courts, U.S. appeals courts or the United States Supreme Court.

If you plan on representing clients before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you'll need to apply to the IRS' Office of Professional Responsibility. This office administers an exam that establishes your competency in tax law. This exam is open to lawyers, certified public accountants and others who have technical expertise in tax law.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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