Best Online Master's Degree Programs in Taxation

Learn about master's programs in the field of taxation, including common coursework, accreditation, and program length. Also, explore ways to afford your degree and the types of careers you will be prepared for. Schools offering Accounting - Taxation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Best Online Taxation Master's Degree Programs

Many universities around the country offer online master's degree programs in the field of taxation. The top programs of this type offer flexible attendance options, have received accreditation, are affordable, and prepare students for tax-related careers. Below, you can explore the best taxation master's degree programs available.

1. University of Cincinnati-Main Campus

Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Cincinnati, OH $14,468

The University of Cincinnati-Main Campus offers an online Master of Science in Taxation degree program that requires 30 total credits with core coursework in individual and corporate taxation. Students also complete a capstone course, which consists of a tax research project that allows them to demonstrate the technical tax skills and knowledge they have mastered. This program features short 7-week classes, which means students can earn their master's degree in only 1 year. With asynchronous classes, students can study and learn when and wherever they are. The University of Cincinnati Carl H. Lindner College of Business, which houses the taxation master's program, has been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) since 1919.

2. Villanova University

Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Villanova, PA $19,005

Villanova University's 100% online Master of Taxation degree can be completed in only 2 years and boasts core courses in professional tax practice and fundamental tax concepts. This program's curriculum is also constantly updated and improved in response to current trends in the tax industry. The university also offers an online Master of Laws in Taxation (LL.M.) degree program that requires 24 credits and can be completed in as little as 18 months with 8-week-long classes. This online LL.M. tax program allows students to study taxation within the context of the law. Villanova University's Charles Widger School of Law has been approved by the American Bar Association's Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

3. DePaul University

Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Chicago, IL $19,422

The online Master of Science in Taxation degree program at DePaul University was one of the first of its kind in the country and requires a total of 45 quarter credits, which includes 8 core courses that center on federal income tax, tax research and other taxation topics. This online program can be completed in only 1 year, when attending full-time, and in 2 to 3 years when attending part-time. Working professionals can even take a quarter off, during the winter tax season, so they can balance all their work and school commitments. Students in this online tax program can also take advantage of the Ledger & Quill, the School of Accountancy and Management Information Systems (MIS) alumni society, which is the largest organization of its kind in the country and helps alumni advance their tax careers.

4. St John's University-New York

Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Queens, NY $18,836

St John's University-New York has a 31-credit online Master of Science in Taxation degree program that is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and prepares students for accounting careers in the public or corporate realm. This online program features asynchronous courses that focus on such topics as corporate taxation, tax research, and tax procedure. Students are guided through their program by experienced faculty who are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) with taxation J.D. and LL.M. degrees.

5. Florida Atlantic University

Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
Boca Raton, FL$6,657

Florida Atlantic University offers an online Executive Master of Taxation degree program that is especially for working professionals. As such, this program has no classes during the spring semester so that tax professionals can work through tax season. Even so, students can still earn their master's degree in just 2 years. This online program features asynchronous classes with recorded lectures that can be viewed anytime. Florida Atlantic University also has an online Master of Accounting (MAcc) degree that allows students to choose a concentration in tax. This 2-year program develops students' skills in the area of international, partnership, and corporate tax.

Rank School Name Location Graduate Tuition & Fees (in-state)
6 University of Denver Denver, CO $49,695
7 University of Akron Main Campus Akron, OH $9,363
8 Bentley University Waltham, MA $37,500
9 University of Tulsa Tulsa, OK $22,720
10Boston University Boston, MA $53,572
11 New York UniversityNew York, NY $45,426
12 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA $45,561
13 Thomas Jefferson School of Law San Diego, CA $9,420
14 Western Michigan University-Thomas M. Cooley Law School Lansing, MI $11,440
15 Golden Gate University-San Francisco San Francisco, CA $18,985

All statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition based on 2018-2019 school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Overview of Online Taxation Master's Degree Programs

Online master's degree programs in taxation are generally offered in the following degree types:

  • Master of Science in Taxation
  • Master of Taxation
  • Master of Laws in Taxation
  • Master of Accounting (MAcc) with a taxation concentration

Most online taxation master's programs are flexible, offering part- and full-time enrollment. Some programs are designed for working professionals, allowing students to take time off during the busy tax season or not offering any spring classes so that students who are tax professionals can work without worrying about their studies.

Most programs also feature asynchronous learning, which means students don't have to be online at a specific time but can view lectures and complete assignments on their own time. Typically, online taxation master's programs can be completed 100% online with no in-person requirements.

Length of Online Taxation Master's Programs

Generally, online taxation master's degree programs are designed to be completed in about 2 years. However, some programs feature shorter 7- or 8-week semester formats, which means students can complete their degree in only 1 year. Enrollment status can also factor into the length of taxation master's programs. If you are attending only part-time, it may take closer to 3 year to complete your degree.

Common Courses in Online Taxation Master's Programs

The curriculum of online master's degree programs in taxation vary by institution. However, most programs feature core taxation-focused coursework as well as elective courses that allow students to study topics that best align with their career goals and interests.

It's important to note that the electives you could take depend on your program's offerings, but some elective courses include the study of:

  • Estate planning
  • State and local taxation
  • Auditing
  • Accounting
  • Executive compensation
  • Employment tax

Below, you can explore some core courses that are common to online master's degree programs in taxation.

Partnership Taxation

This class focuses on taxation and business issues that affect partnerships, flow-through entities, and limited liability companies. Students learn how partnerships are legally formed, dissolved, or sold, and how these partnerships are treated within tax law.

Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders

In this course, students study tax concepts that apply to corporations and shareholders with a focus on the relationship between these two entities. Topics that are covered include how corporations are formed, how non-liquidating, redemptions and partial distributions are made to shareholders, and how tax considerations are factored in when selling a corporation.

Tax Research

This course teaches students how to conduct tax research by utilizing the Internal Revenue Code, court decisions, and the U.S. Department of Treasury's regulations and rulings. Also covered are research methods and techniques for using databases.

Tax Accounting

Tax accounting is a course that centers on the study of federal income tax planning strategies, methods, and rules. Students learn about a range of income tax concepts, including the proper tax reporting periods, income tax deductions, and accounting methods.

Financial Reporting

This course examines financial reporting concepts within the context of taxation and accounting. Students learn how to understand and create financial reports for tax reporting purposes and some courses also cover issues related to multinational accounting, the reporting of book-tax differences, and SEC reporting.

Master's in Taxation vs MBA in Taxation

Although similar in name, there are key differences between Master's in Taxation degrees and Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees that offer a concentration in taxation. First, MBA degrees have a broader focus on business management, economics, and financial management, which means you take more business-focused courses in an MBA program compared to a Master's in Taxation program. MBA programs then allow you to take a select number of elective courses within the taxation specialization. On the other hand, in Master's in Taxation programs, you take more taxation-focused classes and possibly some business management electives, if you choose to.

Accreditation for Online Taxation Master's Programs

Accreditation is an important factor that should guide your decision about which online taxation master's program you will attend. When a university or program has received accreditation, it has proven that it has met high, independent standards that include student outcomes, resources, and faculty credentials.

Regional Accreditation

The first type of accreditation you should look for is regional accreditation, which is completed through the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). These two agencies recognize organizations that accredit schools within a geographic area. You should make sure your school is accredited by one of the following:

  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

Only students who attend a regionally accredited school can access federal financial aid, and most universities only accept transfer credits from accredited schools.

Program Accreditation

Master's programs in taxation can also receive accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). To become accredited, a program must meet standards that include curriculum, faculty experience, program management, and student outcomes. Programs can also receive accreditation by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), which accredits schools that also have an accredited business program.

Scholarships & Financial Aid for Taxation Master's Programs

To discover what types of federal financial aid you qualify for, you should fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) from the U.S. Department of Education. You can also find scholarship opportunities from your university's financial aid department and from private organizations.

Federal Financial Aid

When it comes to federal aid, graduate students can access Direct Unsubsidized Loans, which are not based on financial aid, and Direct PLUS Loans, which help you pay for expenses that other types of aid don't cover. Additionally, you may qualify for grants, which do not have to be paid back. If you have previous student loans, you can also participate in the Direct Consolidation Loans program, which allows you to combine all your loans into one, single loan.

Scholarships

Several organizations offer scholarship opportunities to students who are pursuing accounting, taxation, or business-related degrees. Below are several examples of scholarships that are especially for graduate students.

  • NABA National Scholarship Program - This is a $1,500 scholarship from the National Association of Black Accountants, INC. for an African American student who is a member of NABA and is pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in business, accounting, or a related field.
  • AICPA Foundation Scholarship for Future CPAs - This is a $5,000 scholarship awarded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants for an accounting student who plans to become a CPA.
  • Paula Zanni Award Master's Scholarships - This is from the Accounting and Financial Women's Alliance (AFWA) for an outstanding graduate student pursuing a degree in the field accounting or finance. While you do not need to be an AFWA member, obtaining an endorsement from a member or Chapter of AFWA can increase your chances of winning a scholarship.

Job Options with a Master's in Taxation

Graduates with a master's degree in taxation can pursue a financial career as an accountant, a tax expert, or a financial manager.

Accountant

Accountants are responsible for completing the following job duties:

  • Creating financial statements
  • Examining financial documents for accuracy and adherence to regulations
  • Preparing tax returns
  • Making financial recommendations

The exact work of an accountant also depends on where they work. For example, a public accountant might work for themselves where they concentrate only on preparing taxes for clients. There are also government accountants who work for the local, state, or federal government where they complete audits or manage revenue.

While a bachelor's degree is the lowest level educational credential you need to be an accountant, many employers prefer job candidates who have earned a master's degree. Additionally, to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), you must complete 150 semester hours of college-level coursework, pass the Uniform CPA Examination from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and meet specific requirements set by your state of residence and practice.

Tax Examiner, Revenue Agent, or Tax Collector

Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents mainly work for the federal government or for state governments.

Tax examiners review individual tax returns, checking them for accuracy in terms of income, claimed deductions and tax credits. Generally, a tax examiner needs a bachelor's degree in accounting or a similar field along with experience in tax compliance matters or auditing.

Revenue agents generally work for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) where they review tax returns from corporations or businesses. Sometimes, they specialize in one area of tax review, such as multinational corporations. Revenue agents for the IRS must have a bachelor's degree along with 30 hours of specialized accounting or tax analysis coursework.

Tax collectors are responsible for overdue accounts and work to collect payments from taxpayers. They must research the assets of taxpayers and decide what course of action, such as leveling liens, is necessary. Tax collectors need a bachelor's degree if they work for the IRS and experience with collections, tax compliance, or customer service.

Financial Manager

Financial managers serve as the financial expert for a company or non-profit organization. They must prepare financial reports and forecasts, create long-term financial plans, and make financial decisions. There are several types of financial managers, including controllers who deal mostly with financial reporting and treasurers who manage budgets and investments.

Financial managers must have a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, or a related subject; however, many companies require a master's degree.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Accountant and Auditor $70,500 6%
Tax Examiner and Collector, and Revenue Agent $54,440 -2%
Financial Manager $127,990 16%

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:

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