Best Online Master’s in Taxation Programs
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An online master's degree in taxation program trains students in advanced accounting, tax compliance, and tax planning. Students complete courses in corporate taxation, federal tax procedure, and international taxation rules.
A graduate degree can lead to new career opportunities and a higher earning potential. Professionals with a master's in taxation report an average salary of $90,000 per year, as of December 2021.
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Graduate students can earn their master's degree in taxation in as little as one year. The cost of a master's program in taxation can vary widely, depending on the school and program.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2019-2020, the average rate for graduate tuition and required fees was around $12,410 at public colleges and universities. The average rate was around $26,600 at private institutions.
An online learning format can help students save money. The average online graduate tuition rate varies from as little as $300 per credit to over $1,300 per credit, according to the Education Data Initiative.
Distance learners can research programs based on costs to find the best option for their budget. And the top online colleges meet high academic standards.
What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Taxation Program?
At most universities, the business school offers graduate degrees in taxation. Master's in taxation programs typically require 30-36 credits of coursework.
Students who choose an online master's in taxation program complete coursework using a distance learning format. Depending on the program, graduate students may take classes in live sessions at set times or on their own schedule.
Curriculum requirements vary by program. Most require core taxation classes that cover advanced topics in the field. In some programs, students can customize their course of study through a concentration or electives.
For example, some programs offer a certified public accountant (CPA) track for students pursuing their license. Other programs may offer taxation as a concentration within a master's in accounting program.
Online taxation programs may require a background in accounting for admission. Applicants without a bachelor's in accounting, business, or a related field may need to complete prerequisite courses.
Programs typically also ask for official transcripts, a resume, recommendation materials, and a statement of purpose during the application process. Applicants may also need to submit GMAT or GRE scores.
Before entering a master's program in taxation, incoming students should prepare for grad school by budgeting, creating a schedule, and networking with incoming peers.
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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Taxation Program?
Income Tax Accounting
The course offers an advanced look at accounting for income taxes. Learners explore tax planning, deferring taxes, calculating effective taxation rates, and estimated taxes. The course may also cover reporting regulations, deductions, and changes to tax law.
Students explore corporate taxation issues, including calculating gains, corporate deductions, and asset distribution. The class prepares graduates to work in corporate tax settings as a consultant, manager, or CPA.
Federal Tax Procedure
In addition to tax returns, tax professionals must understand the audit, assessment, and collection procedures for federal taxation. The course covers procedural steps that practitioners must take to protect their clients and meet their obligations as tax professionals.
Many organizations report foreign income on their tax returns. This course examines tax rules for individual and corporate income earned outside the U.S. It also covers laws for U.S. income earned by nonresidents or foreign organizations.
Tax Planning for Businesses
Master's students examine financing structures, taxable and nontaxable transfers, and tax planning for businesses. Topics include taxation for different incorporation statuses, real estate acquisitions, and stock sales.
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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Taxation Program?
Online master's programs often set similar graduate admission requirements as on-campus programs. Prospective students submit an application, test scores, letters of recommendation, a resume, essays, and official transcripts. However, online programs may also add additional steps, including virtual interviews to discuss program fit.
When considering a master's program in taxation, applicants should make sure they meet all admission requirements. For example, some programs require GMAT or GRE scores, while others do not.
Prospective students must fill out a graduate application that provides information about their academic background, interest in the program, and preparation for graduate study. Most applications also ask about work experience, including volunteer or internship experience. Online programs may use the same application as on-campus programs.
Some master's in taxation programs require graduate test scores. The most common requirements include either GMAT or GRE scores. For both tests, scores remain valid for five years. However, some programs do not require test scores, and many offer waivers for qualified students based on GPA or work experience.
Letters of Recommendation
Applicants provide 1-3 letters of recommendation, depending on the program. These letters should come from former professors or supervisors who can speak to the candidate's ability to succeed in a master's program. Applicants should ask for recommendation letters several weeks before the deadline.
Resume and Work Experience
Most programs ask for a current resume that shows professional experience in taxation or a related field. The resume should also include relevant internships or volunteer experience. Some programs may set a work experience requirement for admission. For example, programs may ask for 1-2 years of full-time experience in accounting or a tax-related field.
Prospective students submit an essay with their application. The best grad school essays explain why applicants want to attend the program and their career goals after earning a master's degree. Students can also use the essay to highlight unique experiences or background information that makes them particularly suited for the program.
Master's programs ask for official transcripts either from all colleges attended or all degree-granting schools. Many programs set a minimum GPA for admission. They also use the transcript to evaluate potential transfer credits. Taxation programs may award transfer credits for graduate courses at other institutions.
What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Taxation Degree?
An online master's degree in taxation program can prepare graduates for specialized careers in financial services, accounting, and tax management. Many students pursue their taxation master's degree to meet the requirements for a certified public accounting license. CPAs must complete 30 credits of coursework after earning a bachelor's degree, and a master's in taxation meets the requirement.
Other common career paths include roles like tax manager, financial manager, and personal financial advisor. With a background in law, graduates can also work as tax attorneys.
The earning potential with a taxation master's degree varies depending on the field. Many roles report earnings in the six figures.
For example, tax managers, financial managers, and CPAs can all earn salaries of over $100,000 per year. Strong job growth is projected for many of these fields. For example, financial managers will see much faster than average growth from 2020-2030, according to projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
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Tax managers oversee an organization's tax filings. They identify taxation strategies, monitor compliance with tax laws, and document tax deductions. Tax managers must also stay current on tax laws and regulations, which change frequently. The position may require a CPA license, tax preparation experience, or a master's degree.
Average Annual Salary (as of December 2021): $99,480
Accountant and Auditor
Certified public accountants, also known as CPAs, specialize in taxation. They recommend tax advantages to individuals and corporations. CPAs also create financial statements that organizations must disclose to regulators and investors. A CPA license requires 30 graduate credits, which students can earn during a master's program in taxation.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $73,560
Tax attorneys bring a background in law and taxation to represent clients. They analyze tax laws to recommend strategies for corporations. Tax attorneys also represent individuals and organizations facing an audit or legal action. This career path requires a law degree plus specialized training in taxation.
Median Annual Salary (December 2021): $100,790
Financial managers oversee investment activities, financial planning, and reporting for organizations. They create forecasts and reports on business activity, monitor cash flow, and supervise financial analysts. Financial managers also recommend financial strategies. With a taxation background, they may recommend tax strategies or monitor compliance with tax laws and regulations.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $134,180
Personal Financial Advisor
Personal financial advisors recommend investment and taxation strategies for clients. They recommend financial services to meet each client's financial goals. Personal financial advisors with a background in taxation help clients manage taxation issues and prepare tax returns. A master's degree may help personal financial advisors advance their careers.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $89,330
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After completing an online master's in taxation program, graduates can continue their education. Many pursue professional certifications and licenses, such as a CPA license, to work in specific fields. Certifications and licenses may require continuing education to maintain the credential.
Graduates can also pursue a doctorate in taxation or a related program like accounting or business. A doctorate represents the terminal degree in business and can prepare graduates for research and academic careers.
How Do I Choose an Online Master's in Taxation Program?
Cost is a top concern for prospective students. And the posted tuition rate may not represent the true program cost. Many factors shape cost, including private vs. public school, residency status, and learning format. Learn how to compare on-campus vs. online program costs and consider schools with tuition discounts for in-state or online learners.
Online programs come in many formats. A synchronous program uses set meeting times, while asynchronous programs do not hold live classes. Students must also choose between a full-time or part-time enrollment option. And some master's in taxation programs offer accelerated formats to complete a degree in as little as one year.
Online learners may benefit from choosing a program in their area. A local school makes it easier to attend hybrid programs or meet any on-campus requirements. Local schools may also boast stronger industry and alumni connections. However, other students prefer choosing a top program regardless of the location.
Accredited schools meet high standards for academic excellence. Graduate students should always choose an accredited institution. An accredited degree meets more licensure and certification requirements. And graduate students at accredited schools can qualify for federal financial aid. In addition to an accredited school, prospective students can also look for business school accreditation.
Online programs should offer student support services for distance learners. Services like academic advising, tutoring, mentorship support, and library services help online students complete a degree. Prospective students can also look into internship options and alumni networks to prepare for the transition from a graduate program into the workforce.
Best Accredited Online Master's in Taxation Programs
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Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Taxation Programs
Is a master's in taxation worth it?
Should you earn a master's degree in taxation? Graduate school can be a big investment. But a master's in taxation can pay off. After earning their master's degree, many professionals work as tax managers, a field that reports average salaries of nearly $100,000 per year. The degree may also lead to higher-paying opportunities as a CPA, tax accountant, or financial manager.
For cost-conscious students, an online degree may offer a stronger return on investment. Distance learners can choose more affordable programs to limit expenses and graduate with less debt.
What can I do with a master's in taxation?
A specialized graduate degree like a master's in taxation can prepare professionals for higher-paying roles in several tax-related career paths. With the degree, graduates work as certified public accountants, tax managers, tax accountants, and financial managers.
Many of these career paths report above-average salaries and strong demand, making a taxation master's degree a good career investment. The degree provides focused coursework for those seeking jobs in corporate accounting, tax consulting, and real estate or property taxation.
Graduates can also move into specialized fields like personal financial advising, compliance, and tax law.
Are taxation graduates in demand?
Professionals with a taxation degree work in many growing fields. For example, BLS projects 96,000 new jobs for accountants and auditors between 2020 and 2030. Financial managers are projected to see more than 118,000 new jobs in the same decade.
A graduate degree may help professionals move into supervisory and specialized roles. For example, certified public accountants need 30 credits of post-bachelor's credits to earn their license. A master's degree in taxation meets the requirement.
Graduate programs may also incorporate training for management and decision-making roles. As a result, applicants with a master's degree in taxation can stand out in the job market.
How much money can I make with a master's in taxation?
Professionals with a master's in taxation report above-average salaries. According to Payscale data from December 2021, professionals earn an average annual salary of $90,000 with a master's degree in taxation.
Common titles include tax manager, tax accountant, tax director, and senior tax associate. The degree can also prepare graduates for careers as a financial manager or a certified public accountant, one of the higher-paying roles in accounting.
Work experience often translates into a higher earning potential and roles with greater responsibilities. Salaries vary depending on the job title, industry, and location.
What are the highest-paying jobs with a master's in taxation?
The highest-paying jobs with a master's degree in taxation includefinancial manager and tax manager. According to BLS data, as of May 2020, financial managers earn a median salary of over $134,000 per year.
A graduate degree in taxation can prepare professionals for roles managing corporate tax strategy. Tax managers also benefit from a high earning potential. Payscale data from December 2021 reports an average salary of around $99,000 for tax managers. Other higher-paying jobs include CPA and tax attorney. However, tax attorneys need a law degree in addition to training in taxation.