Best Online Master’s in Taxation Programs

Earning an online master's in taxation provides students with a specific and useful set of skills that can lead to new careers and increased earning potential. We ranked the best online master's in taxation programs. Use our guide to compare schools and learn how to earn your master's in taxation online.

portrait of Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
by Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.

Published on January 28, 2022 · Updated on June 15, 2022

Edited by Darlene Earnest
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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.

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.

Corporate Taxation

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.

International Taxation

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.

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

Financial Aid Guide for Graduate Students Your Guide to College Loans Your Guide to the FAFSA

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.

Application

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.

Test Scores

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.

Essays

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.

Official Transcripts

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?

Career Outlook

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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Career Paths

Tax Manager

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 Attorney

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 Manager

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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Continuing Education

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

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.

Program Format

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.

Location

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.

Accreditation

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.

Student Support

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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Best Online Master's in Taxation Programs

  1. University of Southern California
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $36161

    One of the world's leading private research universities, the University of Southern California welcomes more than 44,000 students each year. USC offers online undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees in more than a dozen disciplines, including education, engineering, and library science. Among its flexible options is an online master's in taxation.

    The business taxation program comprises 15 credits of core coursework and 15 credits of electives. Areas of study include tax theory and ethics, state and local tax concepts, and tax accounting methods. Each virtual class meets for approximately 60-90 minutes, with weekly assignments students complete asynchronously.

    Prospective students should have a 3.0 GPA and at least one year of full-time work experience in a tax-related position. The GMAT is required.

  2. Boston University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    $29154

    Boston University operates three campuses, offering over 300 programs and serving more than 35,000 students annually. BU offered its first online program in 2002 and has since expanded its distance catalog to include dozens of concentrations, certificates, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees.

    First established in 1959, and now available through distance learning, BU's master of law in taxation law provides graduates with specialized tax training for legal professionals. The 24-credit curriculum consists of courses in federal income taxation, corporate tax, and tax procedure. No thesis is required.

    Applicants must hold a degree in law. Admission requires two letters of recommendation, a statement of interest, and CV or resume. Qualified applicants will be interviewed by the program director.

  3. Northeastern University
    Location

    Boston, MA

    Tuition

    $28308

    Northeastern University operates a growing network of 11 global locations, with campuses in Boston, Toronto, London, San Francisco, and beyond. Northeastern connects alumni to more than 3,000 corporate partners, helping ensure that 93% of graduates find full-time employment within nine months.

    The online master's in taxation program offers a part-time completion schedule of 16 months. Alongside core courses in tax research, practice, and ethics, students can select from two tracks: taxation of entities or taxation of individuals. Graduates find work as auditors, bankers, management consultants, and tax attorneys.

    Applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 3.25 must submit GMAT scores. A minimum of two years of tax experience — or a JD, CPA, CFP, or Enrolled Agent credential — is required.

  4. Villanova University
    Location

    Villanova, PA

    Tuition

    $36958

    Villanova University is a private, Catholic institution serving more than 6,000 undergraduates, 3,000 graduates, and 800 law school students. The school of law offers a juris doctor, four joint degree options, and an online master's degree in taxation. Students can complete the program within two years.

    Taxation students must earn a total of 30 credits, consisting of six required courses plus electives. Courses include advanced tax procedure, global tax planning, and wealth tax. If desired, students local to Philadelphia may apply for an internship with the Villanova Law School Federal Tax Clinic or the IRS Office of the Chief Counsel.

    Applicants should hold an undergraduate degree in accounting or a related field. Currently licensed CPAs do not need to submit GRE or GMAT scores.

  5. New York University
    Location

    New York, NY

    Tuition

    $39935

    New York University is the largest private university in the U.S., with an annual enrollment of approximately 58,000. Accountants and financial professionals looking to advance their skills may consider NYU's online master of studies in law in taxation.

    This asynchronous, part-time degree requires 24-30 credits and takes two years. Only one course — survey of tax procedure — is required, allowing students to customize their curriculum. The program culminates in a final written project addressing a timely topic in tax law or policy.

    Admission requires a bachelor's degree and a minimum of three years of professional experience related to federal, state, or local tax issues. Applicants must also hold either a master's degree in a relevant discipline or CPA licensure.

  6. Bentley University
    Location

    Waltham, MA

    Tuition

    $38270

    Bentley University is among the nation's top business schools, with 99% of graduates obtaining jobs within six months of graduation. Master's programs at Bentley offer flexible full-time, part-time, day, evening, and online scheduling to accommodate every learner's needs. Among these options is Bentley's master's in taxation, the largest graduate tax program in New England.

    Ten courses are required, with studies in federal taxation of income, mergers and acquisitions, and international tax practice. Online students attend class in real time, fostering active discussion and collaboration with instructors and on-campus students. Graduates are prepared for careers in international accounting, corporate taxation, and wealth management.

    Applicants must supply official undergraduate transcripts, two essays, two letters of recommendation, and a resume. The GMAT or GRE requirement may be waived for qualified individuals.

  7. University of Denver
    Location

    Denver, CO

    Tuition

    $34337

    The University of Denver is a private research institution with a global presence. The student population welcomes learners from more than 80 countries, and approximately 70% of DU undergraduates participate in study abroad programs. DU's 6,000 graduate students can select from dozens of programs, including an online master's degree in taxation.

    The program offers cross-disciplinary experiences and perspectives by placing taxation students in courses alongside juris doctor and LLM students. With a rigorous curriculum covering individual, partnership, and corporate taxation, full-time completion is possible in just one year. Class recordings are accessible through both live and archived, on-demand streaming.

    Applicants must submit official undergraduate transcripts. GMAT or GRE scores are required, with waivers available for undergraduate accounting majors, graduate degree-holders, and CPAs.

  8. Golden Gate University
    Location

    San Francisco, CA

    Since 1901, Golden Gate University has worked to serve the needs of adult learners looking to advance their careers. The private, nonprofit institution provides undergraduate and graduate opportunities in accounting, law, taxation, business, and related areas. Many GGU programs take place fully online.

    Online students in the master's in taxation program can start in any term and progress at their own pace, with completion rates averaging 2-4 years. The degree requires a total of 30 credits of coursework, including courses in tax research, property transactions, and federal income taxation. Students are encouraged to participate in an optional internship.

    GGU suggests applicants hold a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA, but individuals with lower grades can earn admission through employment history, professional accomplishments, and recommendations.

  9. DePaul University
    Location

    Chicago, IL

    Tuition

    $30584

    Each year, DePaul University's business school enrolls approximately 3,700 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students. Professionals seeking advancement in taxation may pursue a 46-credit online master's degree in taxation.

    Notable courses in the program include current problems in taxation, writing for tax professionals, and various international tax topics. Full-time scheduling allows for completion in just one year, while part-time students average a 2-3 year timeline. If necessary, students may take a semester off during busy periods like the winter tax season.

    To apply, prospective students must submit an online application, essay, resume, and official transcripts. Letters of recommendation are optional, and GRE and GMAT scores are not required.

  10. Florida Atlantic University
    Location

    Boca Raton, FL

    Tuition

    $9486

    Florida Atlantic University is a major research university serving upwards of 30,000 students each year. FAU operates six campuses along the southeast Florida coast and extends learning opportunities to distance learners through e-learning. Online students can choose from more than 40 programs, including a master's in taxation.

    Students in the program can view lectures in real-time through livestream or watch recorded lectures at their convenience. FAU does not hold classes during spring semester tax seasons. Learners can graduate within two years.

    Prospective students must have a bachelor's degree with a competitive GPA. FAU accepts applications on a rolling basis, with program start dates occurring each summer and fall.

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Taxation Programs

Is a master's in taxation worth it? true

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? true

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? true

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.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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