Most Affordable Online Master’s in Taxation Degrees 2021

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Economics contains numerous subfields, including finance, accounting, and taxation. Professionals who specialize in taxation possess knowledge and skills in federal, state, and corporate tax law. Online taxation master’s programs confer these in-demand skills.

Taxation professionals need an analytical mindset, a passion for research and professional development, and communication skills. The best taxation master’s online programs help students master these and related skills.

This guide ranks the most affordable taxation master’s online programs. It also covers important information for prospective students, including common courses and scholarship opportunities.

Career and Salary Outlook for Taxation Graduates

Graduates from online master’s in taxation programs can work as accountants or auditors. In these roles, professionals may analyze clients’ financial records, prepare tax documents, and answer clients’ questions regarding tax liability.

The “Big Four” U.S. employers for taxation experts include Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler. These companies provide financial services for the nation’s biggest companies.

Graduates with an online master’s in taxation can pursue certified public accountant (CPA) credentials to advance their career. CPAs can offer more financial services than their peers without the credential. Professionals with a taxation master’s degree may need some additional education to pass the CPA exam.

Learn more about accountant requirements.

Learn more about accounting degree salaries.

Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Accountants and Auditors $71,550 4%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Recommended Online Programs


  • What is taxation as a major?

    Taxation degree-seekers study tax law. The degree also emphasizes the research and writing skills students need for professional success.

  • Can I earn a master's degree online?

    Yes. Many reputable universities offer taxation master’s programs online. Online programs in accredited schools meet the same academic standards as on-campus programs.

  • How does taxation compare to finance as a major?

    Master’s in finance programs focus on general financial and investment management, while master’s in taxation programs focus specifically on taxation as it relates to corporations and partnerships.

  • How long does it take to complete an online master's degree?

    Online master’s in taxation programs typically take two years of full-time study to complete. However, some programs offer accelerated formats.


Before applying to an online master’s in taxation program, students should verify its accreditation status. Schools may receive national or regional accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two. Accreditation benefits students in several ways. For example, only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only accept degrees and transfer credits from accredited institutions.

Schools that offer online degrees may also hold accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). DEAC accreditation signifies that online and on-campus learners receive the same high-quality educational experience.

Programs within a school may also hold accreditation. Some of the best taxation master’s online programs hold programmatic accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.

Courses in a Master’s in Taxation Program

Online master’s in taxation programs may include courses on topics like corporate tax, international taxation, and project management. Many schools also allow students to pursue electives or a specialization to cater the degree to their career goals. 

Courses vary by program, but the following list outlines courses commonly found in online master’s in taxation programs.

  • Corporate Tax: Lifecycle Strategies

    This course emphasizes the relationship between corporations and federal tax law. Course topics may include the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, major U.S. Tax Court decisions, and relevant Internal Revenue Service documents.

  • Consolidated Tax Returns

    Many online master’s in taxation programs offer this course as an elective. This course covers topics like intercompany transactions, net operating losses, and the elections consolidated entities take to lower their federal taxes.

  • Individual Tax: Structure

    Enrollees analyze federal income tax law relevant to individuals. Learners study different income streams, how individuals make adjustments to income, and how the IRS calculates taxable and nontaxable income. Learners also develop the skills necessary to determine a tax filer’s exemptions and filing status.

  • Project Management

    Many taxation professionals must know how to manage projects and lead teams. Project management courses introduce students to topics like project planning, implementation, and evaluation. Learners may review case studies and complete simulations.

  • International Taxation

    This course examines the tax implications of U.S. companies performing business with foreign companies. Learners study topics like inbound and outbound taxation, tax jurisdiction, and foreign tax credits. Degree-seekers also evaluate tax treaties and how they affect domestic companies with international offices.

Scholarships for Taxation Students

Even the most affordable taxation master’s online programs require a significant financial investment. Fortunately, students can take advantage of financial aid opportunities to help offset the cost of the degree. The following list outlines several scholarship and grant opportunities for online master’s in taxation students.

  • Government Finance Officers Association Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: The GFOA offers four annual graduate scholarships to degree-seekers preparing for a government finance career. Application materials include transcripts and recommendation letters.

    Amount: $5,000-$25,000

  • Tax Technology Award

    Who Can Apply: Undergraduate and graduate degree-seekers studying technology advances as they relate to corporate tax can apply. Candidates need a minimum 2.5 GPA. They must also be nominated by a member of the Tax Technology Association.

    Amount: Varies

Most Affordable Online Master’s in Taxation Degrees 2021

  1. Florida Atlantic University

    Boca Raton, FL



    The public Florida Atlantic University based in Boca Raton, Florida, offers a master of taxation degree. Students can access the entire program on campus or in a hybrid format. This degree targets busy professionals and uses modern technology to follow a distance learning model.

    This degree focuses on the analysis of technical tax topics and tax policy. Students should maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA to graduate. To take the CPA exam, candidates must complete 120 credits and hold a baccalaureate degree. They should also accrue a year or more of experience verified with a fully licensed CPA.

    To gain admission into the program, prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and a competitive GPA for their final 60 credits. Students with bachelor's degrees must get their transcripts assessed by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services. Florida Atlantic University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  2. University of Southern California

    Los Angeles, CA



    A private university based in Los Angeles, California, the University of Southern California offers an appealing master of business taxation for working professionals. This online program targets tax professionals who work full time and who want to expand their knowledge of taxation and acquire research skills to advance their careers.

    The program lasts 21 months, and learners can study at their own pace. The curriculum includes 10 courses, equivalent to 30 credits. On-campus students take courses one night per week at the University Park Campus. Online students also take classes weekly, along with online exercises and activities they can schedule as they choose.

    Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree, complete a year of experience working as a full-time tax professional, submit GMAT scores if they did not pass every section of the CPA exam, submit official transcripts, and provide a personal statement and resume. The University of Southern California is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission (WSCUC).

  3. University of Denver

    Denver, CO



    With its main campus in Denver, Colorado, the University of Denver is a private university offering a master of taxation. This program helps students understand tax laws, using teaching materials based on the International Revenue Code, treasury guidelines, and other relevant materials.

    Students can complete this program on campus or online. Full-time learners can earn this degree in one year. Students take courses such as fundamentals of taxation, corporate taxation, partnership taxation, and tax procedure as the core curriculum. The program also includes various elective courses.

    Students must submit GRE or GMAT test scores to gain admission. They should also hold a bachelor's degree.

    The University of Denver is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  4. University of Cincinnati

    Cincinnati, OH



    Based in Cincinnati, Ohio, the University of Cincinnati is a public university offering a master of science in taxation program. The program includes both interactive and practical courses, helping students gain the knowledge and techniques needed to thrive in this industry.

    This MS in taxation requires 16 credits in core tax courses and 14 credits in elective courses. Each course equates to two credits and runs for seven weeks.

    Prospective students must pay a $65 application fee and hand in two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, an updated resume, and official transcripts from undergraduate and graduate coursework. International students should submit TOEFL/IELTS test results. The University of Cincinnati is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

  5. Villanova University

    Villanova, PA



    A fully accredited public university based in Villanova, Pennsylvania, the Villanova University offers an online master of taxation program. This program targets business professionals and accountants looking to expand their knowledge of tax practice and policies.

    The degree comprises 12 courses, taken over six semesters. Students can complete the 30-credit program in two years. The required courses make up 18 credits. The remaining 12 credits come from elective courses.

    To gain admission, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in accounting or any other business-related program. They should also submit official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate coursework, plus test results for the GMAT, GRE, or CPA exam. Prospective students should also hand in a letter of recommendation, a resume, and an application essay.

    Villanova University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

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