Most Affordable Online Master’s in Taxation Degrees

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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.

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Top 10 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Taxation Degrees

Rank School Location
1 California State University-Northridge Los Angeles, CA
2 Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL
3 University of Akron Akron, OH
4 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
5 University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH
6 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
7 Bellarmine University Louisville, KY
8 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
9 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
10 St. John's University Queens, NY

FAQ


  • 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.


Most Affordable Online Master’s in Taxation Degrees 2021



See our rankings methodology page.

  1. California State University-Northridge
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Northridge was originally an extension campus for California State University – Los Angeles. Today this university has the second-largest enrollment in the state system and is highly ranked for its ability to connect students to career-advancing opportunities. The Master of Science in Taxation program allows students to study entirely online while receiving one-on-one mentorship from outstanding faculty.

    Program Features

    This program is designed in a cohort format, drastically increasing the success of all students. This model boasts completion rates of 90 percent or higher. Courses are offered entirely online, entirely on-campus, or in a hybrid format, permitting students to complete their studies in as little as 18 months. Some courses students might take include:

    • Income Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders
    • Income Taxation of Partnerships
    • Accounting Methods and Periods

    Notables

    The Master of Science in Accounting at Northridge is offered through the school’s Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – accredited College of Business and Economics. This school, with the primary goal of promoting students’ post-graduation success, actively works to develop industry and promote business in the Los Angeles region. This activism ensures that students will not only receive access to high-quality taxation training but also receive exceptional opportunities outside of the classroom as well.

  2. Florida Atlantic University
    Location

    Boca Raton, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Florida Atlantic University, located in sunny Boca Raton, offers a Master’s of Taxation through their School of Accounting. The university is regarded as one of the fastest-growing universities in the state and has received national rankings for its commitment to student success and social diversity. This program is ideal for current tax practitioners seeking to expand their communication and technical skills.

    Program Features

    The curriculum in this program includes 30 credit-hours of study, including ten classes that are designed exclusively for specialists working for private clients, or for the government. All courses can be completed on a full- or part-time basis and meet the requirements needed to satisfy CPA licensure standards. Sample classes include:

    • Advanced Financial Reporting and Accounting Concepts
    • Concepts of Federal Income Tax
    • Cost Accounting
    • Auditing and Assurance Services

    Notables

    According to U.S. News and World Report, Florida Atlantic has one of the highest passing rates of CPA examinations out of all other schools polled. This is mostly because the school works diligently to prepare working professionals for this examination while they are enrolled in their studies, and also provides exceptional opportunities for hands-on learning. This school is one of the most affordable in the state, offering a great return on investment for any online learner.

  3. University of Akron
    Location

    Akron, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Akron is one of the oldest universities in the country, founded in 1870 by the Ohio Universalist Convention Today, the school offers over 300 undergraduate and graduate programs with a total enrollment of just over 23,000 students. The College of Business Administration offers two different Master of Taxation degrees: a traditional on-campus tax program, and the MTaxDirect program, which is offered entirely online.

    Program Features

    When taken online, this program can be completed in less than 15 months. It is designed for practicing attorneys and CPAs seeking advancement in their fields. The online curriculum consists of eight required courses and two foundational courses, with requirements including studies in:

    • Tax Policy and Ethics
    • International Taxation
    • Corporate Taxation
    • Taxation of Partnerships

    Notables

    The University of Akron is regarded as one of the most influential public research universities in the area, dedicating extensive time and resources to developing the cultural and economic diversity of its student body. This school is ranked as one of the Best Value Schools for Online Accounting by the ranking website Online Accounting Degrees.

  4. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Location

    Champaign, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a public land-grant research institution that is highly regarded, with the prestigious distinction of being a Public Ivy. The Master of Science in Taxation is offered through the College of Business and is an accelerated degree that can be completed in as little as 12 months. The curriculum of this program emphasizes communication, tax preparation skills, and innovation.

    Program Features

    This program requires 36 hours of study, including 12 required courses that are split up into three 13-week semesters. Coursework blends teaching, public service, and research, with sample coursework including studies in:

    • Multistate Taxation
    • Accounting Periods and Methods
    • Consolidated Returns
    • Taxation of Closely-Held Businesses
    • International Taxation

    Notables

    The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is highly regarded, with its business programs ranked within the top ten nationally and among the best in the Midwest, according to U.S. News and World Report. The accelerated format of this program enables students to move quickly into upper management, while at the same time receiving an affordable degree from a highly respected program.

  5. University of Cincinnati
    Location

    Cincinnati, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Cincinnati, part of the university system of the state of Ohio, is the second largest university in the state. The online Master of Science in Taxation is ranked as the best public online graduate tax program in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Offered through the Lindner College of Business, this AACSB-accredited program is ideal for tax professionals seeking an affordable online learning experience.

    Program Features

    This program offers an accelerated feature that allows students to complete their studies in as little as two years. Students will take classes on a variety of topics, including IRS practice and procedure, federal tax research, and more. Required classes include:

    • Individual Tax: Structure
    • Corporate Tax: Life Cycle Strategies
    • Federal Tax Research: Individuals
    • Taxation of Subchapter S Corporations

    Notables

    This carefully designed program offers students from all backgrounds the opportunity to enhance their research, communication, and problem-solving skills. Students are guided by faculty members with extensive experience, many of whom are lawyers, CPAs, academics, or tax experts. Each candidate completes a final capstone course to provoke further thought and demonstrate their cumulative learning while enrolled in the program.

  6. The University of Alabama
    Location

    Tuscaloosa, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Alabama is widely recognized as one of the top public universities in the United States, offering programs in law, business, and medicine on its scenic Tuscaloosa campus. Among the schools’ top-ranked programs is the Juris Master Concentration in Taxation degree which gives non-lawyers experience in taxation and law across all realms, including private industry and the federal government.

    Program Features

    The Master of Tax Accounting at the University of Alabama requires 30 credits for completion, providing students with a well-rounded and adaptable degree. The curriculum is regarded as one of the best concerning its job-market value, with students taking classes in topics such as:

    • Personal Income Tax
    • Capital Transactions
    • Partnership Tax
    • Corporate Tax
    • Tax Procedure (Civil)

    Notables

    This affordable degree can add value to any student’s career and is flexible enough that accountants, CPAs, and business students can pursue an advanced tax degree without needing a JD. The program is taught by experienced faculty and current practitioners from around the globe and provides students with the ability to specialize their studies with coursework that fits into their specific areas of interest.

  7. Bellarmine University
    Location

    Louisville, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Bellarmine is a small, Catholic university in Louisville, KY, and is highly regarded as one of the best southern regional universities. The school offers an online Master of Science in Taxation through its top-ranked, award-winning Rubel School of Business. It is the only private university in Kentucky with AACSB accreditation and offers an online degree in Taxation that is both affordable and convenient.

    Program Features

    The online program in Taxation at Bellarmine is designed to maximize convenience and flexibility. The curriculum features recorded lectures, hands-on assignments, and thought-provoking discussion boards that are designed to prepare students for top-tier jobs as tax accountants or entrepreneurs. Available classes include:

    • Financial Accounting
    • Advanced Accounting Issues
    • Taxation I & II

    Notables

    This exemplary program features small class sizes and close personal attention from reputable faculty members. Each course hosts an enrollment no larger than 20 students on average. The school has an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of just 12:1, offering over 60 different majors to students in a variety of innovative fields.

  8. Liberty University
    Location

    Lynchburg, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Based in Lynchburg, VA, Liberty University is one of the most well-respected – and largest – Christian universities in the entire world. This not-for-profit university offers over 500 different programs of study to a large student body of 110,000 students. The fledgling Master of Science in Accounting-Taxation is offered entirely online and is just one of many of the programs at Liberty accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

    Program Features

    Each class is taught in the university’s state-of-the-art online learning environment, enabling students to choose field-specific areas of studies or to broaden their expertise with a generalized track. Students will take flexible, conveniently-designed courses such as:

    • Business Law for Accountants
    • Tax Research and Jurisprudence
    • Accounting Ethics

    Notables

    Liberty is top-ranked in regards to its affordability and overall accessibility. This entirely online program is taught by current leaders in taxation and finance who have extensive experience in the industry. The school offers deeply discounted tuition for current and veteran military members, with regular tuition for all students starting at just $565 per credit-hour.

  9. Nova Southeastern University
    Location

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Nova Southeastern University is a relatively young university, founded in just 1964 in picturesque Fort Lauderdale. The school offers a variety of distance learning programs, as well as programs located on regional campuses throughout the state of Florida and the rest of the world. The Master of Science in Taxation is offered entirely, with three different start dates per year.

    Program Features

    This program requires 36 total credit-hours and can be completed in as little as 21 months. The curriculum focuses on the fundamentals of the Internal Revenue Code, as well as regulations across all sectors and industries. Required courses include:

    • Taxation of Individuals
    • Tax of Estates, Trusts, and Gifts
    • IRS Practice and Procedure
    • Tax Planning and Research
    • Corporate Taxation

    Notables

    This school has received high marks for its affordability and overall return on investment. It is a top-ranked university by U.S. News and World Report, providing significant awards like merit- and need-based institutional scholarships for continuing graduate students. Furthermore, the school’s graduates report high overall income and career seeking success, with nearly 90 percent employed two years after graduation.

  10. St. John's University
    Location

    Queens, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    St. John’s University offers an online Master of Science in Taxation that allows talented students to learn at their own pace and earn a graduate degree in as little as a year. The program is offered within the award-winning Peter J. Tobin College of Business, which has received accolades for providing some of the Best Online Graduate Business programs, according to U.S. News and World Report.

    Program Features

    This program, whose inception was inspired by drastically changing financial laws and corporate regulations, allows working professionals to advance their careers. The program requires anywhere between 31 and 33 credit-hours of study, with required classes including:

    • Individual Tax Planning
    • Partnerships and Partners
    • Corporate Taxation
    • Tax Research and Writing

    Notables

    The St. John’s Business School is filled with distinguished, dedicated faculty members, many of whom are consultants to local, national, and international companies. These instructors have diverse business experiences and can guide students toward academic and career success. Furthermore, this program is highly affordable starting at just $1,245 per credit-hour, with a variety of scholarship and other financial aid opportunities available.

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.

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

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Accreditation

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



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