Most Affordable Online Master’s in Taxation Degrees
| Staff Writers
Are you ready to find your fit?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most Affordable Online Master’s in Taxation Degrees 2021
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Auditing and Assurance Services
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.
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.
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
Taxation of Partnerships
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.
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.
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:
Accounting Periods and Methods
Taxation of Closely-Held Businesses
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Tax Procedure (Civil)
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.
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.
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:
Advanced Accounting Issues
Taxation I & II
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Tax Research and Writing
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.
Northeastern University offers a unique part-time Master of Science in Taxation that is perfect for currently employed professionals. It is taught by expert faculty who also teach at the highly regarded D’Amore-McKim School of Business. Students receive access to exceptional job placement services, as well as dozens of experiential learning opportunities with corporate partners. These hands-on experiences make Northeastern one of the best choices for job placement.
This program can be completed in as little as 16 months of part-time study. Because all courses are offered asynchronously, it’s easy for students to complete courses at their own pace. The program features two separate tracks: taxation of individuals or taxation of entities. Sample classes include:
Federal Tax Issues and Analysis
Estate and Gift Taxation
Corporations and Shareholders
Partners and Partnerships
Northeastern has the reputation of being one of the most prestigious, change-inspiring private research institutions in the country. Each course is taught by industry professionals who also teach on-campus. This program is housed in an AACSB-accredited business school that is ranked as one of the top 20 in the entire country, according to U.S. News and World Report.
The University of Hartford, also known as “UHart,” is a private school with an eye toward public service. With an enrollment of 5,000 students, the school offers degrees in a variety of disciplines, including the humanities, engineering, and, of course, taxation. The Barney School of Business offers an affordable online Master of Science in Accounting-Taxation. Tuition starts at $595 per credit-hour, making this a realistic option for any student.
This program offers two tracks, financial and assurance services and taxation, either of which may be completed on a full- or part-time basis. Students are also encouraged to participate in professional development activities (such as career workshops and symposiums), all facilitated by industry experts and skilled faculty. Required classes for the taxation track include:
Taxation of Business Organizations
Ethics for Accounting Professionals
Advanced Taxation of Pass-through Entities
Advanced Corporate Taxation
The convenient curriculum of the Master of Science in Accounting – Taxation at the University of Hartford means that students can access their coursework when they have the time to do so. Most students graduate in around two years, with each course lasting seven weeks. Students are granted the flexibility to take classes one at a time, allowing them to save significant amounts of money by focusing on a single class at once.
DePaul University is founded on Catholic principles and continues to be one of the most highly ranked Midwestern schools of its kind. The school has a profound commitment to educating a diverse body of students, including those who are first-generation or low-income. The affordable program in Taxation is just one of many that is designed to address social mobility, giving students access to hundreds of real-world and career-enhancing opportunities.
This program is unique in that it focuses not just on tax problems and solutions, but also on ethical leadership. It is flexible enough to allow students to take just a single class each quarter, or to accelerate their progress to graduate within a single year. Required classes include:
Tax Treatment of Corporations and Partnerships
Federal Income Tax Procedures
Writing for Tax Professionals
This program is well-regarded for its quality, recognized as the third most relevant program among a recent survey of top employers by Tax Talent. Over 96 percent of recent Taxation graduates report working full-time within six months of graduation, a nod to the high quality of instruction provided by the distinguished faculty at the university. It is also a testament to the hands-on training and affordability ingrained in every aspect of the school’s curriculum.
The University of Southern California is highly regarded as one of the country’s most prestigious institutions of higher education. It is the state’s oldest private research university and has played a major role in developing local businesses and major industry. The university houses the Marshall School of Business, an award-winning department that offers an exceptional online Master of Business Taxation.
This program is designed with current accountants in mind, with over 95 percent of the school’s online master’s students CPA-certified. Coursework can be completed within less than twenty months of full-time work. Required classes include:
Tax Research and Professional Responsibilities
Tax Theory and Ethics
Communication for Accounting and Tax Professionals
Taxation of Corporations and Their Shareholders
The University of Southern California, dating back to 1880, has strong roots in the industry, and as a result partners students with critical networking connections. This university is the largest private sector employer in the city of Los Angeles, providing students with valuable connections to thousands of award-winning faculty members, like-minded peers, and industry partners. It’s highly affordable, requiring students to pay per unit, so they aren’t charged for classes they aren’t taking.
Housed in the picturesque Rocky Mountains, the University of Denver was founded in 1864 and is the oldest university in the area. Likewise, the school’s Daniels College of Business is one of the oldest of its kind, founded in 1908, and offers exceptional programs in all aspects of business, finance, and management. The online taxation program at the University of Denver is ideal for students seeking an extraordinary experience in corporate taxation, individual taxes, and tax principles.
This program requires 30 credit-hours of study, consisting of eight fundamental courses that can be completed either full- or part-time. It is the only public university in the state of Colorado to offer a rigorous program in taxation, educating students in hands-on classes such as:
Civil & Criminal Tax Procedure
Individual Tax Problems
This university is ranked as one of the top private research universities in the region and has won numerous accolades for the flexibility of its online taxation program. It was one of the first tax programs of its kind and is offered in conjunction with an LLM in Taxation, which is designed for law school graduates seeking specializations in tax law. In addition to offering an affordable tuition rate, many merit-based scholarships are offered to qualified graduate Tax students as well.