Students should select taxation classes that complement their career goals. For example, someone wishing to enter the workforce as an independent tax preparer or as an employee in an accounting firm might find an appropriate level of education through an online tax preparation certificate. Those seeking a broader education might enroll in an undergraduate accounting degree program. A master's program in taxation can prepare graduates for higher-level positions as certified public accountants, while a Master of Law (LL.M.) in Taxation qualifies the graduate to work as a tax attorney. Some programs may require campus visits.
Tax Preparation Certificate
Designed for those interested in accounting and taxation who wish to enter the workforce after a short time, this type of program focuses on tax law and preparation and basic accounting concepts. Students take courses in financial accounting, business income tax, personal finance and individual income taxes. These programs qualify individuals to work at accounting firms or on their own as tax preparers. The program can be completed in about two semesters. Programs are often offered by community colleges, though some universities also offer them.
Bachelor's Degree in Accounting
A 120-credit bachelor's degree program in accounting features business and accounting courses that cover auditing, taxation and managerial accounting. The program prepares graduates for careers in accounting at businesses, non-profits and government organizations. Students also take general education courses, such as math, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences, along with courses in statistics, microeconomics, federal income tax, business finance, business law and forensic accounting.
Master's Degree in Taxation
A master's program in taxation is appropriate for individuals who work or want to work for CPA firms or private or government entities. Some programs require some on-campus attendance, and most are flexible, allowing students up to five years to complete the program. Students take courses in accounting methods and procedures, partnership taxation and estate taxation, to name a few areas. Some programs also require a research component in the form of a capstone course.
Master of Laws in Taxation
Candidates for the LL.M. must hold a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from an accredited institution. This 24-credit hour course of study is designed for working professionals and can generally be completed asynchronously on the student's time. Coursework includes topics in federal income tax, state and local tax, corporate taxation, estate and gift tax, and many others.
Online classes in taxation are included in both undergraduate and graduate degree programs, but on-campus visits may be required. Undergraduate certificates in taxation and bachelor's degrees in accounting introduce financial concepts related to taxation, master's degree programs provide more advanced coursework, and LL.M. programs give experienced lawyers the chance to direct their careers toward tax law.