Online tax accounting programs, available at the associate, bachelor's and master's degree levels, provide students with a basic understanding of the country's legal system and its application to personal and corporate taxes. Prospective tax accountants may earn a tax accounting degree entirely online or through hybrid programs that allow students to take a combination of online and on-campus courses.
Online degree programs require formal admission to the institution offering the program. Undergraduate students usually must have a high school diploma or the equivalent, along with placement test scores. Because graduate programs in accounting are often designed for professionals, prospective students must have a bachelor's degree and often need a certain amount of work experience. Applicants to a master's program may also have to take prerequisite accounting courses if their undergraduate degrees are in an unrelated field.
Coursework by Degree Level
Distance learning accounting students typically work independently and communicate with instructors and fellow students through e-mail, instant messaging and scheduled online chats. Online classrooms, managed by schools, contain assignments, tests and lectures for students to access in their own time.
Online tax accounting associate's degree programs prepare students for a variety of entry-level accounting careers in not-for-profit organizations, government, industry and professional accounting firms. Following the same curriculum as on-campus students, online students learn fundamental principles of financial accounting, as well as concepts and practices related to reporting income, assets, liabilities and equity on financial statements.
Undergraduate students in a typical 2-year online associate degree in tax accounting program may take the following introductory business and accounting courses:
- Business Law
- Financial Accounting
- Accounting Principles
- Information Systems
Graduates of online tax accounting bachelor's programs are prepared for a variety of jobs in the accounting field, such as cost estimator, loan officer, financial analyst, personal financial advisor, tax examiner and auditing clerk. A typical 4-year online tax accounting program provides intensive study in the accounting field and prepares students for graduate studies in other areas; however, a bachelor's in accounting will not satisfy the requirements for the national certified public accountant (CPA) exam. Tax accounting students who want to become certified public accountants should plan on pursuing a master's degree.
In addition to general studies courses, students enrolled in online undergraduate tax accounting programs study financial reports and statements, cost procedures and audits. A typical four-year online bachelor's in tax accounting curriculum may include the following classes:
- Personal Taxes
- Payroll Accounting
- Business Taxes
- Accounting Professional Ethics
- Auditing for Fraud
- Advanced Spreadsheet Applications
- Corporate Finance
- Inferential Statistics
- Quantitative Business Methods
Students enrolled in online master's degree programs in tax accounting learn to draw on their comprehensive knowledge of accounting and taxation to make prudent tax-related decisions. Further, students holding a master's degree in tax accounting are eligible to sit for the national CPA exam.
Online classes for students pursuing a master's in tax accounting may include:
- International Accounting
- Accounting for E-Commerce
- Concepts of Federal Income Tax
- Advance Analysis and Applications of Accounting Data
- Advance Accounting Information Systems
Online undergraduate and graduate programs in tax accounting provide the same finance-related coursework as on-campus programs. Thus, students in associate's degree programs get a general introduction to the field, those in bachelor's degree programs delve into slightly more advanced business topics, and master's degree programs provide the final advanced coursework needed to prepare graduates for the CPA exam.