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Tax Classes and Courses Overview

Tax classes may be part of a certificate or degree program that prepares students for entry-level positions as tax preparers or bookkeepers, although standalone tax preparation courses are available as well. Read on to learn about different courses available in this field of study.

Essential Information

Taxation classes may involve the preparation of mock income tax returns or the completion of volunteer tax preparation work for real clients. Programs in bookkeeping or accounting generally require additional classes in financial and managerial accounting, accounting software, auditing, financial management and accounting ethics. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most accountants and auditors need at least a bachelor's degree in business or accounting. Bachelor's and master's programs in accounting with an emphasis on taxation are available for these professionals.

Here are some common concepts taught in tax preparation courses:

  • IRS law
  • Estate and gift taxation
  • State, local, and international taxation
  • Tax practice
  • Federal tax regulation
  • Individual and corporate tax preparation
  • Ethics

List of Classes

Individual Tax Preparation

This class teaches students how to prepare individual tax returns. Students learn to produce a tax return and calculate tax liabilities. Different tax rates, Internal Revenue Service laws, federal income tax regulations, gross income calculations, charitable deductions, and alternative minimum taxes are also explored.

Income Tax

An income tax class is designed for students who want a more in-depth understanding of how income taxes affect businesses and individuals. Students learn how to figure income tax for individuals, businesses, and partnerships. This process has many steps, and students become familiar with exclusions, adjusted gross incomes and capital gains and losses. They also study tax rates, depreciation, and accrual methods.

Corporate Tax

Corporate tax classes focus on the ways tax law applies to corporations. Students learn current tax laws and discover how to handle taxation of property contributions to corporations, distributed equity to shareholders, and corporate mergers and acquisitions. Corporate tax classes also provide instruction in accumulated earning taxes, liquidations, capital structures, reorganizations, financial statements, auditing, and tax reporting.

Estate and Gift Tax

In an estate and gift tax course, students complete detailed studies of federal laws concerning gift taxation and other estate planning techniques. Gift tax codes, federal estate laws, annual exclusions, gift splitting, and charitable deductions are also examined. Students learn about powers of appointment and gifts, jointly-owned property issues, marital deductions, life insurance proceeds, and estate tax credits.

International Tax

This course may begin with an overview of U.S. tax law and how it relates to international taxes. Since individual international laws can vary widely, the course typically focuses on inbound and outbound transactions and general tax policies. Students interested in learning all the international tax laws for each country may take an advanced international tax class. Resident and non-resident taxation, foreign earned income exclusion, withholding taxes, foreign tax credits and tax treaties may also be covered.

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