How Online Master of Taxation Degree Programs Work
A Master of Taxation (MTax) allows you to work with taxes in an executive position or as partner at an accounting firm. This degree can also be referred to as a Master of Science in taxation (MsT) or a Master of Business Taxation (MBT). These programs have the same coursework and number of hours that must be completed. Most are comprised of 30 hours that will make you a tax specialist after the courses are completed. Some programs involve half of the hours being devoted to graduate taxes work, while others have the entire 30 hours devoted to studying taxes at the graduate level. Those who seek a Master of Taxation usually have an ample background in finance and taxes. Undergraduate degrees that feed into Master of Taxation programs are typically in finance, accounting or business.
In some cases, you should also be certified in accounting or taxes. This increases your earning potential and job opportunities. You do not have to have additional certification to qualify for upper level positions in taxes, but they can be helpful. CPAs are poised for the most job growth in the coming decade. This is because there will be changes in fiscal laws following the meltdown of the U.S. economy in 2008. Companies will be using greater discretion with their finances and be under more intense watch by the government to ensure financial responsibility.
Career Potential with a Master of Taxation
Master of Taxation degrees feed into relatively few careers, compared to other business master’s degrees such as the Master of Business Administration (MBA). There is variation in any field, though, and the following should clarify the differences between some common job titles in the field of taxation.
A tax specialist is a natural career for those with a Master of Taxation. This position is also known as a tax analyst. In this job you ensure a company’s taxes meet with the local, state and federal requirements. Mid-size businesses and large corporations often employ tax specialists or hire then on a contract basis. Businesses also hire a tax specialist when they are in the process of growing or moving into a new tax bracket due to increased profits. If a company has had trouble within their accounting department, a tax specialist may be brought in to work to correct past mistakes and make sure the company is accounted for when it comes to the IRS and internal audits. It typically takes 2-5 years after becoming a tax specialist to rise to a position of higher ranking such as tax manager, tax supervisor or senior tax specialist within a company. Most tax specialists work a regular 8-5 schedule and have holidays and weekends off. Most companies pay their taxes every quarter, so at the end of these quarters, you may have to work overtime and beyond the standard work schedule.
Most tax specialists have a master’s or doctorates degree. A tax specialist may be employed by a company to go over any accounting done within the company and to make sure those under the tax specialist are doing everything appropriately. It is a mix of management responsibility and the know-how of accounting and ensuring a company is financially sound and following tax laws. The median salary for accountants, bookkeepers, and tax preparers is just over $60,000, according to The BLS.
Junior Tax Specialist.
In some cases a junior tax specialist may be groomed to become a senior tax specialist once the person in that position leaves. If a company is expanding, they often employ more than one senior tax specialist per branch or office. A junior tax specialist reports to the senior tax specialists and does a lot of the data entry and accounting for a company. For the most part, the responsibilities and objectives of a junior tax specialist are the same of a tax specialist, only you’re working under someone’s supervision. You may also be in charge of a smaller branch or office. Prior to this, your experience may be in taxes and accounting for a small business or handling individual clients. A junior tax specialist makes considerably less than a senior tax specialist and works under a similar arrangement where half of the salary comes from bonuses given throughout the year for performance.
A tax accountant can be employed by a company or work with clients to ensure their tax liabilities are kept to a minimum. This involves going over business expenses and filing taxes quarterly for a client so they are not hit with one big tax payment when tax season arrives. You make sure all of the things being done within a company comply with tax regulations and manage the company’s relationship with the IRS. Any paperwork or filing is done by you, on behalf of the company or client you’re representing.
A tax accountant also works with payroll and bookkeepers to keep proper records of all of the money coming in and going out for a company. A tax accountant often serves as the head of finances for a company, in the respect that all payroll and bookkeeping is reported to the accountant. A tax accountant is responsible for seeing that all software and paper records are up-to-date and prepared for an audit at any given time.
You may also get a job working as an auditor with a Master of Taxation. The number of auditor jobs is expected to grow in the coming decade due to many in the field retiring. The two main types of auditors are internal ones, who audit the company they work for to keep track of finances and ensure compliance with the law, and external auditors, who audit other companies to maintain their accountability to the IRS and other stakeholders. This is to ensure that if the company ever is audited by the IRS, everything is following protocol and also helps a company see where they are each quarter and how to improve profits and how money is spent. An auditor may also work as a business consultant of sorts, showing where money can be spent and saved to more effectively. Working for the IRS with a Master of Taxation, it is likely you will work in a supervising position and oversee a team of people or an entire department. As an auditor, you might also be employed by the government. In this case, it is your job to investigate any suspicious or fraudulent tax activity done by companies or individuals. Auditors employed by the government, at the state and federal level, earn an average of $50,000 per year.
Lateral Career Movement for People with Taxation Degrees
Working as a tax consultant or accountant requires a high level of knowledge of accounting, tax law, and finance in general, which means that someone with a Master of Taxation degree can probably move sideways, into a different career, if being promoted into higher tax-related positions doesn’t appeal. Working as an investor, financial manager, or even the chief financial officer (CFO) of a company is a real possibility for a motivated tax worker with a master’s level degree.
Freelancing may also be a possibility for someone with an MTax degree, as there are many families seeking financial planning advice or assistance with preparing their own taxes. By working a few extra hours per week on freelance consulting jobs, you can squeeze more earnings out of your tax expertise without quitting your day job.
Pay for Your Education with a Lucrative Tax Career
Tax workers can easily make in the mid-to-high five-figure salaries, and even the low six figures, and employment for tax accountants and auditors is expected to shoot up by 22% between 2008 and 2018, which is way faster than job growth in most fields, so the chances of scoring a job with a solid paycheck are high. It is important to consider the cost of your education compared to your projected earnings as a professional in your field, and in the case of a Master of Taxation degree, the skills you learn are likely to earn back the money you spend on school and then some. The links below can put you in touch with schools that offer accredited online MTax courses that can get you started on the way toward your new degree.