What is Tax Law?

There are always opportunities for career improvement, especially in the dynamic field of tax law. According to market research conducted by IBISWorld, tax preparation alone is currently a $10 billion industry. When considering how many professionals are needed to understand and interpret the policies and legal aspects that contribute to taxation and tax preparation, it seems clear there are ample career opportunities in the professional field of tax law.

With high salaries and opportunities for continuous advancement, tax law is an ideal field to consider when transitioning your career, regardless of your academic and professional background. There is a growing need for law, business and finance professionals, so now is the time to explore potential career opportunities and take the next step toward entering the field of tax law.

What is Tax Law for Lawyers?

Lawyers who have completed a Juris Doctor have the credential required to enter the professional field of law and begin careers as attorneys. Those who wish to advance their roles as attorneys and practice a specialty area of law often benefit from completing an advanced law degree. To focus your practice on tax law, a Master of Laws in Taxation (Tax LLM) is a worthwhile investment.

Master of Laws – Tax (Tax LLM)
Average time for completion: 2 years

Ideal for licensed attorneys striving for career advancement in the field of taxation, a Master of Laws (Tax LLM) degree can deliver the expertise you need to focus your practice on tax law as a specialty. This program is designed to build on professional knowledge of the law, so you are required to have a Juris Doctor from an accredited institution before enrolling in this type of degree program. After completing a Tax LLM, you’ll bolster your qualifications for becoming a tax attorney.

Tax Attorney
Median annual salary: $113,600

Tax attorneys provide legal counsel to individuals and companies regarding their federal, state and international tax obligations. They review financial and tax documents, and research and interpret tax laws to ensure that their clients comply with the laws and are prepared for potential audits. According to research by PayScale, the average annual salary for attorneys in the United States is $84,129, while Glassdoor reports that associate tax attorneys currently earn an average annual salary of $102,394. The higher end starting salaries for this position reach up to $195,000 per year, making lawyers specializing in taxation some of the highest-paid professionals in the field.

What is Tax Law for Non-Lawyers?

Individuals without academic and professional backgrounds in law may break into the tax field through an advanced non-law tax degree, such as the Master of Tax Law (MT), the Master of Science in Taxation or the Master of Accounting. All degree options deliver the skills and credentials necessary for specific tax law careers, which is why it’s important to understand each program’s offerings before choosing the program that best supports your long-term goals.

Master of Tax Law (MT)
Average time for completion: 2 years

The Master of Tax Law (MT) is a degree for non-attorneys who want to pursue business and finance careers that focus on tax law. This degree is typically offered by law schools and focuses on researching and applying the tax law to solve problems creatively. It best prepares graduates for careers in tax planning and tax controversy, rather than tax return preparation. With this degree, you’ll have the academic credential required for a variety of in-demand positions with rewarding compensation, including the role of a financial advisor.

Financial Advisor
Annual Salary: $87,850

Financial advisors provide advice on personal financial situations. They offer expert information regarding investment opportunities and savings and develop plans for long-term financial health. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupation is currently experiencing a 7% annual growth rate. In 2019, the median annual salary for the role was $87,850, with similar tax-related job titles earning wages in the same range.

Additional Career Outcomes:

  • Chief financial officer
  • Corporate controller
  • IRS accountant
  • IRS agent
  • Partner, accounting firm, tax
  • Sales tax auditor
  • Senior tax accountant
  • Senior tax manager
  • Tax auditor
  • Tax consultant
  • Tax director

Master of Science in Taxation
Average time for completion: 2 years

Ideal for individuals seeking tax-focused business careers, the Master of Science in Taxation opens the door to diverse professional opportunities in business, accounting and taxation. This type of graduate tax degree offers instruction on similar topics covered by the MT, and applicants are not required to have a background in law. This degree can also serve as a stepping-stone to advanced academic programs for further career advancement for business professionals.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Annual Salary: $135,545

Chief financial officers lead businesses toward financial success by managing financial records and tax documents and making effective budgeting and long-term financial planning decisions. These professionals play a key role in ensuring a company abides by current tax laws and is fully prepared for potential audits. Research by Payscale.com reports the average annual salary for chief financial officers is $135,545, with top professionals in the position earning up to $223,000 per year.

Additional Career Outcomes:

  • Vice president of finance
  • Business consultant

Master of Accounting
Average time for completion: 2 years

Designed for aspiring accountants, the Master of Accounting prepares individuals to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam and become licensed accountants in their states. In addition to offering the essential finance skills through rigorous instruction, this type of degree also features clinical practice hours to ensure graduates complete the program with real-world knowledge of accountant responsibilities.

While not a tax-specific degree, the Master of Accounting is sometimes pursued by individuals working toward careers in taxation because some tax courses are included in the curriculum and the degree can serve as the academic credential needed to pursue advanced education. The degree also offers the credential for promising careers immediately following graduation, including the role of CPA.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Annual Salary: $71,550

Certified public accountants impact the financial success of individuals and businesses by keeping track of their clients’ financial and tax records while developing effective budget plans and long-term financial strategies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants in the United States earned a median annual salary of $71,550 in 2019. Currently, the accounting industry is experiencing a steady growth rate of 4%, and more than 61,000 new accounting and auditing positions are expected to be created by 2029.

Additional Career Outcomes:

  • Auditing clerk
  • Budget analyst
  • Financial analyst
  • Personal financial advisor

How Will Tax Law Shape Your Future?

Whether you want to advance your career as a lawyer or are pursuing new opportunities with your business or finance education, the field of tax law offers endless opportunities. Take the first step toward a successful tax law career with the right academic program from Loyola Law School (LLS).

LLS offers a selection of online degree programs designed to prepare you for diverse and rewarding careers in tax law. Guided by knowledgeable and experienced faculty members who are committed to your academic and professional achievement, each program delivers the expertise you need to succeed in the tax law career you want. Contact an LLS enrollment counselor today to get started.

Loyola’s Online Graduate Tax Degrees:

Read more about Graduate Tax Degrees here!

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