19 Minutes to Read

What is an MBA in Taxation

The Master of Business Administration degree with a specialization in Taxation (M.B.A. – Taxation) provides B-Students with a solid foundation in business principles with concentrated coursework in business law, financial accounting, mangerial accounting, and federal taxation. The M.B.A. curriculum gives students a comprehensive overview of managerial problem-solving, accounting ethics following the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), and teaches students how to quantitatively analyze the strength of the company through its financial statements. The goal of the taxation specialization is to hone in the skills needed to become a tax professional. Whether the goal is to become a CPA or an Enrolled Agent (EA), MBA in Taxation graduates can start a career as a tax specialist or follow the corporate management path.

An MBA in Taxation equips B-Students with a highly specialized degree and the necessary educational credentials to sit for the CPA exam in their respective state. Depending upon the chosen sector (public accounting, non-profit, managerial accounting), an MBA graduate will be prepared to take on roles as a public accountant, auditor, tax professional, or consultant.

How Much Do Taxation Managers Earn

From large corporations to individuals, everyone has to file taxes. April 15th comes every year and most tax professionals have plenty of work during the tax season. From closing the year-end books to auditing financial statements, there is plenty of skills a tax professional must master prior to obtaining a manager-level position in finance. Here are a few of your career options below (average salaries). An MBA in Taxation is a well-respected credential in the industry and will lead to professional designations such as the Certified Professional Accountant, Certified Managerial Accountant, and Certified Financial Planner).

Sector Avg. Salary
Tax Director, Senior Manager $166,000
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) $133,000
Tax Manager, Public Accounting $92,000 $92,000
Tax Manager $92,000
Asst. Controller Accountant, CPA $80,000

 

The median annual wage for financial managers is $121,750. The lowest 10% earned less than $65,000 and the highest 10% earned more than $208,000. The median annual wages for financial managers in the top industries are as follows:

Sector Avg. Salary
Professional, scientific, and technical services $142,300
Management of companies and enterprises $140,650
Manufacturing $121,270
Finance and insurance $117,870
Government $109,230

Where Do Taxation Managers with an MBA Work

The following are examples of types of financial managers:

  • Controllers direct the preparation of financial reports that summarize and forecast the organization’s financial position, such as income statements, balance sheets, and analysis of future earnings or expenses. Controllers are responsible for preparing special reports required by governmental agencies that regulate businesses. Often, controllers oversee the accounting, audit, and budget departments of their organization.
  • Treasurers and finance officers direct their organization’s budgets to meet its financial goals. They oversee the investment of funds and carry out strategies to raise capital (such as issuing stocks or bonds) to support the firm’s expansion. They also develop financial plans for mergers (two companies joining together) and acquisitions (one company buying another).
  • Credit Managers oversee their firm’s credit business. They set credit-rating criteria, determine credit ceilings, and monitor the collections of past-due accounts.
  • Cash Managers monitor and control the flow of cash in and out of the company to meet business and investment needs. For example, they must project cash flow to determine whether the company will have a shortage or surplus of cash.
  • Risk Managers control financial risk by using strategies to limit or offset the probability of a financial loss or a company’s exposure to financial uncertainty. Among the risks they try to limit are those that stem from currency or commodity price changes.
  • Insurance Managers decide how best to limit a company’s losses by obtaining insurance against risks, such as the need to make disability payments for an employee who gets hurt on the job or the costs imposed by a lawsuit against the company.
  • Cost Estimators conduct feasibility studies and perform takeoffs to ensure that a construction project is a financially viable endeavor for real estate developers. Cost estimators analyze a project’s overall expenses compared to the income the commercial property will generate over time.

What Qualities Make a Successful Career in Taxation

Analytical skills. Financial managers assist C-level executive with important financial decisions that affect their organization, a task that requires analytical ability.

Communication skills. Excellent communication skills are essential because financial managers must explain and justify complex financial transactions. Financial Managers are responsible for briefing multiple departments on their productivity, which normally means breaking down highly complex data into laymen’s terms.

Detail oriented. In preparing and analyzing reports such as balance sheets and income statements, financial managers must be precise and attentive to their work in order to avoid errors.

Math skills. Financial managers must be skilled in math, including algebra. An understanding of international finance and complex financial documents also is important.

Organizational skills. Because financial managers deal with a range of information and documents, they must stay organized to do their jobs effectively.

What Will I Learn in My MBA Taxation Program

Sector Description
Technical, Conceptual, Problem-Solving Apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills related to taxation of individuals, flow-through entities, and corporations. Recognize potential opportunities for tax savings and tax planning.
Professional Development Convert complex and technical tax terminology that is more digestible for non-technical departments like customer service, sales, and marketing. The ability to demonstrate strong interpersonal communication skills that build relationships with clients over time is a critical asset. Document exchanges with careful attention to word choice, tone, and accuracy.
Research/Life-Long Learning The ability to work with multiple accounting programs (SAGE, Quickbooks, Excel) while thoroughly researching and analyzing updated tax codes, tax law, and adhering to the GAAP. Use knowledge to be able to adjust to changes in tax law over time.
Ethical Principles and Professional Standards Demonstrate an understanding of and apply consistently the ethical principles and professional standards related to the profession, including the standards in taking a tax position. The governing body is the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Show the ability to express and follow rules of independence and the highest sense of professional ethics.
Globalization Explain key differences in taxing policies from country to country. Reflect on cultural and ethnic differences in approaches to business and taxation policies.

Typical Classes for a Taxation MBA Program

  • Federal Taxation I and II – Focuses on the federal income taxation of individuals with some discussion of business taxation. Explores the basic structure of individual income taxation, including the individual tax formula, income, deductions, and credits, and provides an introduction to property transactions. Emphasizes how tax laws affect everyday personal and business decisions. Presents further consideration of tax issues as they affect the sole proprietor, including the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), nontaxable exchanges, basis rules, and passive activities.
  • Financial Reporting and Analysis – Explores the assessment of corporate strategy with respect to creation and retention of value, identification and management of risk, and valuation of companies and financial securities. Students develop a framework for analyzing corporate performance and projecting future performance, assessing the quality of accounting and disclosure, and examining research relevant to financial reporting and analysis and equity prices in the public financial markets.
  • Taxation of Corporations – Introduces concepts, principles and practices of taxation of corporations and their shareholders. Covers the effects of taxation on corporate formation, capital structures, distribution and liquidation.
  • International Taxation Inbound – Studies U.S. taxation of non-U.S. persons with activities in the United States. Covers source of income, business investment, and financial planning from a tax perspective for non-U.S. persons doing business in the United States. Also addresses withholding, treaty implications, and compliance and disclosure requirements.
  • International Taxation Outbound – This course studies the U.S. taxation of U.S. persons with non-U.S. income and/or activities. Covers foreign tax credit and foreign tax credit limitation, individuals with earned foreign income, controlled foreign corporations, Subpart F, investment in U.S. property, and transfer pricing. Also, address compliance and disclosure requirements.
  • Tax Research, Practice and Procedure – The methodology of tax research, including case studies; the management of a tax practice; administration procedures governing tax controversies; rights and obligations of taxpayers and tax practitioners.

Campus vs. Online Taxation MBA Programs

eLearning platforms and cutting-edge Blackboard classrooms have made video lectures, discussion boards, and posting assignments all the more engaging. An online MBA in Taxation can be just as engaging as traditional MBA programs. Compared to an on-campus program, an online MBA may reduce tuition, textbook, and transportation costs, especially if you choose an in-state online MBA program at an affordable B-School.

If you enjoy the face-to-face interaction with professors and fellow finance students, a traditional on-campus program is the best route. With that being said, a reputable online MBA in Taxation can provide an aspiring business student the opportunity to work full-time and still complete a master’s degree in their chosen field. There are nearly 3 million students currently enrolled in full-time online degree programs compared to approximately 6 million students taking at least one online course as part of their degree program.

The pros of online learning include lower costs of textbooks, dormitory expenses, and commuting cost. The convenience and flexibility of choosing your own times for learning, and the comfort of learning in your own home. Plus, you still may able to work full-time and complete your degree program from the comforts of your own home. A highly reputable online program is not limited by geography.

The cons of online learning include limited social interaction, computer and software issues as well as the cost of high-speed Internet, often requires the student be self-motivated and disciplined progress through the program. You may also miss out on networking events, job fairs, and student organization membership.

The pros of campus-based learning include face-to-face and in-person interaction with instructors and fellow students, regularly scheduled class hours, use of the school’s library, athletic facilities, and laboratories. A college campus is also on the front lines of the latest industry news. This will keep you “in-the-know” if there are changes to tax codes, the public accounting industry, or innovative company’s disrupting the finance sector.

The cons of campus-based learning include the requirement to travel to classes, lack of time flexibility, and housing costs. Plus, there may be the feeling of “small fish in a big pond,” if you’re one of many in a large enrollment class. You may want a more intimate classroom environment for your MBA studies.

One of the benefits of online learning as it relates to tuition cost is that a number of schools offer free textbooks online and include these texts in the price of tuition. Most online business courses allow you to subscribe to Harvard Business Review to access MBA-related case studies instead of purchasing a textbook from the school bookstore. This will certainly trim down the costs associated with an MBA program.

How Much is the Tuition for an MBA in Taxation

The average in-state tuition for MBA in Taxation programs is $47,147.20 compared to the average out-of-state tuition of $57,582.17. You can save close to $10,000 on average if you attend an MBA program in your home state versus crossing the border to attend B-School. The average in-state online tuition for an MBA in Taxation is $51,417.76 compared to the average out-of-state online tuition of $62,226.95. Depending upon the graduate employment rate and the average salary of MBA graduates where your school is located, you may opt to attend an in-state program versus enrolling in an out-of-state MBA in Taxation. If you plan on sitting for the CPA exam, location plays an important role in where you plan on attending B-School and where you want to start your Finance career.

Campus Tuition

Online Tuition

GMAT Scores for Taxation MBA Programs

It’s important to note than not all MBA in Taxation programs require a GMAT score. Most competitive programs do, however. With 48 traditional on-campus and 24 online MBA in Taxation programs to choose from, a strong GMAT score will open the doors to high-quality B-Schools. With that being said, most MBA admission departments look at the applicant’s overall background and not just their GMAT Score. This may include an applicant’s undergraduate GPA, professional background, references, personal statement, and CV. The lowest average on-campus GMAT Score is 460 compared to the highest average GMAT Score of 672 for traditional MBA in Taxation programs. If you plan on attending an online MBA program, 460 to 645 is the average GMAT range.

Campus GMAT Scores

Online GMAT Scores

Student / Faculty Ratio for MBA Programs in Taxation

Whether you plan on taking classes on-campus in a traditional setting or simply want to mix in a few online courses, the Student/Faculty ratio plays an important role in the quality of education a B-Student receives. If you enjoy a more intimate setting, a low Student/Faculty ratio will allow for greater collaboration with professors and students. The best MBA Student/Faculty ratio for on-campus programs is 0.07< compared to the worst Student/Faculty ratio of 12.84. If networking is important, you may want to consider a lower Student/Faculty ratio even if you’re enrolled in an online MBA program. Instead of a lecture hall environment or a large online class with a crowded discussion board, you have the advantage of standing out in a crowd and making an impression with fellow students and professors in the same industry. The best online MBA Student/Faculty ratio is 0.17 compared to the worst Student/Faculty ratio of 12.84.

Campus Student/Faculty Ratio

Online Student/Faculty Ratio

Enrollment for MBA Programs in Taxation

If one of your goals as a B-Student is to network with professors, join student organizations, or attend job fairs/recruiting events, then you may want to consider a program with a larger student enrollment size. The Big 4 of accounting firms (Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Ernest & Young, Deloitte, and KPMG) tailor their recruiting schedules around top ranked B-Schools with larger enrollment sizes. This provides top firms with a larger selection of talented business students. Does that mean smaller enrollment sizes mean lack of opportunity? The answer is no. Fortune 500 countries look for talent everywhere. It just means that a larger MBA program may have greater resources to organize job fairs and networking events for its students. It’s best to research your program and see if they host these events and support their students with the job placement process. The average MBA enrollment for full-time on-campus programs is 405 compared to an average part-time enrollment of 429. The average full-time enrollment for online MBA programs is 376 compared to 498 part-time students.

Campus Enrollment

Online Enrollment

Global Enrollment for MBA Programs in Taxation

Whether you choose the traditional on-campus MBA route or the part-time online MBA option, B-Schools that recruit a talented student body from all over the world is a sign of a quality program. The more culturally diverse a program, the better it is for its student. In an ever-changing global marketplace, companies know that a culturally diverse workplace is an asset especially if customers are from all over the world. From multinational companies that have satellite locations overseas to third party online retailers with remote warehouse facilities, tax professionals that have a firm grasp on the global financial landscape will have a major competitive advantage. Most will have their first international business class in their MBA program. Depending on your career path, you may want to collaborate with a student body representing the world versus just the U.S. The MBA program with smallest percentage of students from the U.S. is 34.68% compared to the largest percentage of U.S. students at 100.00%. For online MBA programs in Taxation, the smallest percentage of students from the U.S. is 56.09% compared to the largest percentage at 100.00%.

Campus Global Enrollment

Online Global Enrollment

Faculty Information for MBA Programs in Taxation

The MBA with a speciality in Taxation attracts highly experienced industry professors that usually hold the CPA designation and have a terminal degree in the subject matter. They are not just academics but industry influencers. Most of them have worked at one of the Big 4 accounting firms or have started their own accounting practice. While doing so, they also pursued their doctorate in Accounting, Taxation, or Management. Almost all business professors have at least their MBA. There is a direct correlation between a quality MBA program and the number of full-time MBA faculty. The average MBA program has 103 full-time faculty members compared to 128 part-time professors. The average number of professors with doctorate degrees is 84 for on-campus programs compared to 84 for online MBA programs.

Campus Faculty Numbers

Online Faculty Numbers

List of Campus and Online Taxation MBA Programs

  • The number of on-campus MBA Taxation concentrations offered: 48
  • The number of online MBA Taxation concentrations offered: 24

The number of traditional on-campus MBA in Taxation programs is 48. The number of online programs is 24. The AACSB is the accrediting board that holds Business Schools to high standards – giving them the stamp of approval for educational quality. There are certainly plenty of MBA programs that aren’t AACSB accredited but for those who want an internationally recognized credential, you should stick to the less than 5% of the more than 16,000 schools worldwide that carry this highly respected designation. If you plan on sitting for the CPA exam, the accounting coursework taken at an AACSB-accredited B-School will satisfy the educational requirements to sit for the exam in your state.

 

If you notice any errors in the MBA program database, please contact us.

About Michael J. Marquis

Michael J. Marquis is a Portland, Maine-based freelance copywriter and MBA-graduate who loves writing about disruptive technology. When he's not exploring interesting parts of the world, you can find him at either Gillette Stadium watching his beloved New England Patriots or at a local Portland coffee shop working on his next copywriting assignment. Feel free to find Mike on Twitter @MarquisInteract.