LLM in Taxation Vs. MS in Taxation

Oct 20, 2021

Master of Laws (LLM) in Taxation degree programs are typically for students with a Juris Doctor (JD), while Master of Science (MS) in Taxation degree programs are usually designed for business professionals. Both degree programs offer advanced study in taxation, but vary in some of their requirements. Learn more about each degree program here.

Comparing an LLM in Taxation to an MS in Taxation

Master of Laws in Taxation

LLM in Taxation degree programs are an offered concentration that specifically focuses on the legal issues and policies surrounding taxation. These degree programs are available on-campus and online and in full- and part-time formats. An LLM in Taxation program can usually be completed in 1 to 4 years, and Executive LLM in Taxation degree programs are available. Students in these degree programs may take law courses that cover topics in international taxation, corporate tax, federal income tax, tax law of accounting methods, issues in tax policy and more. Since LLM students have a JD, most graduates work as tax lawyers for law firms, accounting firms, government agencies and other organizations.

Master of Science in Taxation

MS in Taxation degree programs are usually offered through an institution's business school and equip students with a background in tax policy and prepare students wishing to take their Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. These degree programs are also available on-campus or online and in full- and part-time formats. MS in Taxation degree programs are also about 1 to 4 years in length and may offer internship opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience. Students in these programs usually take courses in tax research, tax practice and procedure, taxes for individuals, state and local tax, taxation of estates and more. Graduates with an MS in Taxation usually work as some kind of an accountant, such as a public tax accountant or corporate tax accountant, but may also work as a tax advisor, tax manager, tax technician and other business-related positions.

Common Entrance Requirements

Like many other graduate-level programs, both the LLM in Taxation and MS in Taxation degree programs usually require applicants to submit their official transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement and/or a resume or CV with their application. Applicants to an LLM in Taxation degree program typically need to hold a JD and may need to submit their LSAT scores. Some of these degree programs may require work experience and/or conduct an interview process for applicants. Students applying to MS in Taxation degree programs commonly need to submit their GMAT or GRE scores. Work experience is not usually required for MS students, but may be viewed positively by the admissions review committee for these programs.

An LLM in Taxation and an MS in Taxation are both advanced degrees that explore tax policy, but an LLM prepares students for legal careers, while an MS prepares students for business careers. These degree programs have some overlap in course topics, but the LLM focuses on the legal procedures with taxation, and the MS focuses on the business applications of taxation.

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