Career Options With a Master’s in Tax Law

Taxation law is a highly specialized field that deals with the complex rules and regulations surrounding the collection and payment of taxes.

It requires a deep understanding of tax law and regulations, as well as an ability to provide expert guidance and advice to individuals, businesses, organizations and accounting firms.

While accountants are responsible for helping people and businesses file their taxes, professionals with tax law backgrounds play a critical role in helping them navigate the complexities of the tax system.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in tax law, you’ll need to be prepared for in-depth study and research on topics like tax codes, tax policy, and tax compliance.

You’ll also need to be able to communicate complex legal concepts to your clients in a clear and concise manner, and be able to provide them with practical solutions that are tailored to their specific needs.

A career in taxation law can be incredibly rewarding, offering a wide range of opportunities to work with diverse clients and tackle complex legal issues.

Whether you’re interested in working in private practice, for a government agency, or in-house for a corporation, a background in tax law can open up a world of exciting career possibilities.

So if you’re looking for a career that combines your interest in law with a desire to help others navigate the often-confusing world of taxes, a career in taxation law may be just what you’re looking for.

Career Options With a Master’s in Tax Law

The American Bar Association breaks down tax career path specialties:

  • Corporate tax
  • U.S. international tax
  • Partnership tax
  • State and local tax
  • Estate and gift tax
  • Individual income tax
  • Tax-exempt organizations
  • Employee benefits and executive compensation tax issues

Types of Master’s Degrees in Tax Law

There are two primary types of master’s degrees in tax law that you should consider if you are interested in this field: a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in taxation and a Master of Legal Studies (MLS) in taxation. These degrees concentrate on the legal aspects of taxes, rather than the accounting aspects, which are covered in degrees such as a Master of Accountancy, Master of Science in accounting, or MBA in accounting.

Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation

The degree of Master of Laws (LL.M.) in taxation is designed for legal professionals who already hold a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from a recognized law school. This degree equips them with specialized skills in the field of taxation. Those who have completed their law school education and wish to specialize in taxation can benefit from an LL.M. in taxation. The program usually takes a year for full-time students to complete.

Master of Legal Studies (MLS) in Taxation

A Master of Legal Studies (MLS) in taxation degree is a specialized program that does not require applicants to hold a J.D. degree. This degree is designed for individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree and want to gain specialized legal skills in tax law without having to go to law school.

The courses offered in an MLS program are typically similar to those taken by first-year J.D. students. In an MLS in taxation program, students will learn taxation-specific skills related to research and writing, contracts, civil procedure, and other law-related topics that are crucial in taxation professions. It usually takes a full year to complete the MLS in taxation program when students attend full-time.

If you want to explore more programs, we have compiled a list of master’s in taxation to help you compare and find the right one for you.

Tax Law vs. Tax Accounting

The focus area of taxes is common to both tax law and tax accounting professionals, but the specific duties of each profession differ. Tax law professionals are equipped with the knowledge and authority to deal with legal tax entities. They may work with individuals or businesses who are facing liens and levies or owe back taxes. Tax law professionals represent clients who are in conflict with legal authorities or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They specialize in dispute resolution and tax controversy. On the other hand, tax accounting professionals are well-versed in tax preparation for individuals or businesses, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) – accountants and auditors. They prepare and file tax returns and help their clients minimize tax liability while maximizing federal tax benefits. Finally, if you’re considering a career in taxation with a master’s degree, here are some options to explore.

Top Careers With LL.M. in Taxation and Salaries

Career paths in taxation are diverse and depend on your educational background and experience. One way to potentially increase your earning potential in this field is to obtain a master’s degree in taxation. Graduates holding an LL.M. degree have a professional degree and may be able to earn more than someone with just a master’s degree. According to a 2019 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on “Unemployment Rates and Earnings by Educational Attainment,” those with a professional degree had a median weekly income of $1,497, compared to $1,248 for those with just a master’s degree. This represents a difference of more than $10,000 per year.

Tax Attorney

Tax attorneys provide legal representation to clients who are facing situations involving business ownership and lawsuits related to the IRS. They assist business owners in setting up business entities and conducting international business. Tax attorneys also work with clients who are being investigated by the IRS or who wish to seek an independent review of a U.S. Tax Court case. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2019, the median pay for lawyers was $122,960 per year.

Estate Planning Lawyer or Advisor

Estate planning lawyers and advisors are professionals who specialize in tax law related to estate planning. They assist clients in organizing and safeguarding their assets in the event of their incapacity or death. Estate planning attorneys can draft last wills and testaments, as well as create living trusts. They also assist clients in dealing with estate taxes.

Tax Consultant at Accounting Firm

Tax consultants are professionals who keep themselves up-to-date with the latest tax laws, planning, and compliance. They work in collaboration with accounting firms to ensure that their clients receive accurate information and services from accountants. Tax consultants conduct thorough research on tax laws, help clients minimize their tax liability, explain tax issues, and ensure that their clients comply with tax laws.

According to the Economic Research Institute (ERI), tax consultants earn an average annual salary of $63,089 as of March 2020.

Financial Product Advisor

Financial product advisors are professionals who assist clients in making informed decisions regarding investments, retirement, taxes, estate planning, insurance, mortgages, college savings, and other financial matters. They conduct discussions with clients to understand their financial objectives and recommend appropriate financial services to help them achieve those goals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median pay for personal financial advisors in 2019 was $87,850 per year.

Department of Justice Tax Lawyer

There are tax professionals who opt to work with the federal government by becoming a tax lawyer in the Department of Justice. These lawyers represent the IRS by initiating tax-related lawsuits against businesses and individuals. They also protect the federal government when lawsuits are filed against it.

Top Careers With MLS in Taxation and Salaries

Those with an MLS in taxation have diverse career paths that may overlap with those who have an LL.M. in taxation, but some paths are entirely different.

Tax Consultant

Tax consultants, also known as tax advisors, are professionals in financial planning, tax law and tax returns. They help their clients make cost-effective financial decisions by providing financial-related counseling.


Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are responsible for preparing and examining financial records to ensure their accuracy. They also ensure that taxes are paid on time and accurately, and that financial statements comply with all applicable laws and regulations. In addition, they assess financial operations and provide recommendations on best practices. CPAs may also help businesses and individuals identify ways to reduce costs, increase revenue, and improve profits. As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for accountants in 2019 was $70,500 per year.

M&A Consultant

An M&A consultant is an expert who focuses on mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Their primary role is to provide counsel on corporate mergers, divestitures, and acquisitions. They may offer suggestions on equity and debt financing, and help in negotiating purchase and sale agreements and other deal-related agreements. Additionally, they can assist in resolving transaction issues throughout the M&A process.

Tax Specialist Government Contractor

Tax specialists who work for the government are responsible for completing tax-related work for public agencies. These specialists are often awarded contracts through a bidding process and are required to deliver the necessary work according to the terms of the contract. Government contracts for tax specialists can be quite diverse, offering a range of opportunities to work on varied and interesting projects throughout their careers.

International Tax Professional

International tax professionals provide assistance to individuals and businesses operating in the global market. Their primary responsibility is to ensure that their clients comply with the tax laws and regulations of the countries in which they operate. This involves accurate preparation and filing of tax returns, as well as providing guidance on tax planning and minimizing tax liabilities. The expertise of international tax professionals is critical in helping their clients navigate the complex and ever-changing landscape of international taxation.

Chief Financial Officer/Financial Manager

Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are responsible for creating strategies and policies to help businesses and organizations achieve their financial goals. They are the top-level financial controllers in organizations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median pay for chief executives was $184,460 per year in 2019.

Financial managers are also responsible for the financial health of an organization, but they typically report to the CFO. While CFOs are in key leadership roles, financial managers produce financial reports, monitor financial details, and supervise other financial employees. They assist executives in making financial decisions. The BLS reports that the median pay for financial managers was $129,890 per year in 2019.

Is tax law a good career option?

In today’s complex financial landscape, taxes are an inevitable part of our lives. As a result, the need for professionals who can accurately explain and navigate tax laws is always in demand. If you have a knack for solving complex problems, enjoy being an expert in your field, and have a natural curiosity for the world of finance, then a career in tax law might be the perfect fit for you.

As a tax professional, you’ll be responsible for helping individuals and businesses navigate the complex and ever-changing tax laws and regulations. This will require a deep understanding of tax law, as well as the ability to communicate complex information in a simple and easy-to-understand way.

Your work will involve a range of activities, including preparing tax returns, advising clients on tax planning strategies, helping businesses structure transactions to minimize tax liability, and representing clients in disputes with tax authorities.

While a career in tax law can be challenging, it can also be highly rewarding. You’ll have the opportunity to work with a diverse range of clients, from individuals to large corporations, and help them navigate the complex world of taxes. You’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that your work is making a positive impact on people’s lives by helping them save money and avoid costly mistakes.

What Careers are Available to Me?

There are several career options available for you in the field of taxation. These include certified public accountant (CPA), certified management accountant (CMA), tax associate, auditor, tax collector, industry manager, tax examiner, or revenue agent. You can work for individuals, corporations, or the government. Your expertise in navigating complex taxation laws can prove very beneficial in a career with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Will I Need to Become Certified & Licensed?

In order to work as a CPA or CMA, you will need to obtain professional certification and a state license. To be eligible for licensure, most states require you to have a college education beyond the bachelor’s level. As part of their licensing procedures, most states use the examination offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) ( Additionally, the Association for Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business (IMA) provides CMA certification for finance professionals, including those in taxation (

What Kind of Salary Can I Earn?

When it comes to salaries, they can vary depending on the career you choose. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, tax collectors and revenue agents made an average salary of $62,040 in 2020, with those working in the federal government earning $70,150 per year. For financial managers, also known as CMAs, the annual salary was $151,510. CPAs and auditors, on the other hand, earned around $81,660 annually.