Master of Science in Taxation (MST) Program

Overview

The Master of Science in Taxation (M.S.T.) program is an independent study graduate degree program specifically designed for certified public accountants and other tax professionals. The Program presents current and focused information necessary to perform tax planning activities and work and advance in tax related career areas. Using many of the same reference materials found in the offices of tax professionals, the MST program provides the conceptual understanding and technical competence advantageous for advancement in the tax consulting profession, corporate finance departments, and government tax agencies.

Consistent with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Statement on Standards for Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Programs, the University recommends fifteen CPE credits (hours) be awarded for each Semester unit completed. Generally a grade report reflecting the completion of the course is sufficient documentation. If requested by an accountancy board an official transcript will be provided at no cost. CPE credits are earned at the time a course is completed. While we are unaware of any Taft University student being denied CPE credit for courses in this Program, state boards of accountancy have the final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit.

With respect to continuing education credit for IRS Enrolled Agents and Other Tax Return Preparers, courses within the Program also meet the standards of Treasury Department Circular 230.

The objectives of the Program are:

1. To develop the skills necessary to perform tax research, tax planning activities, and advance in tax related career areas.
2. To offer a program of coursework and practical exercises that will impact the effectiveness of its students in performing tax-related activities.
3. To allow for a number of electives, focused on various specialized taxation issues and procedures.
4. To employ faculty who are accomplished in their respective fields from both an academic and practical perspective.

Successful graduates of the Program will demonstrate:

  • Research skills necessary to evaluate and apply current areas of tax law and tax related legal issues relating to business, corporate structure, and individual tax procedures and strategies.
  • A solid foundation of understanding of the laws pertaining to tax procedure and how the IRS interprets/applies those laws.
  • Techniques for analyzing and resolving taxation issues, including identifying problems, researching and locating relevant law, and applying the legal rules to facts to arrive at conclusions.
  • The ability to effectively communicate tax research to clients and the community of tax professionals, and make appropriate recommendations based on sound reasoning and analysis.

The University acts to fulfill the purposes of the MST Program through appropriate coursework, coupled with continuing direction, evaluation of student progress, and regular assessment of student learning outcomes, supervised and administered by qualified faculty.

The Program is presented on a semester basis. Students are generally enrolled in 9 – 12 units per semester. Each Semester consists of a minimum time period of 16 weeks from the date study commences. Students not completing all Semester coursework in the 16-week period will be granted an automatic 2 month extension of time to complete the semester. Students may take a leave-of-absence between Semesters. However, except in special circumstances, the entire degree program (3 semesters) must be completed within 5 years.

Testimonial

 

“When I decided to pursue a Master of Science in Taxation with Taft University I had been a practicing CPA for in excess of thirty years (with extensive emphasis on taxation including estate/gift/ corporate/partnership/ personal), but wanted to brush up on some tax areas that I did not have much exposure to as well as improve my credentialing and otherwise refreshing my skills. Because I am the managing partner in our firm, my client and work responsibilities are significant and I was unsure whether or not I could undertake the task of completing all the course work. Further, I wondered if the “distant learning” or “self-study” concept of education would benefit me or if it might be too easy considering my current skill level.

My experience was very good. The staff at the University gave me every consideration over the five years including, at times, granting me extensions to complete work due to personal issues. Although I thought the course work might be below my level of expertise, I must admit that it was extremely thorough and even challenging at times.

I would (and have) recommended Taft to anyone that is willing to commit their efforts and time to obtaining a Master of Science in Taxation. The course work is relevant, extensive and will certainly expand and improve any CPA’s current level of expertise.”

Robert D. Hoag, CPA (managing partner, R. D. Hoag & Associates, PC, Pittsburgh, PA).

Presentation

The University’s Directed Independent Study modality recognizes that education is an individual process where individuals with different learning needs and study schedules can be accommodated. It emphasizes learning that is meaningful, where individuals enjoy the learning process, and acquire knowledge to better understand and manage their own careers.

The Program’s Faculty Members support the student’s independent-study learning role by guiding and stimulating the learning process through meaningful feedback on assignments and one-on-one interaction. Our faculty mentors recognize individual learning styles and needs, and emphasize the relevance of the material to the individual’s situation.

Each course in the Program contains a series of lesson assignments generally consisting of reading requirements and research projects. Students are evaluated through examinations and/or research assignments which are submitted for faculty evaluation.

All assignments are submitted electronically. As set forth in the University’s General Catalog, Internet access and minimum computer requirements and skills are required as a condition of admittance.

Curriculum

To earn the Master of Science in Taxation (M.S.T.) degree, a student must complete the courses outlined below with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00. The requirements may be completed in as little as twelve months, and must be completed within five years from the date of initial enrollment.

First Semester

TAX521

Tax Research Techniques

3 units

TAX502

Federal Income Tax Aspects of Organizing & Operating Corporations

3 units

TAX524

Taxation of Partnerships

4 units

Second Semester

TAX510

IRS Practice and Procedure

3 units

Electives – Choose 2-3 courses from the elective options listed under the Third Semester below:

6-9 units

Third Semester

Electives – Choose 3-4 courses from the elective options below:

TAX503

Federal Income Tax Aspects of Corporate Reorganizations

3 units

TAX535

Taxation of Real Estate

3 units

TAX526

Estate Taxation and Planning

3 units

TAX507

Income Taxation of Estates and Trusts

3 units

TAX508

Federal Income Taxation of Individuals

3 units

TAX509

Fundamentals of International Taxation

3 units

TAX511

Tax Fraud and Evasion

3 units

TAX513

Taxation of Subchapter S Corporations

3 units

TAX514

Taxation of Exempt Organizations

3 units

TAX515

Individual Retirement Plans and Distributions

3 units

TAX516

Taxation of Executive Compensation

3 units

TAX517

Tax Aspects of Charitable Giving

3 units

TAX523

Directed Tax Research

1 to 2 units

Minimum Total Semester Units Required for Graduation: 30 

Admission Policies and Requirements

Applicants who have earned a bachelor’s or first professional degree from a college or university accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education and have a minimum of three years occupational experience in accounting or taxation may apply to the Program. The majority of applicants to this Program are mature adults working in a variety of professional settings. Many have not attended college for several years. Consequently, prior class rank and grade point average are not significant factors in the admission process.

An applicant may be conditionally admitted into the Program based on a completed Application for Admission, receipt of the $75.00 Application Fee, student copies of transcripts reflecting the applicant’s highest relevant degree, and documentation of the applicant’s professional work experience.

It is not necessary to submit official transcripts at the time of application. (However, official transcripts must be received by the University within 60 days of enrollment. The University provides students with a form which may be used for this purpose.)

Should additional information be required the applicant will be contacted.

All payments must be payable in U.S. dollars. Payments may be made by MasterCard®, Visa®, American Express® or Discover®.

Foreign Applicants and Applicants with International Credentials

It may be necessary for applicants who have attended colleges or universities outside of the United States to obtain an evaluation of their education from a credential evaluation service approved by the University. Upon request, the Admissions Office will provide a list of approved evaluators. In addition, applicants whose native language is not English and who have not earned a degree from an appropriately accredited institution where English is the principal language of instruction must receive a minimum score of 530 on the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or 71 on the iBT, or its equivalent.

For more information on TOEFL visit the website: www.ets.org/toefl

Transfer Credit

The acceptance of transfer credits between academic institutions lies within the discretion of the receiving college or university. Credits earned at William Howard Taft University may or may not be accepted by another institution depending upon its own programs, policies, and regulations.

The University is committed to providing students the greatest opportunity to apply previously earned credit toward their chosen degree program. Subject to the limitations of state and accreditation regulations and academic comparability, students may apply to have credit awarded for postsecondary courses completed by the student at other institutions if such courses are found to meet the standards and requirements of the specific program. Transfer credit must be from an appropriately accredited institution. MST students may apply to transfer up to a total of 15 units of Transfer Credit however, the courses considered for transfer must be equivalent in both content and degree level, and must have been earned within the last three years. No credit may be awarded for experiential learning (Portfolio Credit) in this program.

Credit transfer will not be denied solely on the source of accreditation of the sending institution.

Financial Information

The tuition for the Program is $445.00 per unit. Tuition rates are “locked” for two years at the time of matriculation. An enrolled student will be protected from future tuition increases during this period of time.

Current information on financial aid is set forth on the University’s website. Enrollment in the Program will generally qualify students for payment deferrals on existing federally insured student loans. Applicants seeking deferrals on existing student loans should check with their lenders prior to enrollment. Additional information on financial aid and tuition financing can be found under Tuition, Financial Aid and Financing.

The cost of books and materials, other than each course syllabus, is not included in the tuition. The University does not sell books or materials. Most books and materials may be purchased directly from publishers or over the Internet. The cost is estimated to average approximately $150.00 per course. Students are always provided with a source for acquiring all required materials.

FEE SCHEDULE

Application Fee

$75

Transfer Credit Evaluation Fee

$55

Registration Fee (Per Semester)

$50

Graduation Check/Diploma Fee

$75

Computer Library Fee (Per Semester)

$45

Administrative Accounting Fee (Per Semester)
(Installment Payment Option Only)

$25

Transcript Fee (Two Provided at No Cost)

$10

Late Payment Fee 
(Returned Check/Declined Credit Card/ACH) (Per Item)

$25

How to Enroll

If the applicant is accepted for admission to the Program, a formal enrollment agreement will be prepared and sent to the applicant for review and signature. Students may elect to begin the Program on the 15th of any month. All payments submitted for tuition and fees must be payable in U.S. dollars. Payments may be made by MasterCard® / Visa® / American Express® or Discover®.

Applicants are encouraged to call the Admissions Office if there are any questions regarding enrollment procedures.

Course Descriptions

  • TAX502 Federal Income Tax Aspects of Organizing and Operating Corporations (3 Units)
  • TAX503 Federal Income Tax Aspects of Corporate Reorganizations (3 Units)
  • TAX507 Income Taxation of Estates and Trusts (3 Units)
  • TAX508 Federal Income Taxation of Individuals (3 Units)
  • TAX509 Fundamentals of International Taxation (3 Units)
  • TAX510 IRS Practice and Procedure (3 Units)
  • TAX511 Tax Fraud and Evasion (3 Units)
  • TAX513 Taxation of Subchapter S Corporations (3 Units)
  • TAX514 Taxation of Exempt Organizations (3 Units)
  • TAX515 Individual Retirement Plans and Distributions (3 Units)
  • TAX516 Taxation of Executive Compensation (3 Units)
  • TAX517 Tax Aspects of Charitable Giving (3 Units)
  • TAX521 Tax Research Techniques (3 Units)
  • TAX523 Directed Tax Research (1-2 Units)
  • TAX524 Taxation of Partnerships (4 Units)
  • TAX526 Estate Taxation and Planning (3 Units)
  • TAX535 Taxation of Real Estate (3 Units)

TAX502 Federal Income Tax Aspects of Organizing and Operating Corporations (3 Units)

A study of federal income tax aspects of organizing and operating corporations. Subjects covered include the organization of a corporation under Section 351, the corporation’s capital structure, corporate elections under Subchapter “S”, dividends, and non-liquidating distributions.
Prerequisites: None.

TAX503 Federal Income Tax Aspects of Corporate Reorganizations (3 Units)

Continuing the study of corporations, this course studies every major aspect of the tax ramifications of restructuring the corporation including stock redemptions, partial liquidations, preferred stock bailouts, complete liquidations, collapsible corporations, and Section 368 reorganizations.
Prerequisites: First Semester courses.

TAX507 Income Taxation of Estates and Trusts (3 Units)

A complete study of Subchapter “J” of the Internal Revenue Code, including a detailed analysis of such topics as computations of taxable income of an estate or trust and tax treatment of beneficiaries.
Prerequisites: First Semester courses.

TAX508 Federal Income Taxation of Individuals (3 Units)

This course deals with federal income taxation as it impacts individuals including the definition of gross income, business and personal deductions, sales and exchanges of property, alternative minimum tax, operating losses, tax shelter deductions, taxation of capital gains & losses and tax accounting issues.
Prerequisites: First Semester courses.

TAX509 Fundamentals of International Taxation (3 Units)

This course provides an introduction to international taxation and provides a general overview of the U.S. system of taxing the foreign income of its citizens and the U.S. income of non-citizens. It also addresses foundations of taxation in international law, fiscal residence of companies, rules for determining income and expenses, and tax incentives in developing countries.
Prerequisites: First Semester courses.

TAX510 IRS Practice and Procedure (3 Units)

This course studies the entire range of tax procedure and IRS practice, including a full analysis of the laws pertaining to tax procedure and how the IRS interprets and applies those laws. Complete descriptions of how the IRS operates and suggested techniques for representing clients with specific IRS problems are also covered.
Prerequisites: First Semester courses.

TAX511 Tax Fraud and Evasion (3 Units)

Designed to assist attorneys and tax professionals advising on potential fraud situations, this course includes discussions of tax evasion versus tax avoidance, investigation and processing of potential criminal fraud, compromise procedures, civil penalties, and contesting the deficiency assessment.
Prerequisites: First Semester courses.

TAX513 Taxation of Subchapter S Corporations (3 Units)

The objective of this course is to provide students with the skills necessary to determine compliance requirements, tax planning opportunities and potential pitfalls for corporations electing to be taxed under Subchapter S of the Internal Revenue Code.
Prerequisites: First Semester courses.

TAX514 Taxation of Exempt Organizations (3 Units)

The objective of this course is to provide students with the skills necessary to determine compliance requirements, tax planning opportunities and potential pitfalls for organization claiming exemption from federal income tax.
Prerequisites: First Semester courses.

TAX515 Individual Retirement Plans and Distributions (3 Units)

The objective of this course is to provide students with the skills necessary to determine compliance requirements, tax planning opportunities and potential pitfalls for taxpayers who own individual retirement plan (IRA) accounts.
Prerequisites: First Semester courses.

TAX516 Taxation of Executive Compensation (3 Units)

The objective of this course is to provide students with the skills necessary to determine compliance requirements, tax planning opportunities and potential pitfalls related to compensation plans of business executives.
Prerequisites: First Semester courses.

TAX517 Tax Aspects of Charitable Giving (3 Units)

The objective of this course is to provide students with the skills necessary to determine compliance requirements, tax planning opportunities and potential pitfalls related to charitable giving. The course will provide you with an in-depth analysis of income, estate, and gift tax issues affecting donations to charity.
Prerequisites: First Semester courses.

TAX521 Tax Research Techniques (3 Units)

This course serves as the introduction to the Program and as a comprehensive guide to tax research techniques. The text uses specific examples and a step-by-step approach that will instruct the student on how to obtain the facts, ask the right questions, locate and assess pertinent authority, and communicate tax-saving options to clients.
Prerequisites: None.

TAX523 Directed Tax Research (1-2 Units)

This course requires the student write a comprehensive brief (research paper) based on hypothetical facts. This course consists of an independent tax research project prepared under the supervision of a faculty member. The topic is selected by the student subject to the approval of the University. It has a value of 1 to 2 semester units.
Prerequisites: None.

TAX524 Taxation of Partnerships (4 Units)

A complete study of Subchapter “K” including defining partnerships and partners for tax purposes, receipt of a partnership interest, liabilities, tax accounting for partnerships, distributive shares, terminations, and tax shelters.
Prerequisites: None.

TAX526 Estate Taxation and Planning (3 Units)

In addition to comprehensive coverage of federal estate and gift taxation, this course also covers practical matters such as probate, trusts, and joint tenancy.
Prerequisites: First Semester courses.

TAX535 Taxation of Real Estate (3 Units)

Subject matters in this course include complete coverage of federal income tax implications of all types of real estate transactions, from house closings to sale-leasebacks and syndications. Also covered are real estate tax planning ideas, techniques, and strategies.
Prerequisites: First Semester courses.

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