Emphasis in Taxation

For students wishing a deeper focus in taxation, we offer the Master of Accounting degree with an Emphasis in Taxation. To graduate with this formal recognition, a student is required to take 9 credits of tax courses beyond the introductory level (Introduction to Taxation or its equivalent). Three of these credits must be taken in the fall semester as Advanced Federal Taxation.

Advanced Federal Taxation

3 credits

To provide the accountant and the manager with the ability to recognize tax factors that influence business decisions and to integrate them into the business decision-making process. This will include the development of a tax foundation, the ability to read and apply the Code and Regulations, the ability to conduct tax research using both online and offline tax research data bases, the ability to engage in effective tax planning, and the ability to present the identified tax consequences in both oral and written presentations. Ethical influences will be identified and discussed as related to taxation and the related business decision.

Additional credits are acquired in the Spring semester and students can choose from:
Taxation and Business Strategy

3 credits

This economics-based course provides a conceptual framework for understanding tax issues in the context of business decisions and business strategy. Students learn about the role of taxes throughout the firm's life cycle: choice of organizational form, employee compensation, investment opportunities, capital structure and dividend policy, financial innovations, international operations, and business combinations. The key conceptual components include:

  1. Consideration of the tax implications for all parties to the transaction
  2. Consideration of both explicit and implicit taxes, such as lower before-tax rates of return on tax-favored investments
  3. Consideration of both tax and non-tax costs.

Ultimately, the course provides a useful framework for thinking about taxes in all tax regimes (i.e., across countries and over time).

Estate and Financial Planning

3 credits

This course provides an introduction to the principles of estate and financial planning, with an emphasis on tax planning opportunities. Topics include a study of the estate and gift tax laws, effective use of trusts and life insurance, valuation techniques, integrated family tax and financial planning, succession planning for the closely-held business, and elections available to taxpayers. Also featured are debt management, retirement planning and investment planning, with an emphasis on issues facing both younger professionals as well as high net worth individuals.

Tax Research and Current Tax Topics

3 credits

Expands and integrates knowledge of domestic and international tax topics in a rigorous research-based study of U.S. tax law, tax planning and tax compliance, including contemporary topics such as comparative form of doing business, compensation and benefits, international and multistate taxation, corporate reorganizations, and tax exempt entities. Incorporates relevant academic research, as well as statutory and case-based research into tax laws and regulations related to contemporary tax issues.

State and Local Taxation

(offered in conjunction with the Law School)

The State and Local Taxation course considers taxation imposed by states and local governments in a variety of contexts including the taxing of income, sales and use, property, and business licenses. This course will benefit students entering either a tax practice or a general business practice. Topics to be covered in the course will include: the key elements of the major business taxes and individual state income tax; the constitutional restrictions applicable to the taxation of interstate businesses; the handling of audits; and the conduct of administrative and judicial appeals. The course will use Virginia's tax system as an illustrative model for issues that are common to most jurisdictions. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their class participation and on a series of written assignments including administrative protests of hypothetical audit assessments and initial court pleadings.

Partnership & LLC Taxation

(offered in conjunction with the Law School)

This course examines the fundamental rules governing the federal income taxation of partnerships, including LLCs treated as partnerships for income tax purposes. An overview of S corporation taxation and federal income tax issues to consider in choosing the appropriate entity are also covered.

Taxation of Mergers and Acquisitions

(offered in conjunction with the Law School)

Selected Problems in the Taxation of Mergers & Acquisitions. This advanced focuses primarily on corporate transactions and by using a series of examples, this course will explore different ways to structure both nontaxable combinations of business entities considering the tax goals and consequences of such transactions, and the role of the tax lawyer in representing a party to a business combination.

Please note that not all electives are offered in each year or every semester. It is possible that in some years appropriate courses may be offered in the Law School that would qualify for the Emphasis in Taxation.