MS in Accounting With a Tax Compliance and Planning Degree Emphasis

Master of Science in Accounting with an Emphasis in Tax Compliance and Planning

Offered By: Colangelo College of Business

The Master of Science in Accounting with an Emphasis in Tax Compliance and Planning degree at Grand Canyon University (GCU) is an advanced degree that enhances theoretical and practical accounting skills for Certified Public Accountant (CPA) candidates.

This master’s in tax accounting emphasis program prepares you to take and successfully pass the CPA exam by teaching you material covered in the CPA Discipline of Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP). As a tax accounting degree emphasis student, you will enhance your understanding of tax compliance, research and planning techniques while applying skills in accounting, taxation and auditing.

Reinforce Your Foundations With Advanced Tax Accounting Theories and Practical Skills

In this master’s in tax accounting emphasis program, you will strengthen your foundation of knowledge of critical accounting and taxation principles while working to build on and further your learning. You will work to master course topics including:

  • Research in accounting
  • Data analytics
  • Corporate taxes
  • Flow-through entities
  • CPA preparation (tax core, auditing and accounting information systems core, business analysis and reporting discipline)
  • Financial planning for individuals and business owners

This tax compliance and planning degree emphasis at GCU prepares you to become a high-level taxation and accounting professional by providing you with the expertise you need to successfully pass the CPA exam and further your career in the field of taxation.

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Benefits of Earning Your Tax Accounting Degree Emphasis

By completing a degree at GCU’s Colangelo College of Business, you’ll be learning material that is guided by an emphasis on conscious capitalism, a Christian worldview and our three guiding pillars: servant leadership, ethics and entrepreneurism.

This master’s in tax accounting also concludes with a capstone course. This capstone course summarizes the entirety of your degree program and gives you the opportunity to show what you’ve learned by completing a capstone project. In this project, you will review concepts and scenarios that are frequently found on the CPA exam.

In addition to the evening option, the master’s in tax accounting emphasis program at GCU is offered online. Being an online student at GCU means that you have access to online resources, support and flexibility while receiving a high-quality education. Online learning at GCU provides you with everything you need to successfully incorporate your studies into your life, so you can earn your degree without sacrificing what’s important to you.

Career Paths With an MS in Accounting and Tax Compliance Degree Emphasis

Graduates of the master’s in tax accounting degree emphasis program enhance their understanding of theoretical and practical accounting, preparing them to take the CPA exam.

Tax accounting degree graduates may go on to explore jobs such as:

  • Accountants and auditors
  • Budget analysts
  • Financial examiners
  • Tax preparers
  • Tax examiners and collectors and revenue agents

By covering two main competencies — CPA core and tax compliance and planning — graduates feel prepared to work in the tax practitioner, public accounting practitioner, research and education fields.

Master’s in Tax Accounting Degree Emphasis FAQs

If you’re considering earning your master’s in tax compliance emphasis degree, read through our frequently asked questions to learn more about degree specifics and what is needed for a career in taxation.

There are many concepts to learn and skills to master to become a successful tax professional, which can indeed be challenging and time-consuming. However, as with any master’s-level program, if you are dedicated to advancing your career and committed to your studies, a tax accounting degree can be a rewarding next step in your career.

At minimum, tax-related careers such as that of a tax accountant require a bachelor’s in an accounting-related field. However, those who wish to earn their CPA license can choose to advance their education and enroll in a master’s in tax accounting program to help prepare for the exam. Candidates can then take the CPA exam to obtain licensure and advance their career in taxation.

The type of degree that is best for you depends on your career aspirations. Compared to a finance degree, a tax compliance and planning degree (as well as other tax accounting degrees) provides a more specialized knowledge base, focusing on specific accounting practices, principles, regulations and strategies.

A finance degree is broader and includes course materials that cover theoretical financial knowledge, financial analysis and reporting, along with general courses in business, statistics and economics to provide you with a diverse base of knowledge of the financial industry.

Tax accountants’ duties require a variety of skills, and they must also have the knowledge needed to accurately file taxes and work with clients to increase their savings.

Necessary skills to become a tax accountant include:

  • Effective communication skills
  • Interpersonal and customer service skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Advanced knowledge of tax laws and regulations
  • Proficiency in math and accounting

Tax accounting can be a fulfilling career for those who are well-versed in the management of financial records and who enjoy problem-solving and working with data. This career path can be financially rewarding as well. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants and auditors had a median annual wage of $77,250 in May 2021.1

TOTAL CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 34
Online: 8 weeks
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TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
TUITION RATE:
Online: $640 per credit [More Info]

1 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Accountants and Auditors as of May 2021, retrieved Feb. 23, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as accountants and auditors. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, and accept employment from, determines salary not only based on education, but also individual characteristics and skills and fit to that organization (among other categories) against a pool of candidates.

Course List

Major:
34 credits
Degree Requirements:
34 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the College of Business. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

This course provides students with applied research experience using electronic databases to determine proper application of GAAP, IASs, and IFRSs to practical situations. Students develop the skills needed to access accounting and auditing rules and regulations, company financial statements, and related industry data used for analyzing financial statements.

Course Description

This course explores advanced data analytics techniques frequently used in public accounting. Students apply financial data analytics methods that are commonly tested on the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam: Business Analysis and Reporting (BAR) Discipline.

Course Description

This course is a review of concepts frequently tested on the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam: Auditing and Accounting Information Systems Core (AUD). Students reinforce concepts learned in undergraduate work and apply them by completing questions and simulations similar to those found on the Uniform CPA Exam.

Course Description

This course is a study of the theory and practices of accounting for income taxes of corporations, and not-for-profit entities and state taxation. In addition, students explore advanced tax planning concepts, including acquisitions and consolidated financial statements for tax compliance. Prerequisite: ACC-614.

Course Description

This course is a review of concepts frequently tested on the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam: Accounting and Data Analytics Core (ACC). Students reinforce concepts learned in undergraduate work and apply them by completing questions and simulations similar to those found on the Uniform CPA Exam.

Course Description

This course is a study of the theory and practices of accounting for income taxes of flow-through entities. In addition, students explore advanced tax planning concepts, including joint ventures and tax research. Prerequisite: ACC-669.

Course Description

This course is a review of concepts frequently tested on the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam: Regulation and Taxation Core (REG). Students reinforce concepts learned in undergraduate work and apply them by completing questions and simulations similar to those found on the Uniform CPA Exam.

Course Description

This course is a study of the theory and practices of financial planning for individuals and business owners. In addition, students explore advanced tax planning concepts, including estate, gift, and trust taxation. Prerequisite: ACC-614.

Course Description

This course is a review of concepts frequently tested on the Uniform Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam: Tax Compliance and Planning (TCP). Students reinforce concepts learned in prior graduate work and apply them by completing questions and simulations similar to those found on the Uniform CPA Exam. Prerequisites: ACC-669, ACC-661, and ACC-663.

Program Locations

GCU Online Student


Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student


Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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