Posted Aug. 3, 2019
Taxation law is not all about advising large corporations and international businesses on their tax affairs.
In reality it actually involves all sorts of people and apart from the end of the financial year, the hours tend towards being very life-friendly. It's also an extremely stable area of the law, as there has been written Taxation Law in England since the 13th Century and Taxation Law has been around since Ancient Egypt in 3000BC.
An LLM in Taxation Law is an advanced law degree that typically takes one year to complete, although many law schools now provide the flexibility of a part-time graduate program that would take two years. Part-time programs allow employed individuals to continue to work while obtaining the degree, and in some cases the employer may fund the academic fees and permit time off work to study and attend classes.
LLM in Taxation Law programs are proliferating throughout the world and are beginning to include online programs from reputable law schools in the USA such as NYU and Georgetown. Some LLM Taxation Law programs involve only course work, whereas others are oriented to research and require a thesis to complete the degree. Programs that require a thesis may take longer to complete.
6 reasons to study an LLM in Taxation Law
Here are six simple reasons why you should consider studying an LLM in Taxation Law.
1. Help people
Good tax advice can change a family-owned company's future prospects and keep business trading during hard times. Bad advice will impact on people's mental and physical health along with damaging their businesses and reputations. By focussing on Taxation Law you can make a big difference in how an organisation will conduct its business and help keep people in employment in your community. By helping individuals keep their tax affairs efficient you'll be allowing people to enjoy their retirement safe in the knowledge that they will have enough to see them through to the end of their lives or to help their own families if need be.
2. Job stability
Taxation Law is always changing and developing, and the advice of Taxation Law specialists is required by almost all people and organisations at some point. Poor tax advice can impact on individuals as well as on corporations’ reputations and international standing, so lawyers focussing on tax advice are always going to be needed. In England, there have been written laws to do with taxation since 1215 and the Magna Carta, so by focusing on Tax Law, you will be sure that there is a long heritage of offering legal tax advice.
3. Good work-life balance
Apart from the end the financial year when accounts for tax purposes are due, most lawyers focusing on Taxation Law have a work day that matches most other offices rather than some of the more unreasonably long office hours that some lawyers are expected to keep.
4. Decent salary
Depending on where you are based and how long you have been working within Taxation Law it tends to be a well paid area of work. You can expect to earn between $107,996 to $146,664 in the US after you have gained some experience. In London a lawyer focusing on Corporate Tax Law can expect to earn around £100,000 after 10 years.
5. Lots of variety
Everyone needs tax advice and if you specialise in Taxation Law you will find yourself working with all sorts of people. One day you may be helping wealthy individuals and the next it could be someone needing a little tax advice on their pension or life savings. You need plenty of other skills to succeed in the area of Taxation Law, it won’t be enough to just be good with numbers, you must be able to easily get along with lots of different types of people.
6. Opportunity for further specialisation
There are numerous further areas of specialisation for those focusing on Taxation Law; Corporate Law, Inheritance Tax Law, International Tax Law and Mergers and Acquisitions all involve lawyers who have started by specialising in Taxation Law and then focussing further.
LLM in Taxation study modules
The categories of taxation law generally available in an LLM program are: general tax practice; corporate taxation; international taxation; pass-through entities; tax controversies and procedures; employee benefits; estate and succession planning; tax-exempt organisations; tax policy; intellectual property; and local tax laws.
The choice of specific elective courses depends on whether or not specialisation is ultimately going to prove beneficial. An experienced law practitioner may wish to acquire an in-depth knowledge of a particular field whereas a recent graduate without a position may want to widen the horizon with a more generalized degree.
Most individuals graduating with an LLM in Taxation Law will find career opportunities in private practice law firms. Public accounting firms and government or judicial clerkships in tax courts also absorb recent graduates. Depending on the pre-law academic background, specialised in-house positions are available in large corporations, management consulting firms, and investment banking. With more people chasing fewer positions, it is best for recent graduates to broaden their horizons geographically and include a range of topics in the degree. Good choices for specific topics include international tax law and controversy tax, but this will vary with the market. The prestige of the law school will always make a difference in employment opportunities. However, if a person has good local job prospects, then an LLM from a regional law school is a cost-effective option.
Mid-career law practitioners wishing to make a lateral move from a litigation practice to a tax practice, or to transition to another kind of employer, such as law firm to an in-house tax specialist, can benefit from an LLM in Taxation Law. Other advantages of a Tax LLM are greater opportunities for promotion and enhanced work skills.
Even if the intention is not to practice law, there are other sound reasons for considering an LLM in Taxation. For example, an overview of international tax laws will enhance the résumé of an international business administrator or accountant. Another reason for considering a generalised LLM in Taxation Law is if the individual wishes to enter academia in a teaching or research capacity.
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