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LLM (Master of Laws) in Taxation Law

An LLM course in Tax Law accords the learner a broad perspective of how governments generate and collect revenue. It also looks at the various international legal jurisdictions, gaps, ambiguities, as well as technicalities that could potentially benefit individuals and businesses who want to reduce their tax obligations, offset debts and preserve profits. More recently, the study of Taxation Law has been broadened to include subjects like corruption, money laundering, fraud, offshore tax ‘havens’ use and misuse, and ties to international crime.

Master of Laws in Tax Law take into consideration diverse aspects of how relevant legislation is formulated and enforced, how it reflects social and economic changes on a national and global scale. Laws on taxation change quickly, and are often quite extremely intricate, challenging to interpret and apply, demanding a sharp grasp of detail.

Obviously the course emphasis in different countries continents will differ largely based on where you are taking your LLM. However, they generally cover issues that touch on tax avoidance, tax control, corporate taxes (such as corporate mergers) and financial regulation on matters like money laundering and offshore jurisdictions. Taxation Law LLMs are often taught through classroom lectures, seminars and tutorials falling under the Commercial Law programs. 

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Number crunching an LLM in Taxation Law

Taxation Law1 year full-time study 

2 years part-time study

30+ US law schools offering LLM in Taxation Law

12,000–15,000 word dissertation

LLM in Taxation Law – who’s it for?

This is a globally recognised postgraduate degree in law, usually obtained through completing a 1-year full-time program. Professionals and law students pursue this course to gain proficiency in a specialised law field such as international law or tax law.

Lots of law firms show a preference for job candidates coming with an LLM degree as it proves that the job seeker has acquired specialised and advanced legal training, qualified to work in a legal environment that is multinational.

Where can you study an LLM in Taxation Law?

In the UK, institutions specialising in LLM in taxation law include University College London, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), King’s College London, London School of Economics, and both Cambridge and Oxford Universities.

At Maastricht University in The Netherlands, learners study international tax planning and corporate taxation, and Lund University in Sweden offers a Masters in European and International Tax Law.

In the United States the Graduate Tax Program at the NYU has been recognised nationally and internationally for producing some of the brightest tax practitioners for over 70 years. Another highly rated institution in the US offering taxation education is Georgetown University in Washington DC, while the University of Florida (Levin) is not only highly rated but also one of the least expensive in the US.

What qualifications are required to study an LLM in Taxation Law?

Those wishing to study an LLM in Taxation Law will in most cases be required to first obtain a professional basic degree in law such as the Juris Doctor (J.D.) in the US or Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in the UK. Some institutions that offer the course also consider students that have expertise in a specific law area or different educational backgrounds for their LLM program, so it is worth checking what the requirements are for the law school you wish to attend. Students who are not native English speakers will also have to provide proof of their English skills. Usually, a 6.5–7.0 IELTS score or its equivalent is needed for admission. Due to constant changes, it’s advisable for international students to check regularly with the concerned learning institution for the necessary requirements. Most individual institutions offer assistance to student queries about specific language requirements.

An LLM in Taxation Law advances careers in…

  • Public accounting firms
  • Legal arms of government
  • Tax Court judicial clerkships.
  • Investment Banking
  • Compliance
  • Large corporations

5 fascinating facts about LLM in Taxation Law

1. In the US, the 20% richest citizens pay the most in income taxes, contributing to almost 87% of all the income tax that is collected by the government.

2. The richest 10% of Americans pay 53.3% percent of all US federal taxes.

3. Did you know that in the continent of Asia, Japan has the 5th highest taxes? It has a total tax rate of over 50%.

4. In Africa, the country with the highest total tax rate is Algeria.

5. According to India’s income data, in 2013, only about 1% percent of the nation’s population paid income tax.

Recommended reading

International Taxation Handbook by Greg N Gregoriou and Colin Read 

The Economics of Taxation by S James and C Nobes

European Tax Law by B Terra and P Wattel

International Tax Primer by B Arnold and M McIntyre

Comparative Tax Law by Victor Thuronyi

Global Perspectives on Income Taxation Law by Avi-Yonah, Sartori and Marian

Comparative Income Taxation: A Structural Analysis by Ault and Arnold

Tax Policy for Developing Countries by Tanzi and Zee


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