As a tax attorney, you’ll work to ensure that clients understand the tax implications of business and personal transactions, maximizing tax savings in a manner that is ethical and complies with the tax laws. The knowledge you’ll gain and skill sets you’ll develop in our program will make you an invaluable resource, not only to law firms but to government agencies, accounting firms and businesses of all types. You’ll study the structure of the current income tax system and become familiar with statutes, regulations, case law and legislative history, and apply them to tax planning and tax controversies. You’ll also consider the importance of tax policy and ethics.
While studying the nuances of tax law, you can put your skills into practice in our Tax Clinic — the oldest continuously operating clinic of its kind in the country — or through an externship with a judge, tax attorney or the Internal Revenue Service, or by assisting community residents with income tax preparation through our Tax Law Society’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.
Curriculum and Requirements
To receive the certificate for this concentration, you must earn 21 Tax Credits (consisting of 18 credits in tax course work and 3 credits of clinical/externship work) and meet all of the other concentration requirements. In addition, you must take Federal Income Tax as one of your core electives. Credits for Federal Income Tax do not count toward the 21-credit concentration requirement, but the grade in this prerequisite does count toward the GPA requirement for honors.
Required Course Work
In addition to Federal Income Tax (credits for which do not count toward the 21-credit requirement), you must take at least 18 credits from the following lists of courses, all of which count toward the 21-credit requirement for the concentration.
At least 12 of the credits used for the concentration must come from the following list of “Tax Courses.” (Note: not all of these courses are offered every year.)
- Advanced Corporate Tax
- Advanced Individual Income Tax
- Business Planning
- Employee Benefits
- Estate and Gift Tax
- Financial Planning
- International Tax
- Non-Profit Organizations
- State and Local Tax
- Taxation of Business Enterprises
- Tax Policy
- Tax Procedure
- Tax Research
- Independent Research with tax emphasis (with written approval of concentration Director and supervising professor)
Up to 6 credits used for the concentration may come from the following list. (Note: not all of these courses are offered every year.)
- Advanced Family Law
- Business Organizations
- Corporate Finance
- Family Law
- International Business Transactions
- Mergers and Acquisitions
- Real Estate Transactions
- Trusts and Estates
At least 3 credits must be earned through participation in the Tax Clinic and/or externship placement approved by the concentration director. No more than 3 credits count toward the 21-credit requirement for the concentration, except with permission of the concentration director in consultation with the director of the clinic or externship. The director of the clinic may waive IRC as a requirement for the Tax Clinic. If a student does enroll in IRC, credits for it will not count toward the clinical requirement.
If a student meets this requirement through an externship placement, the seminar portion of the externship does not count toward the 3 required clinical credits. If a student meets this requirement through the Tax Clinic, one credit of the seminar portion of the externship counts toward the 3 required clinical credits.
The concentration director may waive the clinical requirement if the student has substantial tax law work experience. If the concentration director waives the clinical requirement, the student must earn additional credits in Tax Courses (or any related courses specifically allowed by the concentration director) in order to qualify for the concentration.
A student must write a substantial paper - or a series of shorter writings that together comprise a substantial amount of written work - on a topic or topics related to tax. (If a student writes a substantial paper, the student may use that paper to satisfy the law school's advanced writing requirement, provided that the work meets the guidelines for the advanced writing requirement as set forth in the academic catalog.) The topic or topics for the written work used to satisfy this requirement must be approved by the concentration director. A paper written for a journal may qualify, if the topic is approved by the concentration director.