Tax law is relevant to a wide variety of legal matters, from corporate transactions to divorce negotiations to criminal prosecutions. At the federal level, the tax law is the primary means by which the government attempts to influence behavior in order to achieve public policy objectives, whether by encouraging individuals to donate money to charity, purchase health insurance or even ride public transportation to work. The basic Income Taxation course features a deep exploration of statutory law and examines why legislators drafted particular provisions of the tax law the way they did and whether they achieved their intended policy objectives. In order to take advantage of the vast tax curriculum at the Law School, the tax faculty strongly recommends that students enroll in Income Taxation during their 1L or 2L year, if possible. Students who desire to study tax further should next enroll in Corporate Tax I & II, which examines the federal income tax treatment of corporations and their shareholders arising from various transactions including transfers to controlled corporations, distributions, redemptions, liquidations, acquisitive and divisive reorganizations.

In selecting from over 50 advanced tax courses offered at the Law School each year, students should consider taking courses within the following areas of tax specialization:

  • Business Tax. In addition to Corporate Tax I & II, students planning to work on transactional matters at a corporate law firm or a major accounting firm should enroll in Partnership Tax and either International Taxation I, II and/or III or Survey of International Taxation.
  • Government/Policy. All students who plan to pursue a career in tax law may benefit from taking one of several tax policy offerings, including the Tax Policy ColloquiumTax and Social Policy Seminar and/or the Federal Budget Policy and Process Seminar. Students who are interested in serving in government, working at a think tank or pursuing a career in legal academia are strongly encouraged to enroll in one or more of these seminars.  
  • Individuals/Non-Profits. Students who desire to advise individual clients, rather than businesses, should consider enrolling in Estate and Gift TaxationTax-Exempt Organizations, and/or Tax Aspects of Charitable Giving.
  • Tax Controversy. Tax controversy involves the representation of taxpayers, both individuals and businesses, in disputes with the taxing authority (such as the IRS) at the administrative and judicial levels. Students who are drawn more to litigation than transactional work should consider this practice area. Students who are interested in tax controversy should enroll in Survey of Tax ProcedureTax Procedure, and/or Tax Penalties & Prosecutions.