Master of Science in Taxation

The Gonzaga Master of Science in Taxation (MSTax) program is designed to equip students with a strong technical skill set, enhanced communication skills, and a framework with which to approach the complex problems and issues faced by taxpayers in today’s global economy. Significant emphasis is placed on issue identification, problem solving, and tax planning. The program also seeks to assist students in the preparation for the CPA examination.

Current Gonzaga undergraduate accounting majors may apply for the MSTax program during the second semester of their junior year. If accepted into the program, they may take up to nine credits of graduate-level courses during their senior year with the permission of their graduate advisor. Before applying for admission, students should have completed 75 credit hours (including ACCT 360) with a cumulative GPA of 3.20 and have earned at least a C+ in each upper-division accounting course. Students must be admitted to the MSTax program before enrolling in any graduate-level class.

Foundation Courses

The foundation (pre-requisite) courses for the MSTax degree include both business and accounting courses. In addition to the business foundation courses required for the MBA degree, specific accounting foundation courses include the following:

  • MACC 560 Intermediate Accounting I
  • MACC 561 Intermediate Accounting II
  • MACC 563 Cost Accounting
  • MACC 565 Federal Taxation
  • MACC 564 Auditing

Degree Requirements

A total of thirty-one (31) credits of graduate coursework is required for the Master of Science in Taxation degree. Students must maintain a 3.00 or better grade point average in order to progress through and to graduate from the program.

MTAX 600 Orientation Workshop 0 credit
One of the following two courses:  2 credits
  MTAX 601 Advanced EXCEL   
  MTAX 611 Introduction to Analytics for Accounting  
MTAX 603 Financial Accounting for Income Taxes 3 credits
MTAX 604 C Corporation Taxation 2 credits
MTAX 605 Partnership Taxation 3 credits
MTAX 606 Wealth Transfer Taxation 2 credits
MTAX 607 Taxation of Property Transactions 3 credits
MTAX 608 State & Local Tax Concepts 1 credit
MTAX 610 International Taxation 2 credits
MTAX 614 S Corporation Taxation 1 credit
MTAX 616 Income Tax of Estates and Trusts 1 credit
MTAX 620 Tax Planning for Business Transactions 3 credits
MTAX 621 Tax Periods & Methods 1 credit
MTAX 661 Professional Writing Workshop 1 credit
MTAX 664 Professional Ethics 2 credits
MTAX 667 Tax Research & Practice 2 credits
Tax Electives* 2 credits

*Electives must be approved by the graduate advisor

MTAX 600 Orientation
.00 credits
This zero credit Orientation is held one evening per semester just prior to the start of classes. It must be taken during the student's first semester in either the Master of Accountancy or Master of Business Administration programs. Topics include an orientation to the Graduate School of Business programs, University facilities available to students, team-building, communications, and case analysis. Fall, Spring, and Summer.
MTAX 601 Advanced EXCEL
2.00 credits
Students in this course will learn to harness the full power of Excel to become more effective and efficient users in the context of solving a wide variety of business and non-business problems. Students will develop expertise in the use of advanced formula techniques and sophisticated lookups.
MTAX 603 Financial Acct for IncomeTaxes
3.00 credits
Audit professionals are frequently called upon to review the income tax accrual contained in audit work papers. This course focuses on the basic and some of the more common complexities encountered in accounting for income taxes under ASC Topic 740, Income Taxes.
MTAX 604 C Corporation Taxation
2.00 credits
This course explores the federal taxation of subchapter C corporations, including the tax consequences of corporate formation, operations, distributions, liquidations and tax-free reorganizations.
MTAX 614
MTAX 605 Partnership Taxation
3.00 credits
This course deals with the federal Income tax fundamentals of partnership and limited liability company taxation. The course covers formation of, operation of, and distribution from partnership and LLC’s, and provides contrast to the problems associated with corporate operations.
MTAX 606 Wealth Transfer Taxation
2.00 credits
This course explores the taxation of gratuitous transfers of wealth during life and at death, including the federal estate, gift and generation skiping transfer taxes.
MTAX 607 Taxation of Property Trans
3.00 credits
This course will survey several important areas related to the federal income taxation of property transactions. Emphasis will be on federal income tax treatment of sales and other dispositions of property, including deferred payment sales and non-recognition transactions. Potential specific topics include depreciation, the effect of debt on basis and amount realized calculations, characterization, limitations on loss allowances, like kind exchanges, involuntary conversions, installment sales and leasing.
MTAX 608 State & Local Tax Concepts
1.00 credit
This course focuses on the basics of state income taxes, property taxes, and other state and local taxes, with an emphasis on the state of Washington tax structure. In addition, the effect of state and local taxes on multi-state operations is discussed.
MTAX 610 International Tax Concepts
2.00 credits
This course covers the basics of the taxation of foreign income of U.S. citizens and corporations, and of U.S. source income of foreign persons and corporations. In addition, there is discussion of planning for organization of foreign operations under the tax laws.
MTAX 611 Intro to Analytics for Acct
2.00 credits
A study of the role of big data and analytics in business, accounting practices in particular. The course includes coverage of the theory and practice of data visualization, statistical methods, analytical models, and an introduction to software tools and applicable programming languages to facilitate the analysis of data.
MTAX 612 Tax Theory
2.00 credits
This course examines some of the key tax doctrines and concepts that underpin the taxation of businesses and individuals, as well as the court cases that created them. Emphasis will be on how those concepts and theories affect taxpayers today.
MTAX 613 IRS Practice & Procedure
2.00 credits
This course studies a wide range of tax procedure and IRS practice, including an analysis of the laws pertaining to tax procedure an how the IRS interprets and applies those laws. The course will include descriptions of how the IRS operates. Suggested techniques for representing clients before the IRS are also presented.
MTAX 614 S Corporation Taxation
1.00 credit
This course explores the federal taxation of subchapter S corporations and shareholders.
MTAX 604
MTAX 616 Income Tax of Estates & Trusts
1.00 credit
This course explores the federal income taxation of estates and trusts, including the fundamentals of fiduciary accounting.
MTAX 606
MTAX 620 Tax Plans for Business Trans
3.00 credits
This course examines the tax and business planning aspects of taxable and nontaxable transfers of businesses and real estate. Particular attention will be given to planning whether to use asset sales or stock sales, structuring financing for acquisitions and techniques for compensating investors. The course will also explore the taxation of partnerships, S corporations and limited liability companies and their special application to corporate and real estate acquisitions.
MTAX 621 Tax Periods & Methods
1.00 credit
This course examines timing issues related to the Federal income tax, including adoption of the changes in accounting periods, cash and accrual methods of accounting, tax consequences of changing from one method of accounting to another, installment methods of accounting, time value of money issues (original issue discount), the Uniform Capitalization Rules, and accounting for long-term contracts.
MTAX 661 Professional Writing Workshop
1.00 credit
This course will emphasize the fundamentals of business writing in a professional accounting environment.
MTAX 664 Professional Ethics
2.00 credits
This course examines the literature of general and business ethics as well as codes developed specifically for practicing accountants. Attention is given to challenges faced by accounting professionals in both public and corporate practice. Case studies are used extensively to challenge and sensitize students to the issues they are likely to encounter in practice; various methods of understanding and solving ethical dilemmas are considered.
MTAX 667 Tax Research & Practice
2.00 credits
This course encompasses a study of tax research methodology, tax policy, and tax practice. Topic areas include various tax research techniques, tax administration and professional responsibilities, as well as international taxation.
MTAX 685 Federal Tax Clinic
2.00 credits
The Federal Tax Clinic course offers students an exciting opportunity to become engaged in federal tax controversies involving the Internal Revenue Service and in the United States Tax Court. Students represent low-income clients in IRS examination and collection matters, including audits, offers in compromise, penalty abatements, innocent spouse claims, appeals, Tax Court cases, etc. Through case work and clinic experience, the students will have the opportunity to develop and refine skills in client interviewing, negotiations, research and advocacy. Fall, Spring, Summer.
MTAX 690 Directed Study
1.00- 3.00 credits
Directed Study requires permission of program director. Zagweb registration is not available. Summer only.
MTAX 697 Internship
.00- 3.00 credits
Relevant work experience is required that is commensurate with a student's professional interests. Guidelines and criteria are available from the School of Business Administration Internship Director.
MTAX 699 Special Topics
.00- 3.00 credits
Topic to be determined by department.

In addition to their major and minor areas of study, all undergraduate students follow a common program designed to complete their education in those areas that the University considers essential for a Catholic, Jesuit, liberal, and humanistic education. The University Core Curriculum consists of forty-five credits of course work, with additional designation requirements that can be met through core, major, or elective courses.

The University Core Curriculum is a four-year program, organized around one overarching question, which is progressively addressed through yearly themes and questions. Hence, core courses are best taken within the year for which they are designated. First year core courses encourage intellectual engagement and provide a broad foundation of fundamental skills. Second and third year courses examine central issues and questions in philosophy and religious studies. The fourth year course, the Core Integration Seminar, offers a culminating core experience. Taken at any time throughout the four years, broadening courses intersect with the core themes and extend students’ appreciation for the humanities, arts, and social and behavioral sciences. Finally, the designation requirements (writing enriched, global studies, and social justice) reflect important values and reinforce students’ knowledge and competencies.

Overarching Core Question: As students of a Catholic, Jesuit, and Humanistic University, how do we educate ourselves to become women and men for a more just and humane global community?
Year 1 Theme and Question: Understanding and Creating: How do we pursue knowledge and cultivate understanding?

  • The First-Year Seminar (DEPT 193, 3 credits): The First-Year Seminar (FYS), taken in the fall or spring of the first year, is designed to promote an intellectual shift in students as they transition to college academic life. Each small seminar is organized around an engaging topic, which students explore from multiple perspectives. The FYS is offered by many departments across the University (click here [PDF] for list of FYS courses).  
  • Writing (ENGL 101, 3 credits) and Reasoning (PHIL 101, 3 credits): The Writing and Reasoning courses are designed to help students develop the foundational skills of critical reading, thinking, analysis, and writing. They may be taken as linked sections. Writing (ENGL 101) carries one of the three required writing-enriched designations (see below).
  • Communication & Speech (COMM 100, 3 credits): This course introduces students to interpersonal and small group communication and requires the application of critical thinking, reasoning, and research skills necessary to organize, write, and present several speeches.
  • Scientific Inquiry (BIOL 104/104L, CHEM 104/104L, or PHYS 104/104L, 3 credits): This course explores the scientific process in the natural world through evidence-based logic and includes significant laboratory experience. Students pursuing majors that require science courses will satisfy this requirement through their major.
  • Mathematics (above Math 100, 3 credits): Mathematics courses promote thinking according to the modes of the discipline—abstractly, symbolically, logically, and computationally. One course in mathematics, above Math 100, including any math course required for a major or minor, will fulfill this requirement. MATH 100 (College Algebra) and courses without the MATH prefix do not fulfill this requirement.

Year 2 Theme and Question: Being and Becoming: Who are we and what does it mean to be human?

  • Philosophy of Human Nature (PHIL 201, 3 credits): This course provides students with a philosophical study of key figures, theories, and intellectual traditions that contribute to understanding the human condition; the meaning and dignity of human life; and the human relationship to ultimate reality.
  • Christianity and Catholic Traditions (RELI, 3 credits). Religious Studies core courses approved for this requirement explore diverse topics including Christian scriptures, history, theology, and practices as well as major contributions from the Catholic intellectual and theological traditions (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses) .

Year 3 Theme and Question: Caring and Doing: What principles characterize a well lived life?

  • Ethics (PHIL 301 or RELI, 3 credits): The Ethics courses are designed to help students develop their moral imagination by exploring and explaining the reasons humans should care about the needs and interests of others. This requirement is satisfied by an approved ethics course in either Philosophy (PHIL 301) or Religious Studies (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
  • World/Comparative Religion (RELI, 3 credits): Religious Studies courses approved for this core requirement draw attention to the diversity that exists within and among traditions and encourage students to bring critical, analytical thinking to bear on the traditions and questions considered. These courses carries one of the required two global-studies designations (see below) (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).

Year 4 Theme and Question: Imagining the Possible: What is our role in the world?” 

  • Core Integration Seminar (DEPT 432, 3 credits). The Core Integration Seminar (CIS) offers students a culminating core experience in which they integrate the principles of Jesuit education, prior components of the core, and their disciplinary expertise. Some CIS courses may also count toward a student’s major or minor. The CIS is offered by several departments across the University (click here [PDF] for list of CIS courses).

The Broadening Courses

  • Fine Arts & Design (VART, MUSC, THEA, 3 credits): Arts courses explore multiple ways the human experience can be expressed through creativity, including across different cultures and societies. One approved course in fine arts, music, theatre, or dance will fulfill this requirement (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
  • History (HIST, 3 credits): History courses are intended to develop students’ awareness of the historical context of both the individual and the collective human experience. One course in History (HIST 101, HIST 102, HIST 112, HIST 201, HIST 202) will fulfill this requirement.
  • Literature (3 credits): Literature courses foster reflection on how literature engages with a range of human experience. One approved course in Literature (offered by English, Classics, or Modern Languages) will fulfill this requirement (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
  • Social & Behavioral Sciences (3 credits): Courses in the social and behavioral sciences engage students in studying human behavior, social systems, and social issues. One approved course offered by Criminal Justice, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, or Women and Gender Studies will fulfill this requirement (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).

The Designations
Designations are embedded within already existing core, major, minor, and elective courses. Students are encouraged to meet designation requirements within elective courses as their schedule allows; however, with careful planning students should be able to complete most of the designation requirements within other core, major, or minor courses.

  • Writing Enriched (WE; 3 courses meeting this designation): Courses carrying the WE designation are designed to promote the humanistic and Jesuit pedagogical ideal of clear, effective communication. In addition to the required core course, Writing (ENGL 101), which carries one of the WE designations, students must take two other WE-designated courses (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
  • Global-Studies (GS; 2 courses meeting this designation): Courses carrying the GS designation are designed to challenge students to perceive and understand human diversity by exploring diversity within a context of constantly changing global systems. In addition to the required core course, World/Comparative Religion (RELI 300-level), which carries one of the GS designations, students must take one other GS-designated course (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).
  • Social-Justice (SJ; 1 course meeting this designation): Courses carrying the SJ designation are designed to introduce students to one or more social justice concerns. Students must take one course that meets the SJ designation (click here [PDF] for a list of approved courses).

Major-specific adaptations to the University Core Curriculum

All Gonzaga students, regardless of their major, will complete the University Core Curriculum requirements. However some Gonzaga students will satisfy certain core requirements through major-specific programs or courses. Any major-specific adaptations to the core are described with the requirements for the majors to which they apply.