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Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law or Masters of Tax – what to study

When it comes to continuing education in the tax field, there are a few options open to you. Structured education programs not only offer insight into tax-related topics but are also a chance to make connections with other tax aficionados and to gain a qualification as an expert.

Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law or Masters of Tax – what to study
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But which one do you choose? To help you decide, we’ve put together this summary of two common higher education paths: a Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law (Grad Dip) and a Masters of Tax.

What is the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law?

The Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law is a highly practical education program and postgraduate qualification. It delves into various aspects of the Australian taxation system, equipping you with an understanding of how the system is structured and how it functions in various situations. You will be studying alongside developing professionals from some of Australia’s largest professional firms, who have entrusted us to develop their staff from graduates to professionals.  

Through this up-to-date qualification, you’ll gain skills, knowledge and tools you can employ in real-world client situations.

Who is it good for?

  • People not wanting to commit to a full Masters, but wanting the flexibility to utilise their Graduate Diploma as a steppingstone with exemptions
  • Working tax professionals growing their skills and knowledge, who need a flexible study schedule
  • Professionals in the legal, finance or business space interested in making tax a bigger focus in their career
  • People working in the Australian tax industry with non-student visa status or who have trained in tax in another country but are now working in Australia and wanting to update their tax knowledge formally
  • Graduates just getting started in their career

What will I learn?

Key learning outcomes include understanding:

  • How to provide clear and well-reasoned tax advice
  • How to translate complex tax and legal concepts, and their implications
  • How to apply analytical skills and in-depth knowledge of tax law.

The Grad Dip is made up of 3 core subjects and 3 elective subjects which gives you the opportunity to tailor your program, so you can study what makes sense for your career and interests. Depending on which subjects are chosen, the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law may also satisfy the educational requirements for Tax Agent registration with the Tax Practitioners Board. This will additionally give you the ability to apply for your own Tax Agent licence in the future.

Core subjects:

Elective Subjects:

What does it lead to?

A Grad Dip opens many doors in the tax profession by equipping you with skills you need to effectively deal with clients. Some career paths include:

  • Tax Adviser or specialist with accounting or legal firms
  • Regulatory or policy work within government departments such as the ATO and Treasury
  • Financial planning or wealth advisory roles
  • Work as an independent tax practitioner
  • Roles in the Not-for-Profit sector

During your Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law, you’ll complete CTA1 Foundations, CTA2A Advanced and CTA2B Advanced as core subjects, which means you’re just one educational step away from gaining your Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) designation. You can enrol in the final subject, CTA3 Advisory, as a single subject and earn both the Grad Dip and the prestigious Chartered Tax Adviser designation in one efficient study path. However, to enrol into CTA3 Advisory you must have at least 36 months’ relevant Australian tax or tax law experience. 

Plus, if you’re looking at a career in academia or simply want to further your studies, the Graduate Diploma gives you prior learning credit in many Masters of Tax programs.

What is a Master of Taxation?

A Master of Tax, or Master of Taxation, is offered by various universities around Australia, usually as a pathway for students to specialise in tax after a degree in law, economics, business or other related disciplines.

Through this degree, you’ll develop research and analysis skills, to build understanding of and exposure to the Australian taxation system and its components.

Who is it good for?

  • Established tax practitioners with time and funds to support long-term study
  • Those who have completed the Chartered Tax Adviser program and wish to continue studying
  • Tax experts or university graduates looking to build an academic career
  • Some Masters of Tax are skewed towards disciplines such as law or business, depending on the undergraduate paths available at the university. So, if you’re looking for a broader spectrum of subjects it may be the best choice.

What will I learn?

Like the Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law, a Masters of Tax is usually made up of core subjects and electives where you can choose to specialise. Subjects broadly cover topics such as corporate and commercial tax, business taxation, personal tax, financial planning, indirect taxes, and international tax, though the exact subjects on offer will depend on which university you choose.

What does it lead to?

The Master of Taxation leaves you with a high level of specialist knowledge and can be a key step in opening a career in research or academia. Other career options you may choose include:

  • Tax Adviser or specialist with accounting or legal firms
  • Regulatory or policy work within government departments such as the ATO and Treasury
  • Financial planning or wealth advisory roles.

Graduate Diploma vs a Master of Tax– which is the best choice? 

We like to say that there isn’t a best choice, just the choice that’s right for you… your learning style, your lifestyle and your goals. There are advantages and disadvantages to any program and finding the one that best works for you is key to ensuring you not only complete your studies, but that they are practical and applicable to your chosen career.

We asked our dedicated Student Adviser, Tom Reynolds, why our learners choose a Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law, and he said some of the common reasons include:

  • Practical knowledge. The learning outcomes in a Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law are generally more practical compared to a Masters of Tax degree. Some candidates he spoke to found Master of Tax degrees theory-based, which meant they had to seek out more practical learning elsewhere. The Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax includes real-life scenarios and case studies, teaching you to understand tax law, analyse & solve a tax problem and communicate this to a client.
  • Number of subjects and flexible schedule. The Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law is completed in 6 in-depth, practical units. You can study these over 1 – 5 years, and even choose to study a single subject at a time, to ease pressure on your busy schedule. Masters of Tax degrees typically include around 8 subjects. Your study is timed according to the university schedule, which is not always practical if you’re pursuing higher education alongside full-time work.
  • Graduate skillset. Depending on the subjects chosen, the Grad Dip can be used to improve your practical skills to work in a small to medium tax practice and satisfy the educational requirements for Tax Agent registration. A Masters of Tax may not include the subjects to satisfy the educational requirements for registration, however it would improve the skills needed in a large accounting firm or corporate.      

Quick comparison

 

Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law

Master of Taxation*

*Information collected from a sample of select universities and may not reflect details of all similar degrees. Please consider information indicative and correct at the time of publish. Check your preferred institution’s website for latest information.

Offered by

The Tax Institute Higher Education

Various universities, including:

Study mode

Online

Online or on-campus

Length of study

1-2 years part-time You can extend study for up to 5 years and choose to study one subject at a time, to fit with your work schedule.

1 year full-time

2-3.5 years part-time*

*Reduced if exemptions are granted from completing our Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law

Number of subjects

6

8

Cost
(Indicative, based on a full-time total course over 1 year)

$10,140 ($1,690 per subject).

$28,300 – $44,416 *

*Reduced if exemptions are granted from completing our Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law

Admission requirements

  • Must hold an Australian degree or diploma in the field of finance, commerce, business, or law. Recognised degrees from overseas may be considered
  • Meet minimum English language requirements
  • For some subjects one year of documented relevant professional experience is required

We welcome Australian citizens, residents and those working in the Australian tax industry with non-student visa status.

Common admission requirements include:

  • A recognised bachelor degree (or equivalent) in the field of taxation or a related discipline
  • Partial or full completion of a Graduate Diploma in the field of taxation or a related discipline
  • Two years of documented relevant professional experience
  • Meet minimum English language requirements.

Please check requirements for each institution. The above may be required in different combinations with other criteria, and may not apply to all institutions

Shared from the Tax Institute

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