As the name suggests, taxation law refers to the regulations and safeguards surrounding compulsory levies imposed upon people by the state. Postgraduate study assists law and business graduates in navigating these often-complicated waters by providing numerous units in all its nuances. Students are able to learn anything from how capital gains tax works to international taxation in China.
Taxation has a history practically as old as civilisation. Rulers have always required sound taxation policies to fund public works and services. Too stringent and the populace revolts; too lax and the coffers dry up. It took the financial genius of Caesar Augustus to demonstrate sound tax policy in the ancient world, with most leaders from the following centuries failing to compare.
Nowadays, taxation law is highly established. Modern tax lawyers operate within a system whose architecture is immaculate by comparison.
Like many legal professions, taxation law is for those with a love for clearly defined rules and the logic that governs their use. It’s for those with a strong sense of order, requiring excellent attention to detail and diligence. If you have these passions and qualities, taxation law could well be for you.
Taxation law can be taken up to master level, with graduate certificates and diplomas also being available.
Graduate certificates provide an entry-level knowledge of the field. They take six months of full time study to complete, or up to one year part time. They’re offered by institutions like UNSW to students from a select few disciplines, such as business and law. Students can expect to learn about the principles of GST law, taxation of superannuation, Australian international tax law and more.
Graduate diplomas are similar, but take one year of full time study or two years part time to complete. The University of Sydney and others tend to offer the same extensive choice of units available within graduate certificates, only more can be selected given the improved length. Some of these units include:
Entry is granted to students from cognate disciplines, or those from extraneous disciplines provided they have at least two years of relevant work experience.
Master’s degrees take two years of full time study to complete, or up to four years part time. In addition to the previous institutions, they’re typically offered by the University of Melbourne to students holding an LLB or JD. Students from cognate disciplines can also enter, provided they have a graduate diploma in the field or two years of relevant work experience. Once admitted, students can expect to learn about tax administration, corporate tax, capital gains tax and associated problems, tax litigation and more depending on interests.
The following are just two of the options available to graduates from these programs.
This is the most prominent method of employment for those holding an LLB or JD in addition to an aforementioned qualification. These professionals assist both public and private clients in navigating the labyrinthine septic tank that is the tax system. Day to day, they acquaint themselves with any new developments in tax codes and assess their implications, work with clients to help them understand their obligations or any number of tasks relevant to the project at hand. As such, it’s a position demanding extraordinary research skills, memory and patience.
Companies are plentiful in this field, with firms like Avanti Lawyers, Baker McKenzie and MMLC Grouprepresenting a wider cohort of potential employers. Turning potential into reality can be perilous in regard to law however; our article on getting employed with a JD, which is applicable to aspiring tax lawyers, could be of use.
These professionals aid clients in meeting financial goals, whether it be the process of affording a new house, funding for a future child’s university education or something entirely different. Taxation law graduates could find themselves in this role due to their proficiency with one of the most prominent financial institutions in existence: the government. Granted, entry into this position will undoubtedly require some modicum of additional financial training, but it’s nevertheless worth considering.
Companies like Hewison Private Wealth would make marvellous employers later on in a financial advisory career, with large firms like Deloitte, KPMG and PwC offering tremendous amounts of graduate employment opportunities.
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