The LL.M. in Taxation is awarded to those entering the program with a J.D. degree or equivalent. To graduate, students must earn 30 credits in tax courses (10 to 12 classes) with a cumulative grade point average of 3.000 or better. All requirements must be completed within five years of enrollment. The program's rich and extensive curriculum is described below.
Individuals may receive credit towards the LL.M. in Tax for certain courses taken in J.D. programs:
Candidates for the LL.M. in Taxation can concurrently achieve a Certificate in Estate Planning. This option allows attorneys who wish to concentrate in estate planning the opportunity to receive the additional credential at no additional cost.
The program's curriculum consists of the following required courses (totaling 21 credits)
Basic concepts in federal income taxation, including gross income, exclusions, adjusted gross income, deductions, exemptions, credits, assignment of income, identification of the taxpayer, tax rates, depreciation, and the alternative minimum tax.
*Fundamentals of Federal Income Tax I is a prerequisite for all other tax courses except Tax Research and Writing. (In the fall semester only, Fundamentals of Federal Income Tax I is a prerequisite or corequisite for Tax Research and Writing.) Fundamentals of Federal Income Taxation I typically is offered fall semester only. Students who do not begin their course work in the fall semester may take courses during spring and summer terms without meeting this prerequisite requirement, with the approval of the program director. Students must take Fundamentals of Federal Income Tax I at the earliest opportunity. Completing Tax Research and Writing, as well as Fundamentals of Federal Income Tax II, early in the program is recommended highly.
Research and writing projects on federal tax subjects with analysis and instruction in tax research techniques, materials, and methodology. Students prepare legal memoranda.
*Fundamentals of Federal Income Tax I is a prerequisite for all other tax courses except Tax Research and Writing. (In the fall semester only, Fundamentals of Federal Income Tax I is a prerequisite or corequisite for Tax Research and Writing.) Fundamentals of Federal Income Taxation I typically is offered fall semester only. Students who do not begin their course work fall semester may take courses during spring and summer terms without meeting this prerequisite requirement, with the approval of the program director. Students must take Fundamentals of Federal Income Tax I at the earliest opportunity. Completing Tax Research and Writing, as well as Fundamentals of Federal Income Tax II, early in the program is recommended highly.
Federal income taxation of corporations and their shareholders with emphasis on the formation of the corporation, capital structure, operational alternatives, distributions, partial and complete liquidations, personal holding companies, and the accumulated earnings tax. Formation, operation, and liquidation of S-corporations also are covered.
Continuation of basic tax concepts including cash and accrual methods, capital gains and losses, 1231 transactions, recpature, original issue discount and imputed interest, below-market loans, installment sales, like kind exchanges, involuntary conversions, the at-risk rules, and passive loss rules.
Problems encountered in the formation, operation, and liquidation of a partnership including the acquisition of partnership interests, compensation of the service partner, the treatment of partnership distributions, and problems associated with the disposition of partnership interests or property by sale.
Study of the evolution and structure of the federal income tax system from a public policy perspective with a focus on legal, economic, social, and practical considerations. Alternatives, including current legislative proposals, are considered. Students prepare a paper on a tax policy issue approved by the professor.
Aspects of practice before the Internal Revenue Service, including ruling requests, handling of audits, assessment of deficiencies and penalties, closing agreements, tax liens, statutes of limitations, claims for refunds, appeals conferences and practice before the U.S. Tax Court, U.S. district courts, Claims Court, and appellate courts. Also includes analysis of the problems encountered in parallel civil and criminal proceedings, problems involving government investigatory powers, and taxpayer rights and privileges.
In addition, students are required to take one or more of the following electives (totaling 9 credits):
Building on the foundation provided by Qualified Pension and Profit-sharing Plans, this in-depth examination of defined contribution and defined benefit plans includes current IRS positions; final, proposed and temporary regulations; and developing case law. Tax sheltered annuities are considered. Additional prerequisite: Qualified Pension and Profit-sharing Plans.
Analysis of the effect of income taxes on real estate transactions; a comparison of the various entities used for the ownership and development of real estate; real estate syndications, basis and basis adjustments; alternative financing techniques such as the sale-leaseback; depreciation, amortization, and obsolescence; passive activity and at-risk rules; and REITS. Additional prerequisite: Fundamentals of Federal Income Taxation II.
An introduction to the basics of bankruptcy law and creditors' rights and analysis of tax issues that arise.
An integrated study of the impact of tax, securities, corporate law, and partnership law on business transactions. Topics include selection of the form of business enterprise, acquisitions and dispositions of business interests, and professional responsibility issues. Students prepare writing projects relating to the course material. Additional prerequisites: Corporate Taxation; Partnership Taxation.
Analysis of the techniques used by multiple, related corporations to report income and losses. Detailed examination of the consolidated income tax regulations and consideration of other problems encountered by affiliated groups of corporations. Additional prerequisite: Corporate Taxation.
Analysis of the tax treatment of corporations and shareholders in corporate acquisitions, divisions, reincorporations, and recapitalizations, including a discussion of section 338. Review of the net operating loss carryover and collapsible corporation rules. Additional prerequisite: Corporate Taxation.
Basic principles of federal estate and gift taxation, including computation of the taxable estate, inter vivos transfers, transfers in contemplation of death, transfers with retained interests or powers, joint interests, life insurance proceeds, property subject to powers of appointment, the marital deduction, and the unified credit.
Methods of disposing of estates by will, life insurance, inter vivos arrangements, and consideration of resulting tax and administrative problems. Course also focuses on gathering and analyzing facts in the planning and drafting of trusts, wills, and related documents. Additional prerequisite: Estate and Gift Taxation.
Methods of providing tax-free and tax-deferred compensation to employees, including section 83 tax planning, stock option tax planning, incentive compensation arrangements, and methods of funding nonqualified plans.
A workshop course that examines the process of formulating and enacting federal tax legislation, as well as areas ripe for current federal tax legislative proposals; these areas may include income tax rates, capital gains taxation, tax expenditures, and the federal estate tax. Students will engage in drafting and other exercises that simulate the process of creating such legislation from the standpoint of staffers on Congressional committees.
Analysis of the federal income tax provisions applying to US inbound and outbound transactions and investments. Course covers US resident status, source-of-income rules, graduated tax on effectively connected income, withholding tax on FDAP income, branch profits tax, FIRPTA, tax treaties, foreign tax credit, foreign earned income exclusion, subpart F, and transfer pricing.
Federal income taxation of decedents' estates, simple and complex trusts, charitable trusts and grantor trusts. Course covers the preparation of fiduciary income tax returns with emphasis on unique tax issues such as income in respect of a decedent, distributable net income and fiduciary accounting.
Students may study an area of particular interest to them, not covered in a significant way elsewhere in the program, via an independent study. To qualify, students must submit a written proposal and obtain the consent of a faculty member who supervises the project. The proposal must be approved by the supervising faculty member and the program director.
Study of the basic financial building blocks (equity, debt, options, notional principal contracts and forward contracts) and their various combinations. Financial equivalencies among traditional and derivative instruments that are taxed under widely varying tax regimes. Use of financial instruments to change the timing, character and source of income. Gaps in existing law, possible future tax regimes and emerging financial products. Fundamentals of Federal Income Taxation II is strongly recommended.
An introduction to pension and profit-sharing law with particular emphasis on Title 2 (IRS) of ERISA. The course is geared toward understanding all of the pension and profit-sharing rules that must be met for plan qualification, with emphasis on qualified plan planning for both incorporated and unincorporated forms of business.
Federal income taxation of S-corporations and their shareholders with emphasis on the creation of the S-corporation, capital structure, operational alternatives, distributions, and liquidations.
This course will explore federal constitutional and statutory limitations on state authority to tax a multistate business. Specific topics will include the Commerce Clause, sales and use tax nexus, and PL 86-272 limitations on state income taxation. In addition, the course will cover apportionment of income derived from a multistate business and combined versus separate entity reporting. Maryland state and local taxation also will be examined briefly.
Analysis of provisions relating to the qualification for exemption from federal income tax, with emphasis on section 501(c)(3) organizations, private foundations, and the treatment of unrelated business income.
Welfare benefit plans are employer-sponsored plans that provide employees with benefits other than pension and retirement plans and deferred compensation. Welfare benefit plans include life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance, vacation pay, severance pay, educational reimbursement, group legal services, and dependent assistance care plans. Course focuses on federal income tax requirements for various welfare benefit plans, including fringe benefits and health care continuation coverage under COBRA. Examination of the income tax consequences to employers who sponsor, and employees who participate in, welfare benefit plans. Discussion of the various mechanisms for offering welfare benefit plans, such as cafeteria plans under section 125 and VEBAs under section 501(c)(9).