Concentrations & Certificates

Tax Law (Concentration)

The Tax Law Concentration is designed to provide each student in the concentration basic education in both general skills and subject-matter specific knowledge and provide each student with an opportunity to bring the entire skill set to bear in a capstone experience designed to teach integrated legal problem-solving. Completion of a concentration should improve the overall preparedness of graduates by conferring entry-level competence to begin practicing law with appropriate supervision in the concentration’s subject matter area or practice setting.

The Tax Law Concentration provides two tracks: Estate Planning and Transactional Tax Planning. Each track is designed to provide students advanced substantive knowledge in federal income tax principles, as well as in-depth knowledge in either the field of estates and trusts or business organizations. Both tracks emphasize skills by teaching students specialized tax research techniques, culminating in the students’ preparation of a request for a private letter ruling to the Internal Revenue Service, and focus on client interviewing and counseling techniques in a substantive tax area, either Corporate Taxation or Partnership Taxation.

Students will:

  • Master the ability to read and interpret complex statutes and regulations;
  • Gain an understanding of how to interview clients and make oral and written presentations to them in a clear and concise manner;
  • Learn how to research the tax consequences of complex transactional and/or estate planning deals;
  • Become familiar with procedural rules governing tax law; and
  • Understand the historical underpinnings of federal tax law and learn how to use that background to formulate tax arguments

Course Requirements

Total Credits Required: 19-21

Required Courses

Credits Required: 8-9

  • Basic Federal Income Taxation (3)
  • Business Organizations for the Transactional Tax Planning Track (3-4)
  • Estates and Trusts for the Estate Planning Track (4)
  • Tax Research (2)

Advanced Tax Electives

Credits Required: 5-6

Students must choose two courses from the following list, and at least one of those courses must be either Corporate Taxation or Partnership Taxation. These two courses will include a client interviewing and counseling component. Students completing the Estate Planning track cannot use Estate Planning and Taxation as one of their two courses, as it will serve as their capstone course.

  • Corporate Taxation (3)
  • Employee Benefits (3)
  • Estate Planning and Taxation (if not taken as capstone) (3)
  • Federal Tax Practice and Procedure (2-3)
  • International Taxation (3)
  • Partnership Taxation (3)
  • Tax Exempt Organizations (2-3)
  • Tax Planning (if not taken as capstone) (3)
  • Tax Policy (3)
  • Taxation of Property Transactions (3)

Track Classes

Credits Required: 2-3

Students must choose one class in either track:

Estate Planning Track

  • Elder Law (3)
  • Fiduciary Administration (2)
  • Will and Trust Drafting (1-3)

Transactional Tax Planning Track

  • Basic Business Principles for Lawyers (3)
  • Contract Drafting (3)
  • Corporate Finance (3)
  • Deal Skills (3)
  • Economics of Transactions and Contracting [Finance 8001] (3)
  • Publicly Held Corporations (3)
  • Securities Regulation (3)

Capstone Course

Credits Required: 3

Tax Planning Seminar (3) for students completing the Transactional Tax Planning track OR
Estate Planning and Taxation (3) for students completing the Estate Planning track.

Pro Bono Requirement

Students must engage in at least 20 hours of supervised pro bono activities related to tax law over the course of their law school careers, including the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, providing free tax assistance to low-income taxpayers, the Estate Planning Pro Bono Program, providing free wills and powers of attorney to qualified individuals; and the Non-Profit Project, assisting organizations on the University of Missouri campus to obtain tax-exempt status.

Honors Certification

If a student obtains a cumulative grade point average of at least 90 in all courses taken for the tax concentration, he or she will receive a designation of “Tax Concentration with Honors.” Note that if a student takes more than the required courses within a certificate category, he or she may designate which course to count toward the honors designation. The “Tax Concentration with Honors” designation will be documented by means of an award certificate that the student will receive issued by the School of Law. The designation will not be reflected separately in the student’s transcript.