Bacon Immigration Law Program

Tax Law and Policy Certificate Program

The College of Law is pleased to announce a certificate program in Tax Law and Policy. This Certificate is awarded to qualified law students at graduation.   The award of this Certificate recognizes successful curriculum concentration in the field of tax law. Students who believe that they will fulfill the requirements as set forth below must complete the online application and submit it to one of the Program Directors (currently, either Professor Hymel, Professor Swain or Professor Hopkins) for approval.


  1. Requirements for Receiving a Certificate at the time of graduation.


To obtain a certificate upon graduation, a student must, at the time of his/her graduation, demonstrate to the Program Director satisfactory completion of the following requirements:

  1. Minimum Grade Point Average. 


    1. At the time he/she is awarded his/her J.D., the student must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.75 or better. 
    2. Maintain a grade point average of B (3.00) or better in courses taken and selected as qualifying for the Certificate. No grades from course credits transferred from another law school and accepted for use toward the Certificate will be taken into account in computing the grade point average.
  1. Courses:  The student must demonstrate satisfactory completion of the following:      


    1. Federal Income Tax (3 units).
    2. Complete 9 hours from the courses listed in Appendix A.
    3. Complete 6 hours from the courses listed in Appendix B.
    4. No more than one course or program graded on a credit/no credit basis may be used to meet these credit requirements.  Course credit may be allowed, in the discretion of the Program Director, for one course, of up to three (3) units of credit, taken at another law school.  (Questions regarding courses added to or removed from the curriculum from time to time, or the equivalency of any courses taken in other law schools, should be addressed to the Program Director.)


  1. Substantial Paper Requirement


Each candidate must complete one substantial research paper exclusively on one or more topics relating directly to tax law. To qualify as meeting the requirements for the Certificate, the topic of the paper must be approved in advance by the Program Director and the final paper must meet with the Substantial Paper requirements for the law school.
Note:  Papers not written for graded credit do not satisfy this requirement.

  1. Tax Experience


The student must engage in 10 hours of legal practice experience that has as its primary focus an aspect of federal taxation.  The experience can be paid or volunteer, in a public or private entity.  Faculty members engaged in tax law teaching are willing to assist prospective Certificate students in identifying appropriate practice opportunities.  Where a student is engaged in a work or volunteer experience and only a portion of the hours worked relate to tax law, the student may apply just those tax related hours to the Certificate (e.g., the hours spent on one tax law assignment the student received during a summer job in a law firm).  The student may also combine the hours spent working on tax matters for different entities in order to total the 10 hours required.  Students may apply, toward satisfaction of the 10 hour requirement, the hours they spend on an externship for which they receive academic credit.  The student may also apply any credit units earned as part of such an externship toward satisfaction of the total credit hours required under I.B.3 above. 


Experience examples include:  outside work experience, research assistant hours for one of the tax professors in the law school or the graduate tax program offered at Eller, and volunteer hours devoted to the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (offered by the Internal Revenue Service). Please contact Professor James Hopkins for experience opportunities, if needed.


To demonstrate satisfaction of the 10 hour practice component, the student must submit to the Director a letter, preferably on letterhead, from his/her supervisor(s) stating the number of hours that the student has performed, the approximate time period during which the hours were performed, and further stating that the hours were devoted to a matter of law or policy related to tax law.


  1. Procedures for Enrolling in the Certificate Program and Demonstrating satisfaction of Certificate Requirements


    1. Enrollment: Any student enrolled in the J.D. program and who, at the time, has a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or better, may enroll in the Certificate program.  Students should enroll no earlier than their third semester of law school and prior to the beginning of their fifth semester of law school.  Enrollment consists of sending an email to the Program Director (currently either Professor Swain at , Professor Hymel at, or Professor Hopkins at (1) expressing his/her interest in enrolling in the Certificate program, (2) listing the semester the student expects to be awarded his/her J.D. degree; and (3) certifying that the student has a GPA of 2.75 or greater. 
  1. Documents that the students will need to provide to the Program Director include:


    1. A completed Tax Law Research Paper Topic Pre-Approval form.
    2. Those documents required to demonstrate Tax Experience.
    3. A completed Request for Certificate in Tax Law and Policy form (see below).
    4. A copy of the student’s law school transcript, current at the time he/she requests a Certificate (See below).
  1. Meeting with the Director   


Students are strongly encouraged to meet with the Director soon after enrolling in the Certificate program.  Such a meeting provides an opportunity to discuss how the student plans to fulfill the requirements of the Certificate and have any questions about the Certificate program answered in person. 

  1.  Pre-approval of Substantial Paper Topic


As discussed above, students must obtain pre-approval for their tax research paper topic prior to requesting a Certificate and optimally, prior to writing their research paper.  Such approval is designed to avoid situations where the student has already written a paper based upon the expectation that it can be used to fulfill the research paper requirement but later discovers that the topic is not suitable for satisfying the requirement. 

  1. Request for Certificate in Tax Law and Policy


By November 15 where the student expects to receive his/her J.D. at the end of the fall semester and by April 1st where he/she expects to receive his/her degree at the conclusion of the spring semester, all enrolled students must email the Director and request a Certificate in Tax Law and Policy.


The Program Director will subsequently inform the student as to whether he/she will be receiving a Certificate in Tax Law and Policy.

  1.  Availability of Certificate Describing the Student’s Subspecialty in Tax Law and Policy

In his/her completed Request for a Certificate in Tax Law and Policy, a student may request that his/her Certificate describe the area of tax law and policy on which he/she concentrated as a student.  To be eligible for this description of the student’s study, the student must have taken at least nine credits in the area of emphasis.  If granted, the student’s certificate will state that the student is being awarded a “Certificate in Tax Law and Policy with an Emphasis in [particular area of tax law requested by the student, such as “Corporate Tax Law” or “Individual Income Tax Law”, etc.].  The addition of any such description of the student’s concentration on the Certificate shall be at the Director’s discretion.  In the absence of a request for the addition of a concentration, the student will receive a Certificate in Tax Law and Policy.

Appendix A

A minimum of 9 hours are required from the following list of courses:

      Corporate Taxation
      LLC, LLP, and Partnership Taxation
      State and Local Taxation
      Estate Planning
      Estate and Gift Taxation
      International Taxation
      International Transactions
      Tax Research
      Tax Procedure


Appendix B

A minimum of 6 hours is required from the following list of courses:*

      Accounting and Finance for Lawyers
      Taxation of Non-Profit Entities
      Advanced Corporate Taxation
      Taxation of Real Estate Transactions
      Business Organizations
      Business Planning
      Entrepreneurship Program
      Taxation and the Environment
      Tax Law and Policy
      Partnership Return Preparation Lab
      Corporate Tax Policy


* Some of these courses may not be offered in any given academic year. 



Last Updated: 10/22/2014