Employee Benefits Certificate
The Employee Benefits Certificate program has two tracks, one for attorneys and the other for accountants and other highly qualified professionals.
The attorney track entails five courses totaling nine credit hours, taken in the following order:
Employee Benefits Law: 1 credit. Coverage. The course deals with select areas of non-tax law which underpin the tax principles that affect employee benefits; e.g., employment law, labor law, and contract law. Course content is designed to interface with the non-tax content of the substantive employee benefits courses.
Employee Benefits: 2 credits. Coverage: Tax and labor law aspects of ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act).
Qualified Pension and Profit Sharing Plans: 2 credits. Coverage: Tax aspects of qualified plans and plan beneficiaries.
Compensation Planning: 2 credits. Coverage: Tax aspects of deferred compensation arrangements and certain fringe benefits.
Elective course: one of these two-credit courses.
- Benefit Aspects of Business Transactions
- Estate Planning for Business Owners
- Taxation of S Corporations
In addition, all certificate students are required to register and take the six-hour Distance Learning Seminar on Professional Responsibility in Federal Tax Practice (no tuition is charged), and attend the New Student Orientation.
As with the estate planning certificate, the non-attorney track includes all of the courses just described, but the non-attorney must also take, as the first course in the certificate program, the two-credit Legal Orientation course that is required for all M.T. students. As a result, non-attorneys will need 11 credits in order to qualify for the certificate.
Same as the requirements for admission to the LL.M. program: a J.D. degree, regardless of when awarded, with an acceptable cumulative grade point average.
For non-attorneys, the admission decision will be weighted heavily toward significant experience and credentials in the employee benefits field.
Accountants: (i) If the applicant has passed the CPA exam, there are no other requirements; (ii) if not, then an undergraduate degree in accounting with a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average, plus the Graduate Management Admission Test with an acceptable score, plus at least one year’s professional tax experience.
Non-accountants: A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university plus significant experience and credentials in the employee benefits field.
Examinations and Grading
With the exception of the Probate Process and Practice course, all certificate students will be examined and graded in the same manner as regular matriculated graduate tax students. As in the regular Graduate Tax Program, a cumulative 2.5 grade point average is required for the award of the certificate.
Certificate for Matriculated Graduate Tax Students
A regular matriculated LL.M. or M.T. candidate can qualify for the estate planning certificate, in addition to the regular degree, by taking all of the courses required for the certificate. Having done so, due to the 1 credit Probate Process and Practice course, the matriculated degree candidate will graduate with 25 credits instead of the regular 24 credits.
Tuition for certificate students is the same per-credit amount as for matriculated degree students.
Completion of the Program
Given an appropriate sequencing of courses, a certificate student can finish the program in one three-semester year. But, to accommodate work-schedule and other time commitments, a certificate participant has three years within which to complete the program requirements. At the beginning of the semester in which coursework will be completed, the student MUST complete the Prospective Graduation form found here. (Linked to Graduate Tax à Current Students à Forms)
Certificate Students Switching to the LL.M. or M.T. Program
Some persons who enter the certificate program may develop an interest in the regular LL.M. or M.T. degree. Since admission requirements for certificate participants generally are the equivalent of those for degree candidates, in most instances the transition to degree candidate poses no qualification problem.
Form of Certificate
The certificate awarded is a certificate of achievement that signals the successful completion of the limited course of study. Note that the certification is not an attestation as to the professional competence of the certificate holder, nor is it a formal degree.
Continuing Education Credit
CLE and CPE credit is available to attorneys and accountants who are certificate students.