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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Principles of International Tax Law (LAWS11123)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is designed to give students an introduction to the principles and practical issues of international tax law. It looks at the problems caused when national tax systems overlap, focusing on direct taxation. Students will be given an overview of international tax treaties through an examination of the OECD model and will be expected to apply this to practical situations. They will also be encouraged to develop written and oral skills through class discussion and assessments. A sustained analysis of a practical problem will form a significant component of the final assessment of this course.
Course description The course will allow students to acquire the necessary knowledge to understand all issues relating to direct taxation connected with cross-border operations, and to solve practical problems.

Contents covered in the course will include:

Introduction to International Tax Law

1 Outline of the course; format; assessment; presentation allocation; assignment essay; bibliography. The taxation of individuals and companies: general framework

The taxation of individuals

2 Introduction of the institutional legal framework for the taxation of cross-border income: history, function, legal status, and interpretation of the OECD Model Convention.

3 Article 4(1)(2) for the natural person: connecting factors: residence, domicile, nationality, centre of vital interests; comparison of different tax jurisdictions; tie-breaker provisions, and a closer look at the UK jurisdiction as an example to highlight recent challenges to tax authorities and current changes to the legislation.

4 Source versus residence: distributive rules for taxing rights for different types of income ┐ Articles 6, 8, 15,16, and 21.

5 Source versus residence: distributive rules for taxing rights for different types of income ┐ Articles 10, 11, 12 and 13.

The taxation of companies

6 Article 4(3) for the legal (corporate) person: the determination of tax residence for a company: connecting factors; comparison of different tax jurisdictions, and the tie-breaker provisions; recent developments corporate residence determination from challenges brought on by the technological revolution.

7 Articles 5 & 7: business profits; permanent establishment; dependent or independent agency; e-commerce; the allocation of profits and principles thereon.

8 Article 9: associated enterprises and transfer pricing issues.

9 Article 23: double taxation and methods of granting relief

10 Anti-avoidance rules in the international taxation framework (CFC rules, limitation of benefits rules, thin capitalization rules, basic features of the UK┐s ┐diverted profit tax┐).

The course will be tough through weekly seminars which will offer students the possibility of actively engaging in discussion questions and of showing their understanding and their problem-solving abilities.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Some study of tax law at a domestic level would be useful but not essential.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesSome study of tax law at a domestic level would be useful but not essential.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  28
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One Essay (90%) and class presentation (10%). The class presentation will take the form of a powerpoint presentation, which will be supported by a written document.
Feedback Students will be given the opportunity to complete one piece of writing as a formative assessment during the first half of the semester. They will be given detailed individual feedback, in a written form.

Students will also be given the opportunity to make a trial presentation (with a view to the assessed power-point presentation) and to have an individual oral feedback on this.

Students receive detailed written individual feedback on their summative essay

Students are expected to reflected on their feedbacks, and to discuss how they propose to address any weakness indicated in these feedbacks
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Show awareness of the issues arising out of the overlapping between national tax systes and knowledge of the key rules concerning the distribution of taxing rights between different countries in relation to all cases of cross-border income
  2. Demonstrate understanding of the principles underlying those rules and of their objectives;
  3. Demonstrate analytical skills that would allow them to identify the rules and principles that would be relevant in practical situations
  4. Use their knowledge of the rules, their understanding of the underlying principles and objectives as well as their analytical skills in solving practical cases involving international taxation issues
Reading List
The key textbook will be:

A.Miller, L.Oats, Principles of International Taxation, 14th Ed., 2014.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will have developed their critical analysis skills and their evaluation skills (that could also be applied in fields other than tax law).

Students will have strengthened the oral communication skills and their writing skills.

Students will also have developed their autonomy in both submitting and defending critical arguments
Keywordsinternational tax law,OECD Model Tax Convention,tax residence,source,business income
Course organiserDr Luca Cerioni
Tel: (131 6)50 6952
Course secretaryMs Olivia Hayes
Tel: (0131 6)50 9588
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