Undergraduate Course: UK Tax System and Policy (LAWS10239)
|School||School of Law
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course focuses on the broader questions surrounding the tax system in the UK. This course will introduce students to the UK tax landscape, looking at how income and transactions are currently taxed in the UK. The course will also explore how taxing powers are currently being devolved.
Whilst this course will introduce the UK tax system, its focus will be on tax policy. In particular, the course will explore the features of a good tax system, as well as how the tax system can impact different taxpayers. Relevant topics include tax complexity, efficiency and salience. Overall, this course will seek to encourage students to engage in the critical analysis of the UK system as well as consider reforms.
Students will be assessed in their ability to critically analyse an area of tax policy by drafting a tax policy document on a current tax issue. This course will therefore include both a theoretical study of policy that is put into practice. The policy reports prepared by students may be submitted to a tax policy organisation so their work may help inform and influence the tax landscape of the future.
An indicative teaching programme is as follows.
Following an introductory topic, the course will be split into two halves: tax policy and the UK tax landscape.
1. Revenue raising and public spending in the UK
The UK tax landscape
2. Taxation of income (IT, CT)
3. Taxation of wealth (e.g. IHT, CGT, proposals for a wealth tax)
4. Taxation of transactions (e.g. VAT/ Stamp Duties/ Environmental Taxes)
5. Devolved Scottish taxes (e.g. LBTT, Landfill Tax)
Tax design: tax policy
6. 'Fair' and optimal taxation
7. Tax complexity: engagement with the UK tax system
8. Tax salience: engagement with the UK tax system
9. UK taxpayer rights
10. Media influence and public opinion: current issues in tax policy
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| Spaces on this course are allocated as part of the Law Honours Course Allocation process. Places are generally only available to students who must take Law courses. To request a space on this course, please email Law.UGO@ed.ac.uk
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||This course is only open to visiting students coming through a direct exchange with the School of Law (including Erasmus students on a Law-specific Exchange). Exchange students outside of Law and independent study abroad students are not eligible to enrol in this course, with no exceptions.
**Please note that 3rd year Law courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.**
Priority will be given to students studying on exchange within the Law department, and it is highly unlikely that there will be additional spaces for general exchange students & independent study abroad students to enrol; we will look into this on a case-by-case basis in September/January. Visiting students are advised to bear in mind that enrolment in specific courses can never be guaranteed, and you may need to be flexible in finding alternatives in case your preferred courses have no available space.
These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Students will be assessed by way of a Group Presentation (20%) and an Individual Research Policy Report of 3000 words (80%).
||Students will receive group and individual feedback on their Group Presentation that can be fed forward to each student's Individual Research Policy Report Policy Report.
Each student will receive an individual mark for their report.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Identify relevant areas of tax policy; Apply relevant tax theory to the UK tax system; Reflect upon how the UK tax system impacts on taxpayers
- Research specific questions on tax policy; Identify relevant reading and theory to inform a point of view; Draft a policy report that responds to a current area of interest to the Scottish Government.
- Critically analyse current areas of UK tax system; Identify and offer proposals for tax reform based on their critical analysis.
- Present information about specialised topics to non-specialist audiences; Present information as a group; Communicate with group members in an effective way; To listen to formative feedback and feed this forward into the summative assessment for the course
- Manage time effectively; Work as part of a team effectively and overcome team disputes; Exercise initiative in presenting ideas in an original way. Engage with presentation technology.
|James Hannam, What Everyone Needs to Know About Tax (Wiley 2017)|
Geoffrey Morse and Sandra Eden, Davies: Principles of Tax Law (Sweet and Maxwell 2020)
James Mirrlees et al., Tax by Design: the Mirrlees Review (IFS 2011) -available freely online
James Mirrlees et al., Dimensions of Tax Design (IFS 2010) ¿ available freely online
Chris Evans et al., Comparative Taxation: Why Tax Systems Differ (Fiscal Publications 2017)
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Research specific questions on tax policy;
Identify relevant reading and theory to inform a point of view;
Draft a policy report that responds to a current area of interest to the Scottish Government.
Critically analyse current areas of UK tax system;
Identify and offer proposals for tax reform based on their critical analysis
Present information about specialised topics to non-specialist audiences;
Present information as a group;
Communicate with group members in an effective way;
To listen to formative feedback and feed this forward into the summative assessment for the course.
Manage time effectively;
Work as part of a team effectively and overcome team disputes;
Exercise initiative in presenting ideas in an original way.
Engage with presentation technology.
|Course organiser||Dr Amy Lawton
|Course secretary||Miss Emma Hughes
Tel: (0131 6)50 2008