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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Scottish Tax Clinic: Tax in Practice (LAWS10240)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryThis is a clinical course that provides practical tax experience to students. The Scottish Tax Clinic is a partnership with TaxAid, a UK charity that provides free professional income tax advice to low-income individuals. As part of this course, students will be trained to become a TaxAid volunteer and provide income tax advice under the supervision of a local tax practitioner. This course will require students to work closely with peers, academic staff and the tax profession. In the Scottish Tax Clinic, the students will be the main point of contact for clients and will engage with clients over the telephone, by email and (where permitting) face-to-face.

The content of the course will depend upon the clients who access the Scottish Tax Clinic but will be limited to questions of income tax as it applies in Scotland. Common activities within the clinic might include changing PAYE tax codes; submitting tax returns; appealing HMRC penalties and debts; and, drafting letters of advice to clients. This course will therefore involve both a theoretical study of income tax and its practical application. Students will be required to reflect on their experience with a view to developing professional and soft skills.

Students should be aware that this course is not taught like a traditional Honours course. Whilst training is provided at the start of semester 1, you will be expected to independently research your client¿s tax issue. Your workload will also vary according to your cases - and so some periods of the year will be busier.
Course description The course will begin with a formal teaching programme which introduces students to the main knowledge and skills they will need for the clinical part of the course. Most of the contact time will take place 'in clinic', where the course organiser will be on hand to provide support to the students. The clinic time will be used to accept new clients and to work on cases.

The formal teaching programme is as follows:

1. Online participation in TaxAid training;
2. Workshop on common tax issues for low-income people;
3. Client interviewing skills workshop;
4. Reflective writing workshop;
5. Drafting letters of advice workshop;
6. Filling out a tax return/ IT support workshop;
7. In-clinic support and experience.

Students will also receive an appraisal at the end of Semester 1 to allow them to a) raise concerns; b) discuss their progress and participation; and c) work out an action plan for semester 2.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Revenue Law (LAWS08118)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  14
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 38, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 354 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Students will be assessed by:
1. Student participation (including engagement with training, casework and attendance at the clinic) (20%)
2. Submission of a fortnightly reflective journal (10 entries of 500 words) (40%)
3. Submission of a portfolio of casework showing research and outcomes for four clients (40%).
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify key facts in a given case and critically review their relevance to applicable tax legislation and guidance. Apply the facts of a client¿s case to the tax problem with a view to providing advice to the client and/ or resolving their tax case. Reflect upon how the UK tax system impacts on taxpayers. Reflect on their own development throughout the course in terms of skills and knowledge gained.
  2. Research income tax issues with a view to providing professional tax advice. Draft letters of advice and/ or complete income tax returns and/ or appeals to HMRC.
  3. Critically identify, define, conceptualise and analyse complex tax problems and issues. Offer professional insights, interpretations and solutions to clients¿ problems.
  4. Present information about specialised topics to non-specialist audiences. Communicate with peers, academic staff, and tax professionals on a professional level. Communicate with clients in a professional manner. To listen to clients with a view to identifying and collecting relevant information.
  5. Exercise autonomy and initiative in the professional activities of the Scottish Tax Clinic. Manage time to enable the timely completion of cases with a view to relevant tax deadlines. Work effectively as part of a team. Manage professional relationships with peers and supervisors. Be able to navigate the IT platforms used by the Scottish Tax Clinic. Identify when GDPR consent is required. Identify and adhere to the rules surrounding client confidentiality and information security.
Reading List
Geoffrey Morse and Sandra Eden, Davies: Principles of Tax Law (Sweet and Maxwell 2020)

Mark Adler and Daphne Perry, Clarity for Lawyers: Effective Legal Language (The Law Society 2017)

As this course will be practice-oriented, students would also be engaging with material that is readily available online, such as:

HMRC, Employment Income Manual
HMRC, Business Income Manual
Low Income Tax Reform Group, Online Tax Guides (various)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Keywordstax,tax law,law,revenue,clinic,TaxAid
Course organiserDr Amy Lawton
Course secretaryMiss Robyn Blyth
Tel: (01316) 514550
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