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Taxation is at the heart of contemporary market economies as it is the most significant source of public finance and it is deliberately used to influence the allocation of resources within a community. Focusing upon the Commonwealth income tax, but with reference also to the tax system as a whole, this subject:
- Explores the application of public finance principles to the framing of taxation law;
- Examines key factors which shape a community’s taxation system; and
- Develops core legal skills in the application of taxation law to common transactions.
Intended learning outcomes
Participants in this subject will critically examine, and master the practical application of:
- The meaning of assessable income, including the treatment of capital gains;
- Rules governing the recognition of expenditure and other amounts which are taken into account in determining the amount of income subject to tax;
- Rules governing the time at which amounts of assessable income are recognised for taxation purposes;
- The definition of taxable entities, with an introduction to the taxation treatment of partnerships, companies and trusts;
- Basics of international taxation rules ;
- Key elements of the rules with respect to the administration of the taxation law; and
- The concepts of tax compliance, tax planning and tax avoidance, and the specific legislative rules which seek to limit the ability of taxpayers to avoid tax.
As well as the technical analysis of core elements of an income tax participants in this subject will be invited to explore connections between taxation and both other legal domains and other disciplines by reference to specific aspects of income taxation. This interdisciplinary aspect of the subject may include consideration of:
- Key issues in tax reform with reference to current debates about funding government, and encouraging work and entrepreneurship;
- Different interpretative theories discernible in the interpretations of taxation statutes adopted in primary and secondary materials; and
- The relevance of psychology, public administration, criminology and sociology to the management of a tax system, bearing in mind the imperative of procuring a community’s voluntary compliance with tax law.
Students who successfully complete this subject will:
- Have a detailed understanding of:
- The principles of public finance which inform taxation law;
- The Australian income tax framework, and be able to analyse and apply core income tax rules to a range of transactions; and
- Key issues in tax planning including strategic issues in considering the options available, an introduction to business entities, tax planning and anti-avoidance rules.
- Fully appreciate the importance of the socio-political context in shaping taxation law, tax administration and taxpayer behaviour; and
- Fully appreciate that the application of taxation law is not always certain, and be aware of strategies and avenues for managing this tax risk, from the perspective of a taxpayer client, and also from the perspective of the tax administrator.
Last updated: 2 December 2019