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Comparative Corporate Tax (LAWS70009)

Graduate coursework level 7Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework Level 7
Subject codeLAWS70009
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Globalisation is driving corporate tax systems closer together and often into conflict. For many tax practitioners, it is now not enough to know their own corporate tax system—they must grapple with and question the operation of other corporate tax systems. This subject seeks to develop an ability to understand and analyse any corporate tax system and assess its impact on corporate decision-making. With a dedicated textbook (written by the presenter), this subject compares a number of influential and archetypal corporate tax systems (both common law and civil law) and assesses their behaviour in the context of practical problems. For tax professionals, this subject develops an ability to ask direct and informed questions about a foreign corporate tax system and discuss that system at a high level with foreign tax professionals.

This subject will compare and analyse income tax law in selected countries (Australia, Germany, the US and the UK) and consider how these laws interface with corporate law. Other jurisdictions may also be covered briefly during the course and students are permitted to cover other countries in their research paper.

Principal topics include:

  • Identification of entities (including hybrids) subject to corporation tax
  • Corporate groups and service companies
  • Debt versus equity and dividend relief
  • Cross-border corporate income and dividends
  • Gains/losses on the disposal of shares, takeovers and trading in loss companies
  • Corporate formation, share buy-backs and liquidation
  • Bonus issues, convertible notes, mergers and demergers.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the income tax law and policy of Australia as it relates to corporations and their shareholders compared with some of our major trading partners
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of these laws and policies
  • Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field of corporate tax
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of the factors and processes driving reform of the legal framework in the countries chosen for comparison
  • Have an advanced understanding of the significance of the role of the courts in judicial approaches to taxation of corporations in the common law and other legal traditions
  • Have a detailed understanding of the latest developments and trends in laws dealing with corporate taxation
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to laws and policies dealing with corporate taxation, and to critically evaluate them
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse the key elements and features of corporate taxation from a comparative perspective
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding corporate taxation to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • Be able to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of comparative corporate taxation.

Eligibility and requirements


Melbourne Law Masters Students: None

JD Students: Successful completion of the below subject:

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
LAWS50046 Taxation Law and Policy
Semester 1
Semester 2



Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Core participation requirements

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact Student Equity and Disability Support.


Additional details

  • Take-home examination (5,000 - 6,000 words) (100%) (10 - 13 May)
  • Research paper (8,000 - 10,000 words) (100%) (19 June) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

A minimum of 75% attendance is a hurdle requirement.

Quotas apply to this subject

Dates & times

  • March
    Principal coordinatorPeter Harris
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours24-34 hours
    Total time commitment150 hours
    Pre teaching start date27 February 2019
    Pre teaching requirementsThe pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.
    Teaching period27 March 2019 to 2 April 2019
    Last self-enrol date31 January 2019
    Census date27 March 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail10 May 2019
    Assessment period ends19 June 2019

    March contact information

Additional delivery details

This subject has a quota of 30 students.

Enrolment is on a first come, first served basis. Waitlists are maintained for subjects that are fully subscribed.

Students should note priority of places in subjects will be given as follows:

  • To currently enrolled Graduate Diploma and Masters students with a satisfactory record in their degree
  • To other students enrolling on a single subject basis, eg Community Access Program (CAP) students, cross-institutional study and cross-faculty study.

Please refer to the Melbourne Law Masters website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Further information

Last updated: 17 August 2019