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Why Tax Systems Differ Between Countries (LAWS90163)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeLAWS90163
Availability(Quotas apply)
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

In this subject, students will analyse and compare taxation systems in different countries. The subject looks at what tax systems have in common, how they differ and seeks to explain both the similarities and the differences. It will consider the range of taxes that might be implemented to achieve both revenue and non-revenue raising objectives (income taxes, consumption taxes and wealth taxes as well as taxes to influence behaviour e.g. environmental taxes).

The subject will draw on economic theory but will also consider the significance of historical, legal and social differences, the importance of constitutional constraints, the influence of geography and the importance of politics in the tax debate.

Intended learning outcomes

Students undertaking this subject will critically examine and master the practical application of:

  • the notion of what constitutes a tax and why it is important to identify;
  • the difference between the bases of tax: income, consumption and wealth;
  • the factors that determine the nature of tax systems in different countries, including historical, constitutional, political and social factors;
  • the use of tax systems to achieve non-tax related objectives, such as environmental concerns;
  • how different countries deal with tax evasion and tax avoidance; and
  • problems with implementing tax reform.

Generic skills

  • On completion of the subject, a student will have developed and demonstrated their skills in the following areas: • cognitive skills to demonstrate mastery of theoretical knowledge and critical reflection in the context of academic and professional debates about the design and interpretation of tax systems; • cognitive, technical and creative skills to generate and evaluate complex ideas and concepts at an abstract level and the ability to translate those abstract ideas and concepts and apply them to practical problems and in assessment tasks; • communication and technical research skills to justify theoretical propositions, methodologies, conclusions and professional decisions to specialist audiences in the context of scholarly writing and/or professional advice in assessment tasks; • specialised ability to engage with primary legal materials from a wide variety of jurisdictions; and • highly developed intercultural sensitivity and understanding.

Last updated: 24 August 2019