From Semester 1, 2023 our undergraduate programs will be delivered on campus. Graduate programs will mainly be delivered on campus, with dual-delivery and online options available to a select number of subjects within some programs.
To learn more, visit 2023 Course and subject delivery.
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The MLS Tax Clinic provides students with a unique, practical experience and is the first-of-its-kind o at Melbourne Law School. Operating on-site as a Community Legal Centre, the MLS Tax Clinic provides students with the opportunity to undertake consultations with real clients and provide advice and representation work to, and on behalf of, eligible members of the community.
Students will be engaged in all practical and administrative aspects of the Clinic’s operation and will work under the guidance and supervision of the Clinic Supervisor and members of the tax and legal professions to advise on and resolve issues presented by clients of the Clinic.
The MLS Tax Clinic is a ‘live’ client facing clinic which provides students with the opportunity to put their existing tax law knowledge into practice. This course will enhance students’ understanding of taxation law and practice and will also develop fundamental legal skills of general application such as client interviewing, file and practice management, research and writing.
Examples of matters that may be dealt with by the MLS Tax Clinic include tax residency, capital gains tax, deductions, penalties and interest waivers, hardship applications, private binding rulings, lodgements and amendments and the gig economy. In appropriate cases, students will have the opportunity to represent clients in disputes with the Australian Taxation Office and negotiate with the ATO and other stakeholders for appropriate outcomes for clients.
A typical day will see students registered into a morning, non-client facing session and an afternoon, client-facing session. In the morning sessions, students will undertake research, prepare advices, draft emails and undertake other administrative tasks. Throughout the semester, the Clinic Supervisor will prepare and deliver technical and practical seminars as and when requested.
In the afternoon sessions, students will work in small groups to conduct client consultations under the close supervision of experienced practitioners who support the clinic on a pro-bono basis.
The orientation program is an integral part of the student learning experience and is mandatory for all students. The orientation will either take place in the week before the start of semester, or, during the first two weeks of the semester.
During orientation, students will participate in a number of seminars of relevance to the MLS Tax Clinic, which may include:
- Fundamental legal skills on tax administration and process,
- client interviewing techniques,
- file preparation and management,
- collecting, managing and storing sensitive information,
- interacting with and establishing rapport with clients; and
- navigating ATO systems and databases.
The Clinic will see clients from Weeks 3 – 12 (excluding the non-teaching period).
In Semester 1, the Clinic will operate on one day per week.
In Semester 2, the Clinic will operate over two to three days. Students will be required to attend one regular non-client facing session (1.5 hours) and one regular client facing session (4 hours) each week (one full day in total).
It is a requirement for students to register into their non-client facing session and their client facing session on the same day.
During their clinic work time, students will also take part in debrief sessions with the Clinic Supervisor, where students will discuss their matter, evaluate their progress and discuss their perceptions of the law in practice and their own role.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the practical aspects of providing tax advice and working in a small 'legal practice';
- Be able to competently prepare for and interview clients with a view to resolving their tax query;
- Be able to critically examine and analyse the requirements of the key documents that need to be prepared in practice;
- Have a sophisticated appreciation of the tax dispute process;
- Have a detailed understanding of the tax advisor’s legal, ethical and practical obligations;
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to the practical aspects of tax practice;
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse the key elements and features of effective tax advice;
- Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
- Applied research skills, including the ability to research, evaluate and synthesise relevant factual and legal issues in the context of a complex area of law;
- Legal practice skills, including critical legal analysis, client interviewing, negotiation, professional ethics and writing legal briefs;
- Personal and professional skills, including learning autonomously, being accountable for one's work, time management and self-reflection on performance;
- Skills required for effective workplace performance, including teamwork, communication, office organisation and co-worker collaboration; and
- Research and reflection skills, including the ability to engage in high-level analysis and critical reflection, and to develop and articulate clear and credible legal analysis.
Last updated: 11 November 2022