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Tax Debates


Admission requirements

Students following this course are recommended to have completed at least one year of university education (not necessarily in law). We expect the students to have a good proficiency in English both orally and in writing


Tax Debates is the last course of the minor Tax and Society. This course consists of a series of moderated classroom debates and a group project, during which the students can explore a selection of ‘hot topic’ issues that are currently at stake in the wider public debate on taxation. Tax Debates makes the step from the academic theories of tax, society, and ethics, to the ‘real world’ debates on taxation.
The title of the course – Tax Debates – reflects the fact that there is no single tax debate. Rather, a multitude of complex (and often controversial) interlinking issues can be identified. Within the overall structure of the minor Tax and Society, Tax Debates provides an academic space within which the students can bring together the lessons learned in all of the earlier courses and develop their own ideas and views. The students will be challenged to defend these views, or to adopt a Devil’s Advocate perspective on key issues and to explore alternative perspectives.

Course objectives

  • Revisit and integrate the knowledge obtained in the five previous courses of the minor Tax and Society.

  • Learn to talk about and debate issues regarding ethics and tax.

  • Develop own perspectives, ideas, and positions, on the issues raised during the whole minor.

  • Acquire and develop verbal and written communication skills (in English).

  • Gain confidence discussing (the ethical aspects of) various issues on tax and society.

  • Work together as a team, in a multidisciplinary environment.

  • And last but not least: have fun!


Zie MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Description:

  • Number of (2 hour) instructions: 5

  • Names of instructors: A.F. Gunn LL.M, MA (Cantab) and selected guest lectures

  • Required preparation by students:

  1. Preparation of arguments prior to the class (1,750 – 2,000 words; individual basis).
  2. Participation at the classroom debate (5 sessions of 2 hours)
  3. Group paper (8,500 – 10,000 words; group basis) – to be submitted at the end of the course.
    All of the above is done in groups of 4 to 5 students. The students are expected to share the workload. The students will be encouraged to use the classroom as a resource and sounding board when preparing their group papers. Active participation during the classroom debate is mandatory.

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • Tax Debates is graded on the quality of their preparation of arguments, participation at the classroom debate, and the group paper.
    The preparation of arguments and the class room debate are practical assignments with compulsory participation. To resit these practical assignments is not possible, failed partial grades or components should be compensated by passed partial grades or components. If a practical assignment is passed but the final (calculated) grade is below 5,5 the grade of the practical assignment expires at the end of the academic year in which it was graded.

  • Depending on the number of students, we may choose to make the exam an oral exam instead of a written exam.

Submission procedures
The preparation of arguments
Students are required to submit their arguments on the day before the classroom debate (deadline: 23:59). This is done on an individual basis. The deadline for the group paper will be announced at the beginning of the course. Both the arguments and the group paper must be submitted to the course coordinator (A.F. Gunn LL.M, MA (Cantab);, CC the Secretariat Department of Tax Law (

Areas to be tested within the exam
The preparation for the classroom debate, participation during that debate, and the group paper will be based firstly on originality, and the ability to link different areas and issues addressed in the five preceding courses in the minor Tax and Society, as well as the quality of the arguments made and the factual accuracy of the analysis. For the written work the quality of the writing, structure of the analysis, use of sources and footnotes, and of course the quality of the reasoning and logic will be assessed.

Reading list

Tax Debates will not introduce any new materials. Rather, students will be required to base their group papers on the materials which have been provided in the five previous courses. The groups will be invited to do some additional research for their papers. However, this will not be compulsory. If needed, the framework of Tax Debates is sufficiently flexible to allow additional support and supervision in the areas of academic writing in English.


Check the website under “course and exam enrollment” for information on how to register for the course.

Contact information

  • Coordinator: A.F. Gunn LL.M, MA (Cantab)

  • Work address: Kamerlingh Onnes Building

  • Contact information via: Secretariat Department of Tax Law

  • Telephone number: +31715277840

  • Email:


  • Institute: Institute of Tax Law and Economics

  • Department: Tax Law

  • Room number secretary: B211

  • Opening hours: 9.00 – 14.00 hrs

  • Telephone number secretary: +31715277840

  • Email:


In case of (corona)restrictions imposed by the government, this course description is subject to change.