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Tax in a Digitalizing Society


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 systems are the foundations upon which societies function and prosper. The ultimate objective and outcome of a tax system is found in its contribution to financing the state.

Once a tax system is successfully designed and implemented, it should not be taken for granted that the system remains successful over time. On the contrary, tax systems are subject to, and part of societal change. The design and implementation of tax systems have changed throughout history, triggered by innovations like writing itself, bookkeeping, the computer and the Internet. Each of these changes has impacted the efficiency, effectiveness and fairness of taxation processes. Today, digital innovations are driving societal and economical transformations resulting in a range of challenges to tax systems.

During this course we study the development of tax systems focusing on digitalization. We start by developing a holistic understanding of tax systems. Tax systems can be studied, among others, from legal, financial and behavioral perspectives. In this course the administrative and governance perspective prevails. Once we gain a vigorous understanding of what tax systems are, we proceed to the second part of the course during which we will study specific challenges to current tax systems triggered by contemporary digital innovations.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course

The objective of the course is to develop an understanding of how modern tax systems evolve in relation to social and economic changes driven by digitalization and to be able to identify and analyze the opportunities and challenges that emerge from it.

Achievement levels
The following achievement levels apply with regard to the course:

  • By the end of the course, the student can delineate social and technological developments that are currently pressing on tax systems.

  • The student can differentiate which domains of a tax system (as identified during the course) are affected and explain the impact in relation to specific social or economical developments resulting from digitalization.

  • The student can present an analysis and argument both verbally and in writing.


Check MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

See below

See below

Other methods of instruction

  • Number of meetings: 7 x 3 hours combined lecture and seminar (consisting of theory, stakeholder guest lectures and student panel discussions).

  • Names of instructors: R. Arendsen, J.I.W. Lock LL.M MSc

  • Guest speakers: TBA via Brightspace

  • Required preparation by students: Required reading, Assignments (see Brightspace)

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

Practical assignment with compulsory participation

  • Percentage of final (calculated) grade: 20%, consisting of preparatory assignments for, and participation in, class (panel) discussions

  • Resit: resit is not possible, failed partial grades or components should be compensated by passed partial grades or components

  • Carry forward: no. If the 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

Final paper

  • Percentage of final (calculated) grade: 80%

  • Resit: resit of the final paper is possible if the calculated grade (of the practical assignment and final paper) is below 5,5. The calculated grade must be at least 5,5 to pass the course. It is not possible to re-sit a partial grade or component once you have passed the course.

  • Carry forward: yes, one year. If the paper is passed but the final (calculated) grade is below 5,5 the grade of the paper remains valid until the end of the academic year following the academic year in which it was graded. After that, the grade expires

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

Submission procedures
Timely submission via Brightspace.

Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination syllabus consists of the required reading (literature) for the course, the course information guide and the subjects taught in the lectures, the seminars and all other instructions which are part of the course.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials

  • Selection of articles and reports (announced via Brightspace)


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

Contact information

  • Coordinator: R. Arendsen

  • Work address: KOG, Steenschuur 25, Room B211 (secretariat Tax Law)

  • Contact information:

  • Telephone number: +31 71 527 7840


  • Institute: Institute of Tax Law and Economics

  • Department: Tax Law

  • Room number secretary: B211

  • Opening hours: 09:00-17:00

  • Telephone number secretary: +31 (0) 71 527 8574 / +31 (0) 71 527 7840

  • Email:


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