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International Tax Law for Multinational Enterprises

Vak
2020-2021

Update mode of instruction d.d. 18-08-2020

Interactive lectures
The course will be taught through 10 (online) interactive classes (2 × 45 minutes each) using Kaltura.

Participation
Classes will be interactive. The students will be required to prepare for class and may be called upon to answer questions. In addition, we encourage active participation through assignments (optional). There will be 3 written assignments to be submitted during the course. The assignments may be a case, a position paper or a memorandum for the Minister of Finance. The students may be organized in groups of 2 students to prepare and submit the assignments. Participating in a group will enhance the participation and engagement of the students during the course as well as the discussion and submission of assignments. Each assignment will be max. 2 A4 so that the students will improve their skills to address the question asked in a concise way.
For privacy reasons and in order to encourage attendance and participation by the students, the classes will not be recorded.

Update assessment method d.d. 18-08-2020

Regular examination

  • The grade for this course is mainly based on a final, oral exam at the end of the course.

  • In addition a participation bonus of 0.5 may be earned. Whether or not the bonus will be granted is based on three elements: (1) presence during classes, (2) submission of assignments (through Brightspace), and (3) active participation during class discussions. Please note that participation is not mandatory; it is still possible to get the maximum grade for the course without the participation bonus.

  • A passing grade for the course is 5.5 or higher.

Re-examination

  • Students who fail to obtain a passing grade for the regular exam are entitled to a re-examination. A participation bonus is not carried over to the re-examination. The re-examination consists of an individual oral exam.

  • The re-examination is open only to course participants who have taken the final (oral) final exam. If extenuating circumstances apply, an exception to the aforementioned rule can be made by the course coordinator based on a written and substantiated request from the student.

Areas to be tested within the exam
All subjects taught in the lectures and seminars, all reading material, including additional materials published on Brightspace, all other instructions and skills taught during the course.


Admission requirements

STUDENTEN FISCAAL RECHT KUNNEN NIET DEELNEMEN (i.v.m. overlap met verplichte vakken internationaal belastingrecht).

Successful completion of at least one year of university education in law. Proficiency in English both orally and in writing. The overall maximum number of students in the course is 20. Since there will be no exchange students from abroad at the Faculty of Law, this course will be offered as an optional course only.

Description

In today’s world many companies operate across borders. We call them multinational enterprises. In a simple form a company resident in Germany has a sales office in Belgium. In a more complex case a company may have its headquarters in Japan, the production facilities in China, while the research and development is done in the Netherlands, the brand name is kept in a company on the Cayman Islands and the sales are done in many countries across the world.

Multinational enterprises encounter taxation in all the countries they are active in. This course explores the double taxation, low taxation and the double non-taxation that may arise in those cases. We will study why and how countries tax multinational enterprises and how tax treaties for the avoidance of double taxation function. We will also pay attention to recent developments that have caused disapproval in society about the level of taxes paid by multinationals (e.g., LuxLeaks, Starbucks and the Panama Papers) and we will discuss the role and dilemma of governments in tax avoidance: they want to attract businesses and also improve the rules. We will also discuss the role of multinationals themselves: they want to maximize profits, but may want to behave more socially responsible and pay ‘a fair share’ of tax. We will study the general mechanisms in domestic tax systems and in double tax treaties. We will also discuss the solutions proposed by the OECD and the EU for tax avoidance by multinationals.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course
The principal objectives of this course are to introduce students to why and how countries typically tax multinational enterprises, to the role of tax treaties and to the phenomenon of tax avoidance and the dilemmas faced by both countries and multinationals in their attitudes towards tax avoidance.

Achievement levels
By the end of the course the students:

  • Will have a basic understanding of why and how countries tax multinational enterprises

  • Will have gained basic knowledge of how tax treaties function

  • Will have a basic understanding of the phenomenon of tax avoidance. Students will be familiar with the elements of tax systems used for tax avoidance, and they will be able to think and argue in an informed and relevant manner about the position of both countries and multinational enterprises in this field. They will also have a broad idea of the solutions presently debated.

Timetable

The course is scheduled to start 31st August until 15th October 2020. During this period there will be 10 (online) interactive classes. The detailed timetable for this course will be published on Brightspace.

Mode of instruction

Please check the update at the top of this page.

Interactive lectures
The course will be taught through 10 interactive classes (2 × 45 minutes each). Students are required to prepare assignments for each class. Class sessions will consist of (a mix of) lectures and class discussions based on the assignments prepared.

Assessment method

Please check the update at the top of this page.

Regular examination
The grade for this course is based on a final, written exam at the end of the course. In addition a participation bonus of 0.5 may be earned. Whether or not the bonus will be granted is based on three elements: (1) presence during classes, (2) submission of assignments (through Brightspace), and (3) active participation during class discussions. Please note that participation is not mandatory; it is still possible to get the maximum grade for the course without the participation bonus.

A passing grade for the course is 5.5 or higher.

Re-examination
Students who fail to obtain a passing grade for the regular exam are entitled to a re-examination. A participation bonus is not carried over to the re-examination. The re-examination consists of an individual oral exam.

The re-examination is open only to course participants who have (1.) actively participated in the course and (2.) taken the final, written exam. If extenuating circumstances apply, an exception to the aforementioned rule can be made by the course coordinator based on a written and substantiated request from the student.

Areas to be tested within the exam
All subjects taught in the lectures and seminars, all reading material, including additional materials published on Brightspace, all other instructions and skills taught during the course.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials
Literature:

  • Brian J. Arnold, International Tax Primer (fourth edition, 2019)

  • OECD Model Tax Convention 2017 and Commentaries (available for download here)

  • OECD BEPS-documents to be determined (available for download on http://www.oecd.org/tax/beps.htm)

  • Additional materials will be posted on Brightspace.

Registration

Students have to register for courses and exams through uSis.

Contact information

Institution/division

For questions regarding this course, please contact the secretariat of the Department of Tax Law:

  • Institute: Department of Tax Law and Economics

  • Department: Tax Law

  • Room number secretary: B2.11

  • Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9.00-17.00

  • Telephone number secretary: 071 – 527 7840

  • Email: belastingrecht@law.leidenuniv.nl

Remarks

If you have questions regarding the course, please contact the secretariat of the Department of Tax Law (details above).