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Tax and Society: Building a Sustainable and Fair Tax System


Taxation is crucial to addressing many of the most pressing societal challenges today. Adapting to climate change, achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, controlling income and wealth inequality and fostering resilient democracies: none of these can be achieved without fair and sustainable taxation. The minor ‘Tax and Society’ draws on the insights of law, economics, psychology, governance and philosophy to provide students a broad, interdisciplinary understanding of the opportunities and challenges of building the tax system of tomorrow.


The minor ‘Tax and Society’ focusses on the question of how national and international tax policy can help secure fair and prosperous societies in the face of major societal challenges. To address this question, it offers a unique interdisciplinary study-programme, with intensive small-scale teaching, and a strong focus on academic skills development.

Fuelled by a number of high-profile scandals, taxation has in recent years become subject to intense public scrutiny and debate. There is now a widespread consensus that taxation is an indispensable tool for governments in pursuing their policy goals, especially as they are confronted with a range of challenges going forward, such as climate change, digitalization and income and wealth inequality. In the minor ‘Tax and Society’, students will investigate how national and international tax policy may help address these challenges, including how international tax cooperation can ensure that the benefits of globalization are fairly shared across the world; how the design and implementation of green taxes can support climate change mitigation; and, how tax administrations must adapt to the digitalization of the economy while simultaneously ensuring that their administrative procedures remain transparent and fair.

These topics demand an interdisciplinary perspective. Students receive foundational training in the disciplines of comparative and international tax law, so as to be able to appreciate contemporary tax policy debates in national and international contexts. They are also introduced to economic, psychological, governance and philosophical perspectives on taxation, without which it is impossible to fully grasp and assess the opportunities and challenges faced by governments wishing to build sustainable and fair tax systems. The interdisciplinary and diverse character of the minor is also reflected in the classroom, which in the past included motivated and enthusiastic students from many different fields of study and with different nationalities.

To prepare students to productively participate in national and international tax policy debates, the minor has a strong emphasis on skills development. This includes training in foundational research competencies in several academic disciplines, proficiency in English writing and presentation, as well as collaboration and team-work. Students will apply these skills to real-world case-studies during tutorials and in panel discussions with tax experts from the public and private sector, by pursuing individual and group assignments, and by participating in classroom debates.

The courses are taught by a team of outstanding, dedicated lecturers with broad, internationally recognized, research experience on wide range of (international) tax matters. The minor is based at the Department of Tax Law of the Leiden Law School.


The minor is tailored to students wishing to study the role of taxation in addressing major societal challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective. It is especially appealing to those considering a career in the public or private sector affected by tax matters, including in public policy development and administration, strategy consulting, as well as with regulatory agencies and multinational companies. The minor is taught in English and accommodates foreign (exchange) students.

While primarily aimed at non-tax law students, the minor is suitable for tax law students interested in developing an interdisciplinary perspective on (international) tax law. In the past students have come from a wide range of academic backgrounds, including political science, international studies, public administration, international business administration, economics, and law.


The minor consists of the following six courses (5 EC each).

Semester 1, Block 1:

  • General Understanding of Comparative Tax Law

  • Taxing for the Common Good

  • Tax Behavior

Semester 1, Block 2:

  • Tax in the Boardroom

  • Tax in a Digitalizing Society

  • Tax Debates

Given the structure of the program, preference is given to students who follow the full minor of 30 EC. The three courses of the second block build on the first block. If a student can fill a maximum of 15 EC elective space, the student must therefore take the three courses of the first block.


Teaching is conducted at the Faculty of Law in Leiden.


Students from Leiden University, Erasmus University and TU Delft can register for this minor from 15 May 2024 at 13:00 hrs via EduXchange. The schedule of this minor is not yet known.

Other students can apply by following these 5 steps from 15 May 2024 at 13:00 hrs.

Admission requirements

Prospective students are recommended to have completed at least one year of university education (not necessarily in law or economics). Proficiency in English both verbal and written, is expected.


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