Taxation Law and Policy

Subject LAWS50046 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 5 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours.
Total Time Commitment: 144 hours.

733-510 Legal Method and Reasoning; 733-511 Principles of Public Law; 733-512 Torts; 733-513 Obligations; 733-514 Dispute Resolution; 733-517 Property; 733-516 Contracts; 733-521 Administrative Law; 733-522 Trusts.

Corequisites: None.
Recommended Background Knowledge: None.
Non Allowed Subjects: None.
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills, and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to providing support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Assoc Prof Mark Burton


Melbourne Law School Student Centre
Tel: +61 3 8344 4475
Subject Overview:

Principal topics include:

  • Goals of the Australian tax system, the budget (taxing and spending), tax mix, tax expenditures;
  • Important fiscal policy issues regarding the tax and transfer systems, tax rates, redistribution (fairness), efficiency, impact on business, problems in tax reform and other topical tax issues;
  • The income tax base: the concept of assessable income, capital gains and deductions arising from employment, business and investment activities;
  • Taxation of intermediaries: an introduction to the income tax issues relating to the wide range of legal intermediaries or structures, including companies, trusts and partnerships, that are used to undertake business and investment activities;
  • Tax avoidance and tax planning: an examination of the policy and legal issues.

In addition the subject may cover some aspects of the following topics:

  • International aspects of income taxation;
  • The goods and services tax (GST) as the principal means of taxing domestic consumption in Australia;
  • Tax administration: assessment of tax, appeals, audit and penalties.

The subject aims to provide students with a fundamental introduction to tax law and policy in Australia. It provides a good level of understanding of key aspects of the tax system with a focus on Australia’s most important tax, the income tax. This understanding will be valuable to all lawyers and to Australian citizens and residents more generally. It also provides a solid basis for more advanced tax studies. Specifically, the subject will enable students to:

  • Identify and understand tax policy and tax reform in light of Australia’s goals for government spending and applying core legal and economic principles;
  • Research, understand and use legal rules, principles and other norms relevant to taxation law, in particular the income tax, in the context of particular facts;
  • Resolve statutory and case law interpretation issues in taxation law;
  • Understand the tax law in its practical context and in relation to law as a whole, building on student knowledge of property, trust, contract and corporate law;
  • Understand key issues in tax planning including strategic issues in considering the options available, an introduction to business entities, risks of tax planning issues and the best course for a particular client.
  • Written assignment of 2,500 words (25%);
  • 3-hour end-of-semester open-book examination (75%).
Prescribed Texts:

Single volume edited Taxation Legislation: either

  • Australian Tax Practice, Fundamental Tax Legislation 2010 (Deutsch, ed); or
  • CCH 2010 Core Tax Legislation and Study Guide (Barkoczy, ed); or
  • LexisNexis Concise Tax Legislation 2010 (Kenny, ed)

Frank Gilders et al, Understanding Taxation Law, LexisNexis Butterworths, 2010 (4th edn)

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of the subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • A thoughtful and ethical approach to the application of law in practice;
  • The capacity for close reading and analysis of a range of sources;
  • The capacity for critical and independent thought on key policy and legal issues that may have no clear solution;
  • The capacity to solve problems, including through the collection and evaluation of information.

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