Comparative Corporate Tax

Subject LAWS70009 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: The total class time is between 24 and 26 hours.
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit:


For more information, contact the Melbourne Law Masters office.

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

Globalisation is driving corporate tax systems closer together and often into conflict. For many tax practitioners, it is now not enough to know their own corporate tax system—they must grapple with and question the operation of other corporate tax systems. This subject seeks to develop an ability to understand and analyse any corporate tax system and assess its impact on corporate decision-making. With a dedicated textbook (written by the presenter), it does this by comparing a number of influential and archetypal corporate tax systems (both common law and civil law) and assessing their behaviour in the context of a number of practical problems. For tax professionals, the subject develops an ability to ask direct and informed questions about a foreign corporate tax system and discuss that system at a high level with foreign tax professionals.

This subject will compare and analyse income tax law in selected countries and consider how that law interfaces with corporate law.

Principal topics will include:

  • Identification of entities (including hybrids) subject to corporation tax
  • Corporate groups and service companies
  • Debt versus equity and dividend relief
  • Cross-border corporate income and dividends
  • Gains/losses on the disposal of shares, takeovers and trading in loss companies
  • Corporate formation, share buy-backs and liquidation
  • Bonus issues, convertible notes, mergers and demergers.
Learning Outcomes:

This subject aims to provide a comparison of the income tax law and policy of Australia with our major trading partners, including the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada and some European countries, with a particular focus on business taxation. The subject will provide a basic overview of the income tax systems of these countries and will include detailed comparative case studies focusing in particular on the UK, drawing on Mr Bowler Smith's expertise. It will assess the likely tax outcomes of a range of business transactions in each of the countries selected for comparison. The comparative framework provides an opportunity for identifying options for taxing business income that can indicate directions for business tax reform.

  • Assignment (30%) (23 April)
  • Take-home examination (70%) (23 – 26 May)
  • 7,000 word research paper (70%) (2 July) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator
Prescribed Texts:

Core subject materials will be provided free of charge to all students. Some subjects require further texts to be purchased. Details regarding any prescribed texts will be provided prior to the commencement of the subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:

Download PDF version.