Comparative International Tax

Subject LAWS70353 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

April, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 16-Mar-2016
Teaching Period 13-Apr-2016 to 19-Apr-2016
Assessment Period End 30-May-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 31-Jan-2016
Census Date 13-Apr-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

This subject has a quota of 30 students. Please refer to the Melbourne Law Masters website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24-26 hours
Total Time Commitment:

136-150 hours

The pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.


Melbourne Law Masters Students: None

JD Students: Successful completion of the below subject:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2
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 Student Equity and Disability Support.



Professor Brian Arnold (Coordinator)

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

This subject will provide a detailed comparative analysis of the principal topics in international taxation. Professor Arnold is a leading global scholar and policy adviser in international taxation and a contributor to the leading international comparative book, Comparative Income Taxation (with Hugh Ault). This subject will equip students to analyse international tax issues using a comparative approach and acquire a deep understanding of the underlying structural, institutional and policy influences that have shaped international income tax systems. This knowledge is directly applicable to analysing international tax problems in any particular country.

Principal topics include:

  • Jurisdiction to tax (residence and source)
  • Elimination of double taxation
  • Deductibility of expenses to earn dividends from foreign corporations
  • International taxation
  • Controlled foreign corporation rules
  • Taxation of non-residents
  • Thin capitalisation rules
  • Tax treaties.
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the legal principles of comparative international law, the underlying structural, institutional and policy influences that make income tax systems the way they are and recent developments in this field of law and practice
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of these legal rules and the underlying structural, institutional and policy influences
  • Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of [the factors and processes driving international revision of the legal framework
  • Have an advanced understanding of the similarities and differences of international income tax systems
  • Have a detailed understanding of problems that arise in the international tax context
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to comparative international tax
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to international tax
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding comparative international tax to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • Be able demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of comparative international tax.

Take-home examination (5,000-6,000 words as specified in the subject reading guide) (100%) (27 - 30 May)

A minimum of 75% attendance is a hurdle requirement.

Prescribed Texts:

Specialist printed materials will be made available free of charge from the Melbourne Law School prior to the pre-teaching period.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in International Law
Graduate Diploma in International Tax
Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
Graduate Diploma in Tax
Juris Doctor
Master of Commercial Law
Master of International Tax
Master of Law and Development
Master of Laws
Master of Public and International Law
Master of Tax

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