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WU Vienna Tax law


The University Act provides for a total of 90 ECTS for the LL.M. program. The program is divided into eight blocks of lectures and comprises the following subjects:

International tax policy

  • The course is aimed at those students who, having taken domestic and international tax courses, are interested in understanding how tax systems compete and evolve: the course provides an introduction to the comparative dimensions of tax law and endeavors to bridge the gap between domestic and international taxation. We will focus mainly on selected issues of corporate taxes having an international impact and use a comparative approach to analyze the evolution and circulation of tax models. In this approach, tax reforms are viewed as the result of the selection through legal transplants and similar techniques, by domestic policy-makers, of alternative solutions circulating in the market for tax ideas. We will also consider certain “top-down constraints” in the EU process of tax coordination, with specific attention to the “negative integration” prompted by the leading cases of the European Court of Justice in tax matters protecting the four freedoms enshrined in the EC Treaty. We will study the arguments and the reasoning adopted by the ECJ in these cases and their impact on domestic legislation and tax policy. Finally, we will combine the comparative/evolutionary approach and the case method to depict an evolutionary map for EU corporate taxes which reveals a “common core” in respect to cross-border tax consolidation of groups of companies; within this framework we will consider the EU proposal for a common consolidated tax base (CCCTB) and the US proposals for adopting formulary apportionment.<br /><br />
  • The course provides students with a comparative overview of the tax systems of various countries, with a view to developing a conceptual and practical understanding of the reasons why tax systems differ (and why they are sometimes so similar). The objectives of the course are to help students understand the characteristics that tax systems have in common, the areas in which tax systems differ, and the factors (legal, institutional, political, economic, social, and cultural) that cause the similarities and differences. The course covers areas such as tax structures, tax at different government levels, different types of tax (including income taxes, consumption taxes, capital and wealth taxes, and environmental taxes), tax operating costs, tax administration, and tax policymaking and reform.
  • The course will examine how principles of law, economics, and politics should and do influence the design of modern tax systems. The course covers the history and basic structure of international taxation, double tax treaties, and issues of international tax avoidance. The course explores the way in which current tax arrangements correspond to issues of trade and notions of distributive justice.
  • The ECJ's direct tax case law based on the EU fundamental freedoms seems to have evolved over the last thirty years. Fairly simple, though general, EU Treaty provisions – as interpreted by the ECJ in direct tax cases - have led to substantial changes in the direct tax laws of EU Member States. For the last few years the jurisprudence of the Court attempts to explore the boundaries of the impact of the EU Treaty on the domestic tax legislation of Member States. The course entails an analysis of the recent trends in the ECJ's case law in this area. It will endeavor to analyze the ECJ's understanding of the basic concepts on which the EU direct tax case law is based and its application in the current jurisprudence.
  • This lecture examines legal, economic, and political considerations that have shaped U.S. domestic and international tax policy. Potential topics include the concept of income and the tax base; economic efficiency; equity and distributive justice; tax expenditures; fundamental tax reform; tax havens; tax compliance and enforcement, including tax shelters; and current tax policy issues. In addition to revealing the dynamics that produced the U.S. domestic and international tax laws in effect today, the lecture will also emphasize perspectives and concerns that should have been, but were not, taken into account in formulating those policies.
  • This course will explore the intersections of international tax and trade policy, particularly in relation to the origins and development of tax treaties and countries' domestic tax rules to recognize tax rights with a view to limiting impediments to international trade. The course will consider, in particular, the origins of the Model Tax Convention of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the relationship between trade treaties and tax treaties, the effects of multi-jurisdictional activity of multinational enterprises on the adequacy of tax policy responses to avoid &quot;double taxation&quot; without encouraging &quot;double non-taxation&quot; as well as the connotations of those terms in the international tax environment. It will include consideration of the intersection of taxation and trade policies as well as the circumstances in which tax and trade regulation may be more or less multilateral taking account of their origins but also contemporary developments. This course is meant to complement students' experience with interpreting and understanding the application of tax treaties in the context of more broadly-based international tax rules, conventions, and customary practice.

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