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History

History of the Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law of WU

1968: The former tax inspector Anton Lager becomes the first professor of Financial Law at the WU. The Institute for Financial Law, later the Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law, is founded under his leadership. Anton Lager becomes Professor Emeritus at the WU in1979.

1981: Wolfgang Gassner succeeds Anton Lager as professor of Financial Law and as the Head of Institute. He actively engages in Institute´s projects until his death in 2004. His main emphasis in research and teaching is on Corporate and International Tax Law.

1990: Eduard Lechner joins the Institute as Professor of Financial Law with focus on International Tax Law. He remains in this position until 1993 when he leaves for another offer from the University of Vienna.

1991: For the first time the Institute initiates the "Wirtschaftstreuhänder-Kongress" (Business Trustee Congress) which is followed by the annual "Wiener Bilanzrechtstage" (Accounting Law Conference) as an academic special event hosted by the Tax Law Institute and also WU´s other related economic Institutes. In 2011 the Vienna Symposium on Corporate Tax Law takes place as another annual special event in the field of Corporate Tax Law.

1994: Michael Lang succeeds Eduard Lechner in his office as Professor of Financial Law, focusing on International Tax Law. In 1998 he accepts the position as the Head of Institute offered to him by Wolfgang Gassner.

1994: For the first time the Institute hosts the "Wiener Symposium zum internationalen Steurerecht" (Vienna Symposium on International Tax Law) which since then is held annually. In the following years other scientific events are held in English and international congresses follow on an annual basis e.g. Recent and Pending Cases at the ECJ , the Case Studies Conferences and Academic Conferences in Rust or the Tax Treaty Case Law around the Globe Conference first held in 2011.

1994: After being elected President of the Austrian International Fiscal Association (IFA), Wolfang Gassner launches an intensive collaboration between the Association and the Institute. Under his management the IFA organizes the IFA World Congress at the "Wiener Hofburg" in 2004. Former Vice President Michael Lang succeeds Wolfgang Gassner as President of the IFA. Josef Schuch and Claus Staringer become members of the Board of Directors. For the next ten years Michael Lang is also a member of the Permanent Scientific Committee of the IFA. He is then succeeded by Claus Staringer.

1997: The first symposium concerning constitutional court proceedings in tax matters was held in collaboration with the Institute for Austrian and European Public Law (Michael Holoubek) at the WU. Since that time the event is being held on an annual basis, dealing with topics on the frontier between Tax and Constitutional Law or other fields of Public Law and thus the cooperation of the institutes' academics with representatives of Constitutional and Administrative Law increases.

1998: The first study trip organized by the Institute leads to Luxembourg. Thanks to our sponsors we are able to organize study trips for our research associates and our best students to other European cities at the end of each summer term ever since. Up to 50 of the best candidates take part in an intensive program on Tax Law each year.

1998: The Institute becomes a member of the EUCOTAX (European Universities Cooperating on Taxes). EUCOTAX is a group of Tax Law Institutes from 12 European countries and the USA. Along with research cooperations it offers an intensive study program for students interested in research on Tax Law as well as international workshops held every year.

1999: The first full time and part time students enroll in the LL.M- program at the WU. The program is initiated by the Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law in cooperation with the Academy for public accountants (Akademie der Wirtschaftstreuhänder). In order to internationalize the program the courses are soon held in English only. The program´s 500 alumni of the last 13 years proceed their careers all over the globe. The faculty consists of scholars of all continents who come to WU regularly and who encourage cooperations in cross border research.

2002: The Institute becomes a training center of the Marie- Curie Fellowship. Financed by the European Commission it provides young international researchers the chance to spend up to 12 month at the WU. Hereafter, invitations for Research Fellowship Tenders are issued in cooperation with companies (e.g. OMV, Raiffeisen International, Mondi, Siemens, TPA) to promote scientific research at the WU itself. This initiative is especially targeted at members of CEE countries. A Visiting Scholars Program is introduced soon after to allow research stays of incoming visiting scholars, e.g. from China or South America. Five to ten scholars can pursue their research at the same time for the duration of a few months.

2003: Claus Staringer and Josef Schuch are appointed Professors at the Institute. They expand the curriculum and the research activities in the field of International Tax Law and Corporate Tax Law.

2003: Upon recommendation of international consultants the Special Research Field (SFB) on International Tax Coordination is established at WU. For the first time a program jointly organized by legal and economic experts was elected by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) .Within the framework of the SFB the researchers of our Institute cooperate with researches from other fields thus promoting cross disciplinary research. During the evaluation process in 2007 and 2010, the high quality of interdisciplinary Tax Law research at the WU is widely recognized by international consultants.

2005: Pasquale Pistone joins the team of Professors: as a result of a joint application made together with the Institute he started working as holder of the European Young Investigator (EURYI) Award and later on in frame of the ad personam Jean Monnet Chair.

2005: The WU adopts the three- cycle system promoted by the Bologna process. Undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Business Law are offered for the first time. Graduates of the Master´s Program in Business Law are qualified to enter professions in the core area of laws. The field of Tax Law is very important in these programs. Tax Law courses are also held in the economic and business administration graduate degrees offered by the WU (as mandatory or optional subjects).Since 2011 a new master degree in Taxation and Accounting puts emphasis on the Tax Law. Since 2005, building on the Master Program in Business Law and on other master or diploma degrees in Law offered at other universities, the doctoral program in Business Law provides the possibility for research associates and other PhD students to write their doctoral thesis on taxation.

2005: The first row of seminars on International and European Tax Law is held in cooperation with PwC. We offer 16 lectures by (mostly) international lecturers each academic year. The cooperation with consultant companies leads to other projects like the KPMG- WU workshop on Company Tax Law, the PwC Visiting Chairs for prominent international scientists, the semi- annual semester opening and closing parties to liaise with students, the two panel discussions a year on career perspectives in Tax Advisory Companies and Law Firms, the BDO Best Presentation Award and the PwC Best Bachelor thesis in Tax Law Award, the Ernst & Young Tax Challenge ( special program for bachelor thesis supervision) and the appointment of Deloitte, KPMG and PwC research assistants at the Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law.

2006: The WU participates for the first time in the European Tax Moot Court in Leuven (Belgium). In the following years our students repeatedly win or at least rank high on the competition and are awarded for their performance.

2008: Maria Sitkovich receives a newly created position of Administrative Director. Her main task is to coordinate the rising number of administrative staff, the conference organization and other activities of the Institute.

2009: Alfred Storck joins the Institute after being a leading manager of Tax Department and a Vice CFO of a global player.

2009: In the context of an international conference the Institute focuses on direct and indirect taxation and puts emphasis on the global development of the value added tax. More conferences on this topic follow in 2010 and 2012.

2011: The Doctoral Program in International Business Taxation (DIBT) for which researches of related academic disciplines are responsible is established by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). The DIBT takes over the cross disciplinary scientific research conducted by SFB (Special Research Field). Under its supervision the first students from Brazil, Mexico, Israel, Italy, Germany and Russia start their studies at the WU. These students with legal background work as research assistants at the Institute. English becomes the common working language also among the staff.

2012: Jeffrey Owens assumes the management of the Institute´s newly established WU Global Tax Policy Center and allows the Institute´s activities in the field of International Fiscal Policy to expand.

2013: WU - and along with it the Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law - moved to the brand new Campus in the Vienna Prater area, which had been designed by world famous architects. All staff members whose offices had previously been in various separate buildings, are now re-united in one building. Among the first events held on the new campus was the opening ceremony of the "Doppler Laboratory: Savings Taxation in a Globalized World" which had  been established by the Christian Doppler Society with friendly support of Deloitte.

2014: An additional chair is offered at the Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law. Alexander Rust, who was a full professor at the Université du Luxembourg before coming to Vienna, was appointed to this position. His appointment enhances the expertise of the Institute in the areas of International Tax Law and Tax Policy.