Course I: European Tax Law
The course deals with the effect of the fundamental freedoms and of the tax directives on domestic tax law. We will analyze the parent-subsidiary directive, the interest and royalty directive and the merger directive as well as their implementation in Austrian tax Law. In addition, the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union on the fundamental freedoms will be closely examined.
Having attended the course the students will be able to analyze whether Austrian tax law is in compli-ance with EU law.
The basics of European Tax Law will be taught in a classical lecture. We will analyze particular problems in the form of case studies.
Prerequisites to pass the course are: Exam: 80%; Class participation: 10%; Clicker: 10%.
Course II: International Tax Law
Why study international tax law? As Benjamin Franklin used to say, in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. Taxes though are a critical factor for individuals, businesses and the States. And this is also true in a cross border context. International tax law affects our daily operations and our relations with other States in the context of international mobility and trade.
In the old days, taxes may have been a single state’s local affaire. However, in our increasingly global-ized and digitalized world, taxes become more central for international policy design!
Who gains? Who loses? What international tax law can do about it? Where is the dividing line between legal certainty and permissible tax planning on the one hand, and the measures aimed at combating abusive practices, on the other?
Answering the above questions and understanding how the global tax environment functions is at the core of the international tax law course. Apart from the policy questions, the course will also address more technical topics following the structure of double tax treaties. Moreover, we will add a further layer of complexity for those who are operating in the European Union by demonstrating how certain rules of the Union law interact with double tax treaties and domestic measures. During this course, stu-dents will be able to solve complex questions of international tax law following theory and case studies analysis. The students will also be encouraged to make the first steps into developing critical thinking about the international tax agenda.
More specifically, the course tends to cover the following topics:
• Introduction to the concepts of jurisdiction to tax, double taxation, double non-taxation
• Scope of Tax Treaties
• Allocation rules part 1 (Art 7 and 9 OECD Model Convention)
• Allocation rules part 2 (Art. 10 to 12 OECD Model Convention)
• Allocation rules part 3 (Art. 15 to 20 OECD Model Convention)
• Methods of elimination of double taxation
• Anti-avoidance measures
Prerequisites to pass the course are : Participation: 40%; Exam: 60%.
Course III: Transfer Pricing
The 20th century was the age of globalization, which highly influenced business and taxation. While the multinational enterprises (MNEs) took advantage of new possibilities and established their activities all around the world, international policymakers and local authorities faced the challenge of adapting the regulations to the new reality to prevent increasing abuses.
Transfer pricing (TP) is at the forefront of these changes. It is a tool ensuring that MNEs are taxed fairly and under market conditions in each country where they operate. Such rules are needed since 80% of
transactions in global trade are performed within MNEs. Even though TP has its roots in tax law, it con-nects legal and economic aspects of business. With the fast-paced globalization, TP has recently gained
more significance than ever. Many high-profile cases of giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook or Amazon prove the central role of transfer pricing in tax schemes. The ongoing international discussion on the taxation of new digital business models will ensure that TP remains one of the most topical and debated branches of international tax law.
With the above in mind, this course aims to familiarize you with the meaning of TP and its basic con-cepts during six following classes:
• What is this all about? The fundamentals of TP.
Our course starts with the fundamental questions, such as what is TP and why do we need it. We will discuss its historical background and contemporary approaches. International developments and the legal basis for TP in domestic law systems will also be addressed.
• Act as if you do not know each other: the arm’s length principle (ALP).
Arm’s length principle is at the heart of TP, accepted and used all over the world. Here we discuss what this principle is about and how we apply it.
• How to decide whether your deal is at arm’s length? The application of the ALP.
Having introduced the ALP, we go through the steps for its application, such as the delineation of the
actual transaction and its comparison with transactions on the free market through functions, assets
and risks analysis and comparability analysis.
• TP methods: all the intricacies of pricing transactions under free market conditions.
You will learn about the methods used to set prices at arm’s length. The correct choice of a method
is one of the primary points of focus of any tax audit and hence it is crucial to make the right choice
when assessing the transaction.
• You failed to deal at arm’s length and what now? TP adjustments.
During this session you will get to know what happens when the TP established by an MNE cannot be
considered to be at arm's length. You will see what tax authorities can do in such a situation, what the
consequences on the taxes paid are and what administrative complexities are involved.
• The art of storytelling and evidence building using TP documentation.
You will learn about the basics of TP documentation and the importance of additional evidence in def-
ending the position of an MNE.
• Don’t want to have any disputes with tax authorities in the future? Know how to avoid/minimize TP disputes.
During this session you will get to know different legal options available for taxpayers to obtain cert-
ainty on TP in order to avoid disputes.
• Already in a dispute with the tax authorities? Your options to resolve the disputes.
Some TP disputes are unavoidable and hence we want to discuss international dispute resolution
mechanisms and their interplay with domestic remedies. We will identify characteristics of these
mechanisms and discuss their procedural aspects.
• ‘Permanent what?’ Permanent establishments and profit attribution.
Sometimes MNEs conduct business in a number of countries without a registered company there, but
with a permanent establishment (PE). Meanwhile, the host countries of such PEs want to tax profits
generated on their territory. In this session, you will learn how to attribute profits to PEs.
After the course, you will be familiar with the concept of transfer pricing as well as the modes of its ap-plication and specific intricacies connected with it.
Every unit of the course will consist of two parts – a lecture on the specific topic of the class and case studies to show the practical impact of the issues discussed. The first case study will be discussed by the lecturers with the entire class, whereas the second case study will have to be solved entirely by the
students during each class, divided into groups of 4-5 persons and afterwards presented in front of the other participants.
Prerequisites to pass the course are: Participation: 20%; Exam: 80%
Course IV: Tax Law in Practice – The tax departments of multinational corporations
The aim of the course is to give a comprehensive overview of the activities and the organization of tax departments of multinational corporations. The various tasks are explained reaching from the classic areas of securing tax compliance, tax advice and optimization through to tax reporting, illustrated by "real" cases. Additionally, various forms of organizations will be discussed. In this context, the principles of "tax accounting" - ie the determination of deferred and current taxes – will be conveyed and typical interface issues of tax advice are discussed.
After completion of the course, students will be able to:
• record the key group-relevant specialist topics.
• understand the practical dimensions of tax issues in the context of multinational corporations.
• understand the effects of tax consultancy with other areas.
• identify and effectively address evolving needs for advice.
• understand the accounting effects of various transactions on the tax position under IFRS and to determine the effective tax rate.
The course envisages a continuous active participation of the students and builds on a mix of lecture, discussion and work on case studies. Since specialist topics and their practical applicability are dis-cussed, students are required to think in new directions.
Prerequisites to pass the course are: Participation: 30%; Exam: 70%
Course V. a): EU tax policy in the area of direct taxation
This course introduces students to the basics of EU tax law using case studies. The systematics of EU law as well as tax policy developments, especially in the last decade, will be taught. In addition, stu-dents will learn about the functioning of the most important EU directives as well as basic CJEU juris-prudence and the Commission's coordination efforts in the area of direct taxation.
After completion of the course, the students are able to:
• Understand and explain the main features of EU tax law.
• Recognize the systematics of the most important directives in the field of direct taxation.
• Assess international circumstances from the point of view of EU law in terms of tax law.
• Independently process and analyse complex EU tax law issues and practical cases
• Form one's own opinion on the basis of specialist literature and case law.
• Discuss questions at a scientifically high level.
By discussing and solving case studies, students learn the basics of EU tax law. In addition, tax policy issues and developments will be discussed. Within the framework of this course, current special ques-tions of EU tax law will also be discussed.
Prerequisites to pass the course are: Exam: 60%; Participation in the discussion: 20%; Participation in solving the cases: 20%
Course V. b): Digitalization and Tax Law
The course deals with the principles of tax types in European law and domestic tax law. The specifics of exemplary tax types are examined. The different tax types are legally embedded in process elements. This is the basis for an understanding of what digitization in taxes means. Tax law in a digitized world will give a new picture for the tax consulting professions and tax authorities. This will result in a multitude of new tax research approaches. In the Lectures the principles of Digitalization will be explained in so called buzzword sessions. The relevance and the consequences of process management combined with tax law and digital application will be shown in concrete so called use cases.
With above in mind, this course aims to familiarize the students with the meaning of digitalization of tax law and its basic concepts during six classes covering the following topics:
- Tax law in the perspective of digitalization
- The digital buzzwords upskilling to get the principles in a right order
- Process management for tax law
- Identification of law sentences for process steps
- Variation of automation potentials
- First so called use cases examples
Having attended the course, the students will be able to analyze whether Austrian and international cross border EU tax law are ready to be automize to some extent. They will learn about Business Process Mining as a fundament for digitization of law. The will be able to understand the digital buzzwords and will take these into the Use case perspective as a basis for further automation. Upon completion of the course, students will have the knowledge of the following issues:
- Legal basis for the digital applications
- The idea of Business Process Mining in international tax law
- Digital methods and their application
- The path to go for first implementation of use cases in a structured way
Every unit of the course will consist of two parts:
- A lecture on the specific topic of the class and case studies to show the practical impact of the issues discussed. The first case study will be discussed by the lectures with the entire class, whereas the second case study will have to be solved entirely by the students during each class, divided into groups of 4-6 people and afterwards presented in front of the other participants.
- In addition a digital buzzword sessions will be based on an online lecture and
- literature examinations will take place in the groups mentioned before. The results of the literature examination will be presented in front of the other participants as well.
Students will be assessed on the basis of two components: activities in the class room like the group result presentations (20% of the final grade) and the final exam (80% of the final grade). Points for the activity in the class will be assigned after every unit, taking into account students’ participation in solving case studies and presenting literatures examinations. Activity points will be included in determining the final grade only if the student passes the final exam.