Taxation Policy and Practice

Module description


In this module you will develop the knowledge and skills necessary to evaluate alternative forms of taxes and their effects on economies and societies. You will consider tax policy from economic, political and legal perspectives and also analyse the practical operation of tax systems including tax administration and ethical issues.

Additional Information:

This module takes a policy perspective on taxation and considers examples from all over the world.


All of the resources for this module are available on the ELE (Exeter Learning Environment).

Students will develop their ability to analyse, research, and to write reports and essays.

Full module specification

Module title:Taxation Policy and Practice
Module code:BEA2014K
Module level:2
Academic year:2015/6
Module lecturers:
  • Professor Lynne Oats - Convenor
  • Mr Martin Edhouse - Lecturer
  • Mrs Nicky Thomas - Lecturer
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:


Module aims

The aim of this module is to develop your analytical and critical thinking skills with particular reference to tax policy. Taxation is interdisciplinary, and it is important to understand how tax policy comes into being and what factors influence the choices made by governments in designing tax systems. While particular reference will be made to the UK tax system, the module will also give you the opportunity to explore tax policy in other countries and bring under consideration the differing political, social and cultural influences that impact on how tax systems work in practice. 

Students will be encouraged to be inquisitive, and critical of contemporary developments; developing their ability to integrate and synthesise different topics and approaches in order to enter into current debates.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. describe, compare, contrast and critically evaluate various key aspects of tax policy including: Alternative contexts (e.g. economic, social, cultural and political) within which tax systems operate • features of different forms of taxation and their effects on the economy and society, with particular reference to the UK tax system.
  • 2. criticise and challenge theoretical perspectives on various dimensions of taxation
  • 3. discuss and critically evaluate extant academic research relating to various key themes in tax policy
  • 4. integrate and synthesise module topics to discuss the key issues in taxation theory and practice; comment on the associated current debates, and suggest potential future areas for development

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. demonstrate powers of research in the academic literature and texts
  • 6. demonstrate powers of academic literature critique
  • 7. discuss and articulate different perspectives on contemporary issues
  • 8. demonstrate powers of integration and synthesis

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. use information technology for information retrieval and report production
  • 10. demonstrate an ability to work independently as well as in groups, including time management and developing effective and efficient study techniques

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22 (11 x 2 hour lectures)Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities10 (10 x 1 hour)Tutorials
Guided Independent Study20Preparation for discussion classes
Guided Independent Study98Reading and Research

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Weekly tasks for debate and discussionIn class1-10In class
On-line activitiesQuizzes available through textbook website1-10Answers given immediately; additional individual feedback/assistance as required by individual student

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group assignment203,000 words1-10Generic and individual (group) feedback.
Written examination802 hours1-8Formal (departmental/ university channels)

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Group assignment Individual 2000 word essay1-10For submission in August/September assessment period
2 hour examination2 hour examination (80%)1-8August/September assessment period

Re-assessment notes

Where you have been referred/ deferred for the exam, you will the opportunity to take a second exam in the August/ September re-assessment period.

Syllabus plan

  • Nature and forms of taxation, evaluating forms of taxation
  • Development of tax policy in different settings
  • Specific taxes: Income tax, corporation tax, capital taxes, VAT.
  • Taxation, incentives and taxpayer behaviour
  • Tax administration, tax avoidance and ethics


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Lymer, A and Oats, L. (2015) Taxation Policy and Practice, 22nd Edition, Birmingham, Fiscal Publications.

In addition, various research and practice oriented articles and reports will be recommended and some made available in hard copy throughout the course of the module.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Other resources: Relevant academic journals

  • British Tax Review
  • International Tax Review
  • International Tax and Public Finance
  • Tax Law Review
  • Tax Adviser
  • European Taxation

Origin date


Last revision date