Principles of International Taxation

Module description


Students will be introduced to debates in a number of key topics in international taxation and latest research from a number of disciplinary perspectives including accounting, law, economics and politics.

Additional Information:

This module takes an international 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).

External Engagement
Guest lecturers from international tax practice regularly participate in the module.

Students develop their ability to analyse, research, and to write reports and essays. The core text for this module is one that is regularly used by practitioners, so students also develop practical skills through their work.

Full module specification

Module title:Principles of International Taxation
Module code:BEAM051
Module level:M
Academic year:2021/2
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Iva Guterres - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:



Available to students on the MSc Accounting and Finance programme



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


Module aims

This module aims to provide students with a thorough grounding in a number of key topics in international taxation, drawing on research and practices from around the globe. 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 international taxation including: alternative contexts (e.g. economic, social, cultural and political) within which international taxation operates; key components of the international taxation system including jurisdiction, residence and source; various techniques for dealing with the integration of tax systems, including double tax relief mechanisms, double tax agreements and other forms of international co-operation; and the role of supranational organizations such as the EC, OECD, United Nations and IMF in influencing and shaping the development of the international taxation system
  • 2. criticise and challenge theoretical perspectives on various dimensions of international taxation including capital import, export and ownership neutrality, tax completion and tax avoidance
  • 3. discuss and critically evaluate extant academic research relating to various key themes in international taxation
  • 4. integrate and synthesise module topics to discuss the key issues in international 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 criticism
  • 7. discuss and articulate different perspectives on contemporary issues
  • 8. demonstrate powers of integration and synthesis

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. demonstrate an ability to undertake independent study and manage time
  • 10. demonstrate effective written communication skills

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 & Teaching Activities33Lectures and discussion classes
Guided independent study33Preparation for discussion classes
Guided independent study84Reading 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

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
In-Class Test301 hour1-4Verbal and written feedback
Written Examination702 hours1-10Formal (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
In-Class Test (30%)1-hour in-class test (30%)1-4August examination period
Written Examination (70%)2-hour written examination1-10August examination period

Re-assessment notes

Students who fail the whole module will be re-assessed with an in-class test and/or summer examination, whichever is relevant as above

Syllabus plan

The module syllabus may change from year to year depending on current developments. Indicative topics covered are as follows:

  • Introduction to international taxation including a brief historical overview
  • Key aspects of international taxation – jurisdiction, residence, source
  • The double tax problem: what happens when two (or more) countries try to tax the same profits?
  • Bilateral and multilateral double tax agreements as mechanisms for overcoming double taxation
  • International tax planning for large multinational companies, including relationships with revenue
  • authorities in different jurisdictions
  • Tax avoidance and evasion in an international setting, including the role of tax havens
  • The role of supranational organizations in shaping the international tax environment
  • Tax competition and attempts at harmonisation
  • Tax and development

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Oats, L. and Mulligan, E. (2019) Principles of International Taxation, 7th Edition, Bloomsbury Professional.

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.

Other relevant texts:

Lymer, A. and Hasseldine, J. (2002) The International Tax System, Kluwer Academic Publishers. Braithwaite, J. and Drahos, P. (2000) Global Business Regulation, Cambridge University Press. Picciotto, S. (1992) International Business Taxation, Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


IBFD Tax Research Platform (available through the Exeter library electronic resources)


Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Relevant academic journals:


  • World Tax Journal (via IBFD Tax Research Platform)
  • International Bulletin for Fiscal Documentation (via IBFD Tax Research Platform)
  • International Tax Review
  • International Tax and Public Finance
  • Tax Law Review
  • Tax Adviser
  • European Taxation

Origin date


Last revision date