Comparative Taxation

Module description

In this module you 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.

Full module specification

Module title:Comparative Taxation
Module code:BEAM058
Module level:M
Academic year:2020/1
Module lecturers:
  • Dr John D'Attoma - Convenor
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.  The module will also give you the opportunity to explore tax policy in a range of countries and bring under consideration the differing political, social and cultural influences that impact on how tax systems work in practice.

You will learn through a combination of taught sessions and group activities.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Analyse the economic, cultural and social development of taxation policies in a global setting.
  • 2. Evaluate features of different forms of taxation and their effects on the economy and society.
  • 3. Critically evaluate various techniques of tax administration for different forms of taxation and in different settings

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Explain and justify the need for, and forms of, taxation in all countri
  • 5. Discuss the ethical dimension of tax practice in a range of settings.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Demonstrate research skills, analytical skills and critical thinking.
  • 7. Demonstrate problem solving 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 and teaching activities30Attending taught sessions
Activities undertaken in preparation for taught sessions40Preparation for taught sessions
Reflection, reading and preparation for assessment80Background reading, critical self-reflection, preparation and submission the final essay

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
In-class exercises20 hours1-7Tutor feedback

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 Project102,000 words1-7Discussion with tutor
Final Essay904,000 words1-7Individual written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Group Project (10%) & Essay (90%)Essay (100%) 4,000 words1-7July

Re-assessment notes


Syllabus plan

The syllabus covers the following areas:

  • Tax System Design and Structure
  • Personal Income Taxes
  • Corporate Income Taxes
  • Capital or Wealth Taxes
  • Consumption Taxes
  • Environmental Taxes
  • Tax complexity and Tax compliance
  • Lessons from Tax Reform and Future Directions

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading


  • Evans, Hasseldine, Lymer, Ricketts and Sandford, (2017) Comparative Taxation Fiscal Publications, Birmingham

Additional Guidance will be provided by the Module Convener.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

You will have access to an online searchable resources database, with links to several eBooks available through the Exeter Learning Environment (ELE).  Within this environment, you will also be supported through online discussion forums and activities.


Indicative learning resources - Other resources


  • IBFD Tax Research Platform
  • OECD Platform


Relevant academic journals:

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

Origin date


Last revision date