International and EU Tax law

Teaching hours and credit allocation: 16 hours, 3 credits

The general aim of this module is to provide students with a critical awareness of the established fundamental principles of international tax law and with an overview of public international law as it affects the allocation of jurisdiction to tax between nations. In particular, this course examines the clashes of different countries’ income tax systems which arise from international transactions, why these clashes arise and which types of laws may have an impact. Primary objective of this module is also to provide students with an understanding of the function of the OECD Model Income Tax Convention on the international tax system and the tax treaty networks of OECD countries. Students are also introduced to the decisions of the European Court of Justice as they affect the levy of income taxes on international commercial transactions within the EU.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students are expected to be able to:

  • understand the core principles of international taxation
  • create a framework for the analysis of international tax problems
  • develop knowledge of emerging trends in international taxation
  • understand a comparative analysis of tax law as it relates to commercial disputes
  • understand the national tax systems of Member States of the European Union in connection with the Community legal order
  • critically apply the principles of international law of treaties to jurisdictional disputes as selected for analysis
  • understand the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines
  • analyse the jurisprudence from courts around the world pertaining to transfer pricing issues and tax planning situations
  • advise businesses, governments and policy-makers on the issues which relate to transfer pricing and international tax planning


  • Jurisdiction to tax and the problem of international taxation
  • Methods of relief from international double taxation
  • The OECD and UN model treaties
  • Interpretation of tax treaties
  • International tax planning
  • International tax avoidance and tax heavens
  • Institutional framework and background to EU tax law
  • Impact of the fundamental freedoms on EU Member State systems of taxation
  • Harmonisation of Value Added Tax
  • EU Customs Code, Excises and Capital Duty
  • Harmonisation of Direct Taxes
  • State Aid rules and EU Member State  taxation
  • EU Member State co-operation and dispute resolution
  • Interaction of European Community tax law and international tax law