For the latest 2018-2019 annual course schedule please click here.
The annual course schedule is subject to changes with short notice. The ITC Leiden should not be held responsible for this.
The LLM (Adv.) Program in International Tax Law is divided into two terms (semesters), which comprise the following compulsory courses:
All four sections of this course aim at bringing the students, who arrive with quite varying backgrounds in international tax law, up to the same advanced level for the substantive courses that follow. As the position of tax law in graduate school curricula varies enormously around the globe, it is important that students with different graduate training backgrounds in international tax law are given the opportunity to equalize their knowledge. The first part of the Fundamentals course is the ‘Introduction to international tax law’. It provides an overview of the basics of international tax jurisdiction and of (the relief of) juridical and economic double taxation. The second part of the Fundamentals course focuses on basic concepts of income taxation – another topic in respect of which students may have quite different backgrounds, as the taxation course(s) they have taken in their home country may be too focused on their particular domestic tax system to provide an adequate basis for the great many different aspects of (international) taxation that they will be dealing with in the Program. The third part of the course deals with tax accounting. Experience of the past years has shown that many students arrive with different tax accounting backgrounds due to divergences in the accounting principles adopted worldwide. This course will harmonize such divergences at a higher level. The fourth part of the course (Selected international issues of corporate taxation) aims at familiarizing students with the international dimensions of selected advanced corporate tax issues. As in the later courses various corporate tax aspects of international tax law are touched upon, it is important that students are familiar with the underlying concepts.
This course begins with a discussion of the general aspects of the OECD Model Double Taxation Convention (policy, background and development), of the scope of the Model and the general definitions it employs, and of tax treaty interpretation. Next, the treaty attribution rules are analysed with regard to business and professional income (Art. 7), transportation income (Art. 8), real property income (Art. 6), dividends (Art. 10), interest (Art. 11), royalties (Art. 12) and capital gains (Art. 13). Subsequently, after the intermediate exam, attention is focused on the treaty attribution rules with respect to services, including employment and pension income (Art. 15 through 20), other income (Art. 21) capital (Art. 22) and double taxation relief (Art. 23A-B). The course is concluded by discussions of the technically complex subjects such as e-commerce, beneficial ownership & international tax avoidance, partnerships, triangular cases, financial instruments and international trade dispute resolution in tax matters and by a detailed discussion of tax treaty policy issues. Teaching is offered in different forms. The core of the instruction is formed by lectures, which focus on the basic rules of the various treaty provisions, and on their operation and application. In addition there are workshops where the subject matter of the lectures will be further discussed by the Teaching Assistants (TAs) through cases.
Basic Transfer Pricing
This course provides an overview of the history and current practice of transfer pricing. The course combines theoretical and practical approaches, using examples and case studies to illustrate the key concepts learnt. The theoretical framework follows primarily the recommendations of the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the US regulations, with some additional concepts drawn from the legislation of other countries. The examples and case studies are taken from the practitioners’ experience and case law. The program tries to emphasize the multidisciplinary nature of transfer pricing and draws from the fields of taxation, economics, accounting, business management and law to provide the students with the basic knowledge required to understand advanced transfer pricing problems.
Basic EU Tax Law
Introduction to European Union institutions, instruments and law; brief introduction to the EU Parent-Subsidiary, Merger, Interest & Royalties, and Savings Directives; attempts to harmonize (company) income tax rules on cross border income; general discussion on case law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on application on the free movement and nondiscrimination provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) to cross-border (company) income tax issues. The TFEU’s rules on state aid are analyzed along with the EU Code of Conduct on harmful tax practices. The latter subject is also reviewed from the OECD perspective. Teaching will be offered in a variety of forms. The core of the instruction is formed by lectures, which focus on the EU tax law matters described above. In addition there are workshops where the subject matter of the lectures will be further discussed by the Teaching Assistants (TAs), particularly on the ECJ case law and the EU Council Directives. It is a fascinating course as this branch of law is rather young and particularly in the income tax area still rather undeveloped. The EC Court of Justice’s rulings belong to the few guides in this largely unexplored domain. Based on non-EU alumni feedback this course is important, however the impact of the harmonisation of income taxation within the European Union is of limited interest worldwide. Whereas few of the students will work in the future with a specialty in this area, most will encounter the subject occasionally and it is considered very useful to reduce the compulsory course to four weeks. To those interested to go more in-depth, an elective advanced course is offered, i.e Advanced EU Tax Law.
Advanced EU Tax Law – elective course
This course is designed for students and practitioners who already have a basic knowledge of EU Tax Law and are interested in learning more about some of the core issues. In-depth discussion of the EU Parent-Subsidiary, Merger, Interest & Royalties, and Savings Directives; attempts to harmonize (company) income tax rules on cross border income; in-depth case law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on application on the free movement and nondiscrimination provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) to cross-border (company) income tax issues. The TFEU’s rules on state aid are analyzed along with the EU Code of Conduct on harmful tax practices. The latter subject is also reviewed from the OECD perspective. Furthermore insight is provided in the considerations on the side of Governments in shaping their international tax policy through domestic tax law and tax treaties. Teaching will be offered in a variety of forms. The core of the instruction is formed by lectures, which focus on the EU tax law matters described above. In addition there are workshops where the subject matter of the lectures will be further discussed by the Teaching Assistants (TAs), particularly on the EU Council Directives. This course deals with EU Tax Law at a more advanced level than the basic EU Tax Law course to be held in February each year.
International Estate and Trust Taxation
It involves the taxation of individuals with respect to their cross-border wealth and possible planning techniques to reduce the overall tax burden imposed as a result of multi-jurisdictional tax imposition. Special attention is paid to the employment of trusts and their taxation. Whereas few of them will work in the future with a specialty in this area, most will encounter the subject occasionally and – in view of its own notions, rules and issues – it is considered very useful to include it as one of the smaller courses in the Program.
Customs Duties and Excise Taxes
Due to market globalisation, there has been significant increase in world trade. The increase in international trade and commerce has caused companies and tax advisers to pay greater attention to the international customs legislation for their tax planning activities. The course provides an overview of the development of current international customs rules. Emphasis is placed on the most relevant rules which are aimed at reducing the burden of customs duty globally and achieving efficiency of imports and exports through simplified customs procedures. Special focus is also placed on the harmonised EC legislation. Also this course has a rather narrow and technical scope. It was included only recently in the Program as most students in their later career will encounter issues from this area and basic knowledge of this otherwise inaccessible area is quite useful.
Advanced Transfer Pricing – elective course
The Advanced Transfer Pricing course has been designed for students and practitioners who already have basic knowledge in the field of transfer pricing and are interested to further their knowledge and understanding in this area. It includes subjects such as: location savings and transfer pricing adjustments, the application of the profit-split method, the application of evaluation techniques to intangibles, supply chain restructuring, and selected issues on financial services. These topics are dealt through an in-depth analysis from both a theoretical and a practical perspective and involve current business models applied by multinational enterprises (e.g., matrix-type organizational structures, hub structures, co-entrepreneurial structures). The course also deals with the particularities of different industries (such as: fashion, fast-moving consumer goods, pharmaceutical) with references to industry analysis, functional analysis, distribution policy, intercompany services and benchmarking analysis. In addition to the lectures, the course features workshops in which real-life case studies are analyzed. For example, there is a workshop dealing with database search where the various steps of such a search (e.g., NACE Codes selection for defining the initial sample, timing of origin of comparable data, application of quantitative screening criteria such as independence and turnover threshold, web and financial statements analysis) are examined and discussed in detail through an analysis of the issues based on examples from tax practice. Also the interaction between transfer pricing and indirect taxes (i.e., customs and VAT) is dealt with addressed in a specific section.
US International Tax Law
The body of domestic and international tax law of the United States constitutes one of the most bewildering and complex tax systems in today’s world. As international tax lawyers almost without exception frequently deal with transactions and investments involving the United States, a comprehensive study of US international tax law is a must for providing the students with insight in the international aspects of the tax law system of this important country.
Corporate International Tax Planning
During the last two decades tax practice has become increasingly international. This course provides a survey of basic techniques employed in international tax planning. It covers basic tax planning techniques for multinational groups, with insights in the domestic legislation of major economies and case law on the subject. Supply chain management structures are discussed, taking into account the basic principles of domestic legislations and their interaction with tax treaties. It provides detailed analyses of acquisition techniques, with a special focus on private equity and venture capital. The course also deals with the tax treatment of derivatives and other financial instruments often used in practice and it covers in general terms the accounting issues arising in relation to the above-mentioned subjects. By the end of the course students have gained a thorough knowledge of the principles underlying international tax planning, how to apply them in practice and what issues must be taken into account when developing or examining tax planning structures.
US Domestic Tax Law (US Corp + US Indiv) – elective
This course covers the basics of federal income taxation of individuals, corporations and partnerships. Different from some of the other LLM International Tax Programs in the world, this Program is focused on true international rather than comparative tax law. One exception is made, as the study of a foreign tax system makes the student aware of the policy choices made in the design of his or her own country’s tax system. The choice was made for US domestic tax law as it has the greatest overall impact on multinational commerce and investment.
Value-Added Tax Law – elective course
The course provides an overview of the concepts and principles of value added tax. Students will learn about the most important value added tax issues, which anyone dealing with value added tax in the European Union is confronted with and needs to master. While VAT originally was only an EU type of tax (conceived in the 1960s) in later decades many countries have adopted this ingenuous type of consumption tax. At the same time, its theoretical framework and its function as a tax policy instrument is rarely taught, reason for us to add it to the Program’s curriculum a few years ago. It aims are: acquiring insight in the instrumental use of this tax and obtain the knowledge of its application.
Adv LLM paper
In addition to the courses described above, students must write an Adv LLM paper on a topic agreed upon with the Program Board. The Adv LLM paper must address and analyse a substantive issue of tax law of an international nature, and may not be merely descriptive or comparative. The Adv LLM paper ought to be of publishable quality. Lists with suggested thesis topics are distributed in March. Students are strongly suggested to decide on their Adv LLM paper topic by the end of April or early May. At that time Adv LLM paper discussion sessions are organised. The research and writing process is supervised by selected teachers of the Program. This approach, which has been developed over the past five years, turns out to create a highly stimulating setting for all students to start truly focusing on their Adv LLM paper.