Rethinking International Tax Law

In recent years, the international tax planning strategies of multinationals have become a source of – often heated – debate. This course provides you with a solid understanding of international taxation by explaining the foundations and practice of international tax law and by addressing current developments and the ethical aspects of tax planning.

About The Course

There is strong momentum for changing the existing international tax law system. Countries worldwide have identified tax planning strategies of multinationals as a threat to their national tax revenues. They are taking action on an individual basis or jointly, for example under the flags of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)  and / or the European Union. Also, NGOs , the media and individual taxpayers  are increasingly making an appeal on those same multinational corporations to contribute their “fair share” in taxes.

The current developments in international taxation have many dimensions, but public debate does not always take them into account. Important questions do not always get the attention they deserve:

  • What constitutes international tax planning?
  • What are the international tax rules exactly?
  • What is the impact of tax loopholes on the way multinational enterprises structure their business?
  • Is it necessary to change the international tax rules?
  • If so, how should the rules be changed? 

This six module course provides you with a solid understanding of international taxation.

The course has two tracks, a basic track for those interested in getting an introduction to the recent developments in international tax law in light of its foundations, current practice and existing loopholes and an advanced track for those who already have experience in the field of international taxation. The advanced track offers in depth insight into specialist subjects and pending changes. For all participants the course offers opportunities (forum discussion, peer review assignments) to share with and learn from other participants around the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I get a Statement of Accomplishment for this course?

Learners who complete the course can find their course results and records on their Coursera Accomplishments page. For a small fee, or with financial aid, you can obtain a verified certificate


2. Do I earn Leiden University credits upon completion of this course?

No. The certificate of completion is not part of a formal qualification from Leiden University.


 3. What resources will I need for this course?

All course materials are freely available through open sources.


 4. What are the learning outcomes of this course and why should I take it?

At the end of the course, you can explain what the debate on international tax planning entails, including what are the rules of international tax law, current practice, recent developments and changes proposed. You will be able to recognize situations in which the debate on international tax planning may arise. Also, you will understand and can actively participate in discussions regarding the debate on international tax planning.


You will have a thorough understanding of:  

Basic Track

  • the international tax planning debate
  • the current international tax law rules, including transfer pricing
  • recent developments / proposed changes to international tax rules
  •  EU developments related to international tax law
  • ethical aspects related to the debate on international tax law  

Advanced track

Basic Track, plus:

  • different mechanisms used in international tax law systems
  • the OECD’s work on the BEPS project action points
  • relevant EU tax developments, legislation and case law  
  • viewpoints on international tax planning


 

5. Why do you offer this course for free?

Leiden University is grounded in a long standing tradition in providing students the space for obtaining a thorough and multifaceted education in law. This MOOC offers us the possibility to share our knowledge globally. Creating this MOOC is a collaboration between the International Tax Center Leiden (ITC Leiden) and the Institute of Tax Law and Economics at Leiden University.

Recommended Background

The course is interesting for a broad audience as well as for specialist participants. To accommodate both audiences, we offer two tracks:

  • basic track for those interested in getting an introduction to the recent developments in international tax law in light of its foundations, current practice and existing loopholes. Anybody interested in the debate on international tax planning can participate in this track.
  • advanced track for those who already have experience  in the field of international taxation, such as tax advisors, government tax policy makers, and students of international tax law. The advanced track offers in depth insight into specialist subjects and pending changes, with extra video-lectures, literature and assignments. 

For all participants the course offers opportunities (forum discussion, peer review assignments) to share with and learn from other participants around the world.