Syllabus for Master Programme in International Tax Law and EU Tax Law
Magisterprogram i internationell skatterätt och EU-skatterätt
- 60 credits
- Programme code: JIE2N
- Established: 2012-09-03
- Established by: The Faculty Board of Law
- Revised: 2016-10-14
- Revised by: The Faculty Board of Law
- Reg. no: JURFAK 2016/70
- Syllabus applies from: Autumn 2017
- Responsible faculty: Faculty of Law
- Responsible department: Department of Law
A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. The main field of study must be Law or Legal Science.
Also required is 15 credits in tax law, or equivalent, documented knowledge.
All applicants need to verify English language proficiency that corresponds to English studies at upper secondary (high school) level in Sweden ("English 6"). This can be done in a number of ways, including through an internationally recognised test such as TOEFL or IELTS, or through previous upper secondary (high school) or university studies.
The minimum test scores are:
- IELTS: an overall mark of 6.5 and no section below 5.5
- TOEFL: Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1–6) in written test and a total score of 575. Internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0–30) in written test and a total score of 90
- Cambridge: CAE, CPE
Decisions and Guidelines
Determined on September 3, 2012, by the Board of the Faculty of Law, Uppsala University. The education plan enters into force the autumn semester 2013. Revised on May 18, 2015, the revisions enter into force the autumn semester 2014. Revised on October 14, 2016, the revisions enter into force the autumn semester 2017.
The programme is 60 university points (60 ECTS credits) and is a Master programme at advanced level. The teaching is held in English.
The general objective is to provide a deep understanding of major issues of international and EU tax law. International tax law refers to both domestic law that has international aspects and tax treaty law. Domestic tax law that is of interest concerns for example how to determine unlimited and limited tax liability, withholding taxes on cross-border income, and national law on the avoidance of double taxation. When relevant, these types of legislation will be discussed from a comparative perspective including special consideration of the legislation of the United States. Tax treaties are treaties of public international law concluded by states. The aim of tax treaties is to mitigate the effects of international double taxation and, increasingly, to prevent tax avoidance. Most tax treaties are modelled according to the OECD Model Tax Convention and the United Nations Model Tax Convention. The application and interpretation of tax treaties concluded according to these models will be thoroughly dealt with. In addition, European law has an increasing impact on the tax legislation of the Member states and it affects both investors within in the EU and investors from other states. The programme includes the study of the effects of the primary law of the European Union on direct taxation (mainly the fundamental freedoms and the State aid provisions), as well as the secondary law that has been agreed upon by the Member States (the anti-avoidance directive, the merger directive, the parent-subsidiary directive, the interest-royalties directive, the savings directive and the directive on the exchange of information). The programme includes also an introduction to value added taxation (VAT).
The general learning approach of the law programme at the Faculty of Law, Uppsala university, relies on problem-oriented and case-based seminars with a high degree of student activity. Students are expected to prepare the seminars in groups of three to five students, present their answers at the seminar, and discuss them with fellow students and the teacher. The teacher guarantees that the discussion holds the appropriate level and that the outcome can be considered as right.
The Uppsala Law Faculty has a strong section dealing with tax law, with two professors and several senior lecturers and doctoral candidates. In varying degrees they will all take an active part in the Master programme.
The programme also has an academic board consisting of academics, practitioners and judges from several countries. The objective of the board is to provide input to the programme in the form of ideas, knowledge and expertise from different fields of the legal profession and from other countries. Members of the board will also participate as guest lecturers.
After having completed the course, students should have the ability:
to understand the relationship between tax treaties, EU law and strictly national law,
to understand the method for applying tax treaties,
to be able to interpret tax treaties by applying different sources of law stemming from both national law and international law (in particular the OECD MTC),
to understand the fundamentals of transfer pricing,
to understand the principles of US international tax law,
to use a comparative approach to law and discuss central features of a national tax system,
to be able to write a thesis on international or EU tax law fulfilling requirements on objectivity, structure, analytical reasoning, independence and successfully defend the conclusions as well as opposing on another thesis.
Layout of the Programme
The Master programme will contain the following courses. The first course will be an introduction to fundamentals of international taxation (15 ECTS credits). It will include principles for international taxation, the problem of international double taxation and mechanisms for mitigating such double taxation. Fundamental principles of EU law and the reasoning of the European Court of Justice will also be covered. The first course will begin with a general introduction to the Uppsala model of seminar-based learning and critical legal methods. The objective is to provide a common approach to learning for the coming courses.
The second course deals with tax treaty law and transfer pricing (15 ECTS credits). The students will learn how to apply and interpret tax treaties based on the OECD and UN Model Tax Conventions. The application of articles concerning business income, dividends, interest, royalties, and dispute resolution will, among other issues, be discussed. Different forms for elimination of double taxation will also be subject to study. A number of different tax treaties will be studied, including tax treaties with developing countries formed according to the UN Model Tax Convention. The course also includes a study of transfer pricing, including an analysis of the transfer pricing methods and models, as well as the attribution of profits to permanent establishments.
The third course covers EU tax law (15 ECTS credits). The course includes the study of the effects of the primary law of the European Union on direct taxation (mainly the fundamental freedoms and the State aid provisions), as well as the secondary law that has been agreed upon by the Member States (the anti-avoidance directive, the merger directive, the parent-subsidiary directive, the interest-royalties directive, the savings directive and the directive on the exchange of information). The course includes also an introduction to value added taxation (VAT).
A standing feature will be teaching by an international guest professor.
The programme ends with a course where the students individually write a thesis (15 ECTS credits). The subject of the thesis should be decided by the student in dialogue with his or her supervisor. The teachers of the programme courses will also serve as supervisors.
Exchange student or international student can, if there are particular circumstances, write a Master's thesis covering 30 credits on distance. This exception only exists if it can be ensured that the student will have some supervision from a teacher at Uppsala University. In such a case the third course of the programme, in EU law, covering 15 credits, will not be eligible.
To the extent possible the students will be able to have a voluntary two-week internship with a law firm, accountancy firm, court or with the Swedish Tax Agency during the period of writing the final thesis of the programme. The students will get an insight into the practical everyday life of working with tax law issues and they may also get practical input on their thesis.
Several study visits to law firms, accountancy firms, courts and the Swedish Tax Agency will also take place.
The teaching is focused on seminars where students discuss cases previously prepared in smaller groups of three to five students. There are also lectures and visits to the Swedish Tax Agency, law firms and accountancy firms.
The grades given for the courses are Fail (U), and the passing grades Pass (B), Pass with credit (Ba) and Pass with distinction (AB).
The programme leads to a Master of Laws (60 credits) LLM.