Theory and practice of international tax law

A.A. 2017/2018
Insegnamento per
Crediti massimi
Ore totali
Obiettivi formativi
The course first provides with a comprehensive overview of fundamental principles of International Tax Law which are embodied in domestic laws as well as in the tax treaty networks built with the recommendations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The course then aims to get into practice describing the most common tax regimes of multinational enterprises as well as the International tax avoidance, evasion and fraud techniques in order to demonstrate that countries are no longer free to adopt International tax rules they please but, rather, are obliged to operate in the context of circulating tax models, which change in the same ways International law changes over time. It is still possible to imagine unilateral actions, and sometimes there are indeed, but they more often generate unpredictable counteractions in the matrix of globalization. This is the reason why countries are generally becoming reluctant to take unilateral actions that violate the basic principles of International tax law.

Struttura insegnamento e programma

Edizione attiva
Lezioni: 42 ore
Docente: Cannas Francesco
In April 1961, a newly elected President John F. Kennedy launched an offensive against a phenomenon that he feared could undermine America's future: aggressive tax avoidance. He railed in Congress against the "unjustifiable" use of tax havens by a growing number of businesses to slash their tax liabilities at home and abroad. More than 50 years later, the political rhetoric seems to be identical all over the industrialized world, echoing Kennedy's broadside against "artificial arrangements". Once again, businesses are under fire for using corporate structures that shift profits to low-tax jurisdictions. Political anger is mounting over the low taxes paid elsewhere by multinationals such as Apple, Google, Starbucks and Amazon during an age of brutal cuts in International public spending, so undermining investments for any sustainable development.
However, it must be also clear that the aggressive tax planning of the last 20 years was certainly achieved with the complicity of governments themselves to cope with tax competition and tax arbitrage bearing the idea that the market would have driven investments for any sustainable development. This means that only governments together could review the International tax standards in order to dominate the difficulty of keeping up with changes in global business practices, such as the development of ecommerce in commercial activities.
Alternatively, if States believe to use their power to tax International transactions without cooperating each other, the future consequence would be a progressive increase: 1) of cases of double or more taxation, and 2) of cases of double non taxation through the use of offshore centers. Both scenarios would jeopardize any sustainable development and not even a super powerful Worldwide Tax Organization, which idea is time to time on the table of scholars all over the world, would solve the issue.


28/9/2016 The International Taxation between History, Law and Economics

29/9/2016 The Modern Principle of Worldwide Taxation
5/10/2016 Nationality versus Residence
6/10/2016 The Older Principle of Territorial Taxation
12/10/2016 The Genuine Link to Land: the Concept of Permanent Establishment of Foreign Taxpayers
13/10/2016 The Traditional Distinction Between Passive Income and Active Income
19/10/2016 The Scope of Transfer Pricing Legislation and its Methods
20/10/2016 The Scope of Controlled Foreign Companies (CFC) Legislation
26/10/2016 The sources of International Tax Law: the OECD Model Tax Treaty
27/10/2016 The sources of International Exchange of Tax Information
2/11/2016 The fundamental principles of European Tax Law (until Brexit)


3/11/2016 New Technology and International Taxation: Individual and Corporate Taxpayers Missing in Action
9/11/2016 From double taxation to double non taxation: the Google Double Irish with Dutch Sandwich
10/11/2016 The Base Erosion Profit Shifting (BEPS) project of the OECD against aggressive multinational corporate tax planning
16/11/2016 Towards a New International Corporate Tax Coherence?
17/11/2016 The Future of International Tax Treaties
23/11/2016 For a sustainable tax planning: The Good Governance in Tax Matters
24/11/2016 The UBS Scandal and the Abuse of Offshore Centers
30/11/2016 The International Tax Evasion and Fraud as Another Form of Terrorism
1/12/2016 Which Rights for the International Taxpayer?
7/12/2016 Conclusions: The Future of International Tax Law
Prerequisiti e modalità di esame
The final exam shall consist of a multiple choice questionnaire plus an oral conversation and shall be based on the topics carried on during the classes.
Metodi didattici
The attendance of the course is compulsory. Case studies and seminars shall be carried out during the course and shall constitute part of the final assessment. Classes shall be held from 28th September until 7th December 2016 (Wednesday and Thursday, 14:30/16:30), at Sala Riunioni Mercalli.
Materiale didattico e bibliografia
REUVEN S. AVI-YONAH, Advanced Introduction to International Tax Law, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015; (compulsory reading)
CHARLES ADAMS, For Good and Evil, The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization, Madison Books - Lanham Maryland, USA, 2001; (suggested reading)
PROFESSORS BRUINS, EINAUDI, SELIGMAN AND SIR JOSIAH STAMP, Report 1806 on Double Taxation, LEAGUE OF NATIONS, 1923; (suggested reading)
OECD/G20, Base Erosion Profit Shifting, at (suggested reading)
HUGH J. AULT, Comparative Income Taxation, A Structural Analysis, Kluwer Law International, 2010; (suggested reading)
ROGER PALAN, RICHARD MURPHY, CHRISTIAN CHAVAGNEUX, Tax Havens, How Globalization Really Works, Cornell University Press, 2010; (suggested reading)
Primo semestre
Primo semestre
Modalità di valutazione
Giudizio di valutazione
voto verbalizzato in trentesimi