Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 18 x 1 hour lectures per week
Seminars / Tutorials 4 example/tutorial classes over the module
Lecture 9 x 1 hour help class


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 3 Hours   Unseen written examination  100%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   Unseen written examination  Repeat failed element  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

* Describe why taxes are necessary in a civilized society, define taxation, outline the main features of the UK tax system and identify direct/indirect taxes, capital/current taxes and progressive/proportional and regressive taxes.

* Describe and apply the basic rules of UK taxation, in particular those relating to Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Corporation Tax, Inheritance Tax and Value Added Tax.

* Evaluate current bases of taxation in terms of their efficiency, equity and cost of compliance.

* Identify and critically discuss the key issues in taxation at the inter-state level.

* Critically discuss the possible influences of taxation on the functioning of capital markets.


This module is a core module to the SMB N310 (Business Finance) UG degree and an optional module to the N400 (Accounting and Finance) UG degree; it is also a popular option module for other UG degree schemes both within and outside the SMB.

The module is designed to provide students with an understanding of the principles underlying the design of an effective taxation system, an introduction to the UK Tax system, deferred taxation and an appreciation of the current policy issues in taxation, including public and private sector financing, which are essential subject matter within any high-quality undergraduate degree in accounting and/or finance; and which are expected by:

  • Honours Degree Subject Benchmark Statement: Accounting (2007), Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
Further, the module contributes to the maintenance of (or is anticipated to contribute to the achievement of [further]) accreditation from professional accountancy bodies, including:

  • Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland

Brief description

The module is designed to provide students with an understanding of the principles underlying the design of an effective taxation system, an introduction to the UK Tax system, and an appreciation of the current policy issues in taxation.

The module focuses on four main aspects: the economic characteristics and assessment of effective tax system design; a broad description of the UK tax system; international considerations including tax co-ordination, competition and the taxation of e-commerce; conceptual issues in tax planning and the impact of taxation on capital markets.

The module is available to all students from all disciplines. There are no prerequisites and a financial background is not needed.


The following topics are covered:

1. Introduction to taxation; including consideration of the objectives, the operation, scope and evaluation of taxation systems and sources of UK tax law and the classification of taxes.

2. The UK Tax System:
  • Income Tax; students need to explain and compute the income tax liabilities of individuals, including the effect of National Insurance contributions and benefits in kind,
  • Corporation Tax; students need to explain and compute the corporation tax liabilities of companies and groups of companies, including options for dealing with trading losses,
  • Capital Gains Tax; students need to explain and compute chargeable gains arising on companies and individuals
  • Inheritance Tax; students need to explain and compute Inheritance tax liabilities of individuals, including quick succession relief,
  • Value Added Tax; students need to explain and compute the effects of VAT.
3. Principles of Taxation: Incidence, efficiency, equity, flexibility, certainty, convenience, compliance and administrative costs (obligation of taxpayers, implication of non-compliance and ethical issues)

4. International Taxation: taxation of cross border transactions and interaction between jurisdictions. Topics covered include (but not limited to):
  • Factors affecting liability- Domicile, residence, ordinary residence
  • Residence principle, Source principle,
  • Companies residency
  • Double tax relief
  • Common avoidance practices- Tax havens, Transfer pricing, Controlled Foreign Corporations.
5. Current issues in tax policy: E-commerce, tax competition- EU actions and OECD and tax harmonization.

6. Principles of tax planning (tax evasion, tax avoidance) and capital market effects of taxation (implicit/explicit taxes).

Revision of content

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number * Apply numerical data to problem solving with care and accuracy * Evaluation of numerical problems in lecture and tutorial examples and appropriate examination questions.
Communication * Develop confidence in and clarity of oral communication via example class/tutorial participation * Develop clarity and focus of written communication via development of answers to self study questions * Develop and use appropriate subject-specific vocabulary in oral and written communication
Improving own Learning and Performance * Identify and distil the key issues covered by lectures, tutorials and self study * Identify and use a range of learning resources * Investigate benefits of small group working on self study * Structure study to accommodate intensive learning
Information Technology * Use a variety of electronic web- and library-based resources to review available information and retrieve pertinent information
Personal Development and Career planning * Preparation for seminar tasks will encourage initiative, independence and self-awareness.
Problem solving * Whilst being introduced to the UK Tax system, students need to explain and compute the income tax liabilities of individuals, the corporation tax liabilities of companies, the chargeable gains arising on companies and individuals, the Inheritance tax liabilities of individuals and Value Added Tax. Students also need to compare and apply the various methods for deferred taxation. * Scenario-based problems will be introduced in lectures, set as self study questions, applied in seminars and the examination.
Research skills * Identify which information sources are available to facilitate module study (understanding, wider reading) for use in seminars and examination. * Properly reference/attribute information sources
Subject Specific Skills * Develop competence in understanding and appropriately applying UK tax law. * Develop competence in understanding the current policy issues in taxation. Studying taxation engenders a focus on a dynamic subject area, which affects every member of society, thus is useful in both a personal and professional setting. The topic also focuses on ethics, which is relevant to most professional settings.
Team work * Develop experience of team work and develop team working skills via small group working on self study * Group work during seminars

Reading List

Supplementary Text
In addition to these texts students are required to read a number of journal articles. A full reading list and module outline will be avaliable via blackboard and will be distributed in the first lecture. Primo search
Should Be Purchased
Lymer, A and Oats, L (2013-14) Taxation: Policy and Practice, (Previous editions can be used if allowance is made for subsequent change in legislation) 20th edition Fiscal Publications. Primo search
Recommended Text
The following four texts will be required reading for parts of the module. There is no one single textbook that covers the syllabus. Instead students are recommended to have ready access to these three books listed below and the Lymer and Oats book listed above. Primo search (2002) The International Taxation System, edited by A Lymer and J Hasseldine, Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers Primo search James, S and Nobes, C (2013/2014) Economics of Taxation, 13th edition Fiscal publications Primo search Scholes, M S, Wolfson, M A, Erickson, M, Maydew, E L and Shevlin, T (2008) Taxes and Business Strategy: A Planning Approach, 4th edition Prentice Hall Primo search Stiglitz, J E (2000) Economics of the Public Sector, 3rd edition W W Norton & Company Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6