Module Identifier LA37010  
Academic Year 2000/2001  
Semester Intended For Use In Future Years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Other staff Ms Allison Coleman, Mr Andrew Campbell  
Pre-Requisite LA10110 or LA30110 or LA15710  
Course delivery Lecture   20 Hours  
  Seminar   4 Hours  
Assessment Exam   2 Hours   100%  
  Resit assessment   By Examination    

General description
"But in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death & taxes". So said Benjamin Franklin in 1789. The Revenue Law course is designed to introduce the student to the world's first certainty or, more accurately, to the general principles of United Kingdom taxation, without hastening the advent of the second certainty!

Both lawyers and laymen tend to be terrified of anything to do with taxation. Common justifications given for ignorance of revenue law are its complexity and its tedium. Whilst it is undeniable that revenue law is, in parts, a difficult subject, this could be said of many other legal subjects. Moreover, the fact that a subject is challenging does not mean that is either impossible or tedious. The student of revenue law is well served by a number of excellent textbooks, which present the subject in a clear and practical way, often using examples to illustrate difficult points. This approach is followed in the Revenue Law course, which begins by looking at the structure and philosophy of United Kingdom taxation and then examines the general principles of income tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax.

Another frequent excuse for ignorance of revenue law is that it is a subject suitable for accountants but not for lawyers. It is true that, in practice, taxation calculations of a mechanical nature have to be carried out on occasions, but the purpose of the Revenue Law course is certainly not to teach students how to check Inland Revenue computations; and mathematical ability is not a prerequisite either for those teaching or for those taking the course. Instead, the course has a number of different objectives.

First, it is designed to allow the student to consider the aims and objects of a good taxation system and the extent to which the United Kingdom system achieves those aims. Secondly, the student is trained to analyse and interpret statutory material (which may often be unclear or ambiguous) and to apply that knowledge to given factual circumstances. Thirdly, the student, having grasped the fundamentals of a particular tax, is encouraged to consider how that knowledge can be utilised so as to mitigate or avoid tax but not in such a way as to evade liability, which is unlawful.

It will be appreciated that the subject has both considerable academic interest and practical implications, and the course seeks to achieve a judicious balance between theory and practice. Revenue Law impinges on virtually every other aspect of law e.g. trusts, succession, employment law, family law, company law, land law, and a practising lawyer who is ignorant of the taxation consequences of pursuing a particular course of action in connection with which he or she has been asked to advise will quickly find that ignorance, far from being blissful, is extremely costly.

In conclusion, Revenue Law is very much a subject for lawyers and one which, far from being intimidating, can provide much fascination and intellectual stimulation.

Students will not be required to undertake any complex tax calculations. No mathematical or accounting courses are necessary !

Aims of the module
To provide students with a good understanding of the law relating to income tax and capital taxes and to assist in the development of problem solving, analytical and communication skills.

To provide students with a good understanding of the aims and objectives of a good taxation system. To further develop the students use of both case law and statute law and to develop the student's skills in applying legal rules to the particular problems which result from a complex tax structure.


1. Introduction to taxation

2. Administration of taxation

3. Tax jurisdiction: the international dimension


1. Introduction to Income Tax

2. Schedule E Taxation

3. Schedule D Taxation

4. Taxation of Income from Land



1. General Principles

2. Computation of Gains and Losses

3. Rates of Tax

4. Payment of Tax

5. Exemptions and Reliefs


1. The Charge to Inheritance Tax

2. Lifetime Transfers

3. Gifts with Reservation

4. Inheritance Tax on Death

5. Exemptions

6. Valuation

7. Reliefs

8. Calculation and Payment of Tax

9. Accountability

10. Post-Death Variations and Disclaimers

The course will be taught through the medium of lectures and seminars. The purpose of the lectures is to introduce the student to the general principles in a particular area and to provide some critical analysis as food for thought. Guest lectures will occasionally be given.

The seminars are designed to enable the student to engage in reasoned discussion after having studied particular important topics. Questions for general discussion as well as traditional problem questions will be set in advance, and the student will be required to carry out research by reading the relevant sections of the textbook, periodicals and cases. The seminar then provides the student with an opportunity to present the fruits of his or her research in a coherent, logical and persuasive fashion.

Interaction with other students is also vitally important, and the seminar is an excellent forum for the exchange of ideas. In addition, the seminar serves the very useful function of allowing the tutor to explain in greater detail topics which are intricate and not readily comprehensible.

Reading Lists
** Recommended Text
Kay and King. The British Tax System. OUP
F. R. Davies. Introduction to Revenue Law. Sweet and Maxwell
Whitehouse. Revenue Law - Principles anad Practice. Butterworths
Mayson. Revenue Law. Blackstones
Easson. Cases and Materials on Revenue Law. Sweet & Maxwell
** Reference Text
UK Tax Guide. Butterworths
Potter & Monroe. Tax Planning with Precedents. Sweet & Maxwell
Meade. (1978) The Structure and Reform of Direct Taxation. George Allen & Unwin
Moores Rowland's. Yellow and Orange Tax Guides.
British Master Tax Guide. CCH Editions Ltd

Law Reports
** Recommended Consultation
Simon's Weekly tax Service (Simon's Tax Intelligence and Simon's Tax Cases).
British Tax Review.

** Recommended Text
Statutes Butterworths' Yellow and Orange Tax Handbooks.
Tax Statutes and Statutory Instruments (2 volumes). CCH editions Ltd