LAW4243 - Tax policy - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.




Ms Kathryn James

Not offered in 2017


The primary function of taxation - to raise revenue to finance the operation of the state - gives rise to many issues which lie at the heart of the relationship between the citizen and the state and speaks to the nature of our economic, social and political system. Key issues include:

  1. The role of taxation in a market economy;
  2. Who should bear the burden of taxation?
  3. What should be taxed - income, consumption, wealth/resources?
  4. The role of taxation in achieving outcomes beyond revenue raising including the role of taxation in the redistribution of resources, and the use of tax expenditures to achieve various social, economic and political outcomes;
  5. The link between the tax and transfer system or, more specifically, the link between taxation and the modern welfare state;
  6. The political influence of individuals and groups in shaping tax policy and legal outcomes.

    The subject introduces students to the various disciplines relevant to shaping and understanding taxation including economics, politics and law. It equips students with skills of policy analysis to enhance their understanding of tax law and policy in contemporary Australia.


  1. Evaluate the role of taxation in the modern Australian state and within a market economy.
  2. Critically analyse the Australian tax system from a range of policy and disciplinary perspectives including law, economics, politics and philosophy.
  3. Critically assess the impact of key tax policy choices relating to the tax mix (ie the combination of taxes), tax base (what should be taxed), tax rates and taxpaying units (ie who should be taxed).
  4. Assess the role of key norms and values such as equity, efficiency and justice in the tax policy debate.
  5. Develop and apply an understanding of how debates in relation to tax policy affect the practical administration of tax laws. Develop and refine skills of policy analysis to interpret, synthesise and critically evaluate legislative provisions and case law from a broader policy perspective.
  6. Demonstrate research and reasoning skills and professional judgement to generate appropriate responses to complex legal and policy problems
  7. Effectively communicate complex ideas in oral and written form.
  8. Collaborate with teaching staff and students in the development of an ongoing dialogue and critical assessment of the policy and legal issues within the Australian tax system.
  9. Actively participate in class discussions and make use of feedback to strengthen knowledge of key issues.


Class participation - 10 percent; Compulsory written assignment (2000 words) - 40 percent; 2 hour exam + 30 minutes reading time - 50 percent

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. The unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


For students who commenced their LLB (Hons) course in 2015 or later:

LAW1111; LAW1114; LAW1112; LAW1113; LAW2101; LAW2102; LAW2112; LAW2111

For students who commenced their LLB course prior to 2015: LAW1100 OR LAW1101 and LAW1102 or LAW1104


For students who commenced their LLB (Hons) course in 2015 or later: LAW3111; LAW3112