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LAWS6823 - Tax and Development
Faculty of Law (Sydney Law School) - 6 credit points
HECS Band three
EFTSL: 0.125000000
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Department: Law
Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Lee Burns

Classes: Sep 25-27 & Sep 30, Oct 1 (9-3.30)

Assessment: 2hr exam or 7000wd essay (100%)

There is increasing recognition of the role that taxation can play in mobilising domestic resources to promote economic growth and reduce dependency on external support (such as aid and low interest loans). The tax system is a central pillar of state building and improving governance. It provides the government with funds to invest in development, relieve poverty, and deliver public goods and services. Strengthening the tax system should lead to better governance through improved budget management and establishing sustainable revenue flows. However, developing countries face challenges in using taxation to mobilise domestic resources including widespread poverty and illiteracy, high prevalence of hard to tax sectors (such as agriculture), poor business record keeping, inadequately resourced and skilled tax administrations, and revenue leakage from international tax planning (such as transfer pricing)
This unit examines the options for reform of tax systems in developing countries to better mobilise domestic resources, including broadening the base and lowering rates, the shift from direct to indirect taxes, the impact of trade agreements and replacing lost trade tax revenues, use of presumptive taxes, taxation of extractive industries, and ways of strengthening local government revenues. The unit will also focus on methods for countering international tax leakage including through greater co-operation between tax administrations. Finally, the unit will look at the role that various international organisations play in promoting tax reform.
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