LLAW6096 International tax and tax planning

1.1 Course details

Course code: LLAW6096 / JDOC6096
Course name: International Tax and Tax Planning
Programme offered under: LLM Programme / JD Programme
Semester: Second
Designated research course: Not applicable
Specialization: Not applicable
Prerequisites / Co-requisites: A basic knowledge of the general principles of corporate law and taxation is desirable.
Credit point value: 9 credits / 6 credits

1.2 Course description

This course:

  1. is aimed at candidates interested in careers in corporate and commercial law, international trade and commerce, and / or wealth management.
  2. analyses and explains major concepts of international taxation and tax planning by focusing on the tax implications of cross-border business transactions and employment, and provides a firm grounding in strategies and methodologies utilized by multinational enterprises and high net worth individuals to implement such transactions in a tax efficient manner.
  3. provides a solid introduction to Hong Kong and international taxation through an introduction both to domestic tax law and public international law in the context of taxation.
  4. examines and contrasts the ways in which selected jurisdictions address the problems of taxing cross-border activities, with a particular focus upon important concepts such as jurisdiction to tax, controlled foreign companies legislation, foreign tax credit (and exemption) regimes, transfer pricing, withholding taxes, taxation compliance and anti-avoidance rules, and particular attention to the role, application, and the interpretation and application of double taxation agreements (DTAs).
  5. assesses the effect of specific and general anti-avoidance rules in (a) domestic legislation and (b) DTAs and, generally, the role of the courts in this area, anti-avoidance doctrine and tax ethics in relation to tax planning.
  6. compares in detail the taxation systems of several jurisdictions (specifically, Singapore, Hong Kong and the PRC (Mainland) and, for comparative purposes, Japan and the United Kingdom) by considering the taxation implications of outbound and inbound investments and appropriate structuring for (a) residents of those jurisdictions and (b) non-residents who carry out business operations (or who perform employment-related services) in those jurisdictions.
  7. studies contemporary developments in international tax policy such as the issue of jurisdiction to tax, taxation of internet transactions, transfer pricing, tax administration, recent changes to the OECD Model Tax Convention and the implications for tax policy and practice arising from the OECD’s ‘BEPS’ (base erosion and profit shifting) project.

1.3 Course teachers

Name E-mail address Office Consultation
Course convenor Stefano Mariani stefano.mariani@deacons.com.hk N/A By email

2.1 Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) for this course

CLO 1 Demonstrate understanding of international tax law, including the application of DTAs, and the interaction between issues of domestic tax law and public international law, with reference both to Hong Kong and certain comparator jurisdictions in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, China, and Singapore.

CLO 2 Apply concepts and principles of international taxation and tax planning to a wide range of simulated but realistic cross-border scenarios involving foreign investment, cross-border structures and employment, and the affairs of high net worth individuals.

CLO 3 Advise in writing, on the options and the appropriate commercial course of action to be taken by a hypothetical investor or high net worth individual in such cross-border investment and business transactions.

CLO 4 Identify controversies and problems of taxing cross-border activities and recommend policy and/or law reform changes from both domestic and comparative perspectives.

2.2 LLM Programme Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

PLO A On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to demonstrate a solid understanding of the body of legal knowledge and the capacity to conduct research on, critically analyse and evaluate legal principles, at a level required to meet the standards and expectations of the legal profession and the community at large.

PLO B On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to apply their legal knowledge and research skills to practical situations or theoretical challenges, and utilise their comparative understanding of the law and its political, social and cultural contexts to provide original and creative insights to legal problems.

PLO C On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to apply the knowledge, lawyering skills and legal reasoning to real and novel situations in life, with a view to resolving issues, problems and disputes within the legal parameters.

PLO D On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to demonstrate the ability to present effectively legal arguments in the professional context, as well as conveying and explaining the law effectively to lay clients and members of the larger community.

PLO E On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to appreciate the underlying moral values of the law and ethics in the profession and the legal system in the broad social, economic, political and cultural contexts: justice, the Rule of Law, and protection of rights and liberties which form the fabrics of a civilised society, and the importance of upholding these values by the legal community.

PLO F On successful completion of the curriculum, students should be able to develop a strong awareness of social issues and conditions, and utilise analytical abilities and rhetorical advocacy to provide leadership for the betterment of the human community.

2.3 Programme Learning Outcomes to be achieved in this course

CLO 1  ✓  ✓
CLO 2  ✓  ✓
CLO 3  ✓  ✓
CLO 4  ✓  ✓


3.1 Assessment Summary

Assessment task Due date Weighting Feedback method* Course learning outcomes
Two essays TBC 100% 1 1, 2, 3, 4


  *Feedback method (to be determined by course teacher)
1 A general course report to be disseminated through Moodle
2 Individual feedback to be disseminated by email / through Moodle
3 Individual review meeting upon appointment
4 Group review meeting
5 In-class verbal feedback

3.2 Assessment Detail

To be advised by course convenor(s).

3.3 Grading Criteria

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/grading-criteria/


4.1 Learning Activity Plan

Seminar: 3 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks
Private study time: 9.5 hours / week for 12 teaching weeks

Remarks: the normative student study load per credit unit is 25 ± 5 hours (ie. 150 ± 30 hours for a 6-credit course), which includes all learning activities and experiences within and outside of classroom, and any assessment task and examinations and associated preparations.

4.2 Details of Learning Activities

To be advised by course convenor(s).


5.1 Resources

Reading materials: Reading materials are posted on Moodle
Core reading list: TBA
Recommended reading list: TBA

5.2 Link

Please refer to the following link: http://www.law.hku.hk/course/learning-resources/

By the publication of the course profile online, the Faculty deems the student as having been notified of the course requirements.