LL4Z3      Half Unit
Consumption Taxes

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Ian Roxan NAB7.25


This course is available on the MSc in Law and Accounting, Master of Laws and Master of Laws (extended part-time study). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is capped at 30 students. Students must apply through Graduate Course Choice on LSEforYou.

Course content

The course is suitable for students who are interested in taking one course in taxation, including students who have little previous background in taxation, as well as for tax specialists. It can usefully be combined with LL4Z2 Principles of Taxation, and it provides a suitable background course for LL4Z4 Value Added Tax in the EU. In the sixty years of the existence of value added taxes, they have spread to all corners of the globe to become one of the most important sources of government revenue. They are also an increasingly important consideration for businesses and their advisors.

This course will discuss the nature of value added taxes, whether called VAT, GST or another name. VATs will be compared with other methods of taxing consumption, including other sales taxes and progressive expenditure taxes. The course will also look at the distinction between taxing consumption and income and the redistributive effects of taxing consumption. The course examines the main features and problems raised by VATs and GSTs, including defining the taxpayers and the amount subject to tax, international transactions and VATs in federal jurisdictions, and problematic issues such as input tax credits. Examples will be drawn from the European Union VAT and from taxes in a broad variety of other countries.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

There will be a reading week in Week 6 of the MT.

Formative coursework

One 2,000 word essay.

Indicative reading

Schenk et al., Value Added Tax: A Comparative Approach (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2015); Ebrill et al., The Modern VAT (IMF, 2001); Bird and Gendron, The VAT in Developing and Transitional Countries (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007); Alan A. Tait, Value Added Tax: International Practice and Problems; Mirrlees et al., Tax by Design; McClure, The Value Added Tax: Key to Deficit Reduction?; Ogley, Principles of Value Added Tax: A European Perspective; James and Nobes, The Economics of Taxation; Tanzi and Zee, Tax Policy for Developing Countries.

Detailed reading lists will be provided during course via Moodle.

Recommended preliminary reading: Ebrill et al., The Modern VAT (International Monetary Fund, 2001), or Alan A. Tait, Value Added Tax: International Practice and Problems (IMF, 1988).


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2014/15: 5

Average class size 2014/15: 5

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Lecture capture used 2014/15: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills