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Rethinking International Tax Law

Leiden University via Coursera


In recent years, the international tax planning strategies of multinationals have become a source of – often heated – debate. This course provides learners with the tools to become fully informed participants in the debate by explaining the foundations and practice of international tax law as well as addressing current developments and the ethical aspects of tax planning.


  • International tax planning – base case
    • In this first week, we will start on our journey into the world of international taxation. We will see that the tax planning activities of multinationals have attracted a lot of attention during the past few years. We will examine why planning strategies are now in the public eye, what the public debate is really about and who the key players are. We will also go to the core of international tax planning and build a base case, the elements of which we will study throughout the course.
  • Design of corporate tax law systems
    • In this second module, we will start breaking down our tax planning base case. To that end, we will study the design of corporate tax law systems during this module. In the videos and (recommended) reading materials, we analyse the typical design elements of corporate tax law systems.
  • Principles of international taxation & tax treaties
    • In this third module, we will continue to analyze our tax planning base case. To that end, in module 2, we studied the typical design of corporate tax law systems. In this module, we will look at international aspects of corporate tax law systems (CFC, qualification mismatches). We will also get to the core of international tax law and study double tax treaties.
  • Transfer pricing
    • In this fourth module, we will be focusing on transfer pricing, a technique which is used to allocate the profits made by a group of companies to the individual group members. Transfer pricing is an area of tax law which is becoming increasingly important. Our study will focus on the basics of transfer pricing: the 'arm's length principle', comparability and transfer pricing methods, but will also address business restructurings and include a case study.
  • European Union law & fiscal state aid
    • In this fifth module, we will take a look at the developments in the area of corporate tax planning within the EU, focusing on recent developments and the actions which have been taken within the EU to ensure that international tax planning of multinationals does not negatively affect corporate taxation within its territory. Also, we will discuss the limits which EU tax law places on domestic and international measures to counter aggressive tax planning and BEPS.
  • Tax planning & ethical dimensions
    • This sixth and last module will be about the ethical aspects of tax planning. Prof. Douma will be interviewing a number of key stakeholders in the current debate to reflect on what we have learned in the previous modules. In addition, you will find the final exam which will enable you to complete the course.

Taught by

Sjoerd Douma, Frank Engelen, Kees Raad and Stefano Simontacchi

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4.7 rating, based on 26 reviews

Start your review of Rethinking International Tax Law

  • Dissipate is taking this course right now and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    This is a 6-week broad base introductory-type course on international tax law, covering corporate tax law systems, transfer pricing, and tax planning. The lecturers speak at an appropriate pace and are interesting enough to keep you awake. They also provide...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Exceptional!!! Great Instructors and Course materials. Worth every minute. Will definitely recommend.

    I was exposed to international tax laws and practice as well as the current policy and political debate among stakeholders.

    My views on the allocation of responsibilities in regards to tax planning by Multinationals was greatly impacted as I got to see it from all sides and came to the conclusion that a holistic participation by all stakeholders involved would go a long way to addressing the issues raised as opposed to the current finger pointing games in play.

    These courses are very impactful and should be encouraged
  • Anonymous
    Absolutely loved the Course content. There was so much thought put into the structure. I didn't think I'd enjoy learning about transfer pricing but i ended up loving it.

    I'd recommended this to anyone that would like to discover tax. I wish if there was a secondary follow up course for this one.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Being a Tax Specialist evolving in an African country where most of the companies are subsidiaries of European and American multinationals, knowing the challenges of my field on an international scale was more than important. This course brought me full dedication and not only gave me an effective overview, but also a solid basis for a possible specialization in one of the branches of international taxation, such as transfer pricing.
  • Profile image for Rebecca Parry
    Rebecca Parry
    It was a very interesting course and was engagingly presented. The workload was manageable. The course is about 5 years old and aspects are out of date but any learner can easily update the content as often it is e.g. what was a draft in 2015 is now finalised.
  • Profile image for Fabrice Marcotty
    Fabrice Marcotty

    Fabrice Marcotty completed this course.

    Until I started the class, I had not realized how fast and deep international tax laws were evolving since I went to Business School.

    It also made me realize how many CFO, including myself, are still making planning decisions on totally outdated concepts.

    Definitely worth every hour spent working on the subject. I truly enjoyed the approach by Professor Douma and his colleagues.
  • Anonymous
    This is an extremely interesting and well crafted course. The readings and presentations are well chosen and I definitely learned a great deal from it. The assignments and tests will challenge even the experienced tax professional to gain a high mark. However, international tax is fast moving and this course has not been updated since 2015. If this was done it would be a 5 star review
  • Anonymous
    Helps to understand the general principles of international tax planning, the interests of business and government. I really liked the video of the debate from Google, Amazon and Starbucks
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    A brilliant course on International taxation with exhaustive course materials on International Tax planning, Design of Corporate Tax law systems, Principles of International Taxation and Tax Treaties, Transfer pricing, EU law and Fiscal State aid and tax planning and ethical dimensions. A beautifully designed course on International Taxation with wonderful Instructors and exhaustive research materials. I have achieved a 79% Grade. I sincerely recommend this course to the aspiring tax enthusiasts such as lawyers, accountants, etc., A beautiful course indeed.
  • Anonymous
    Great content. A fresh experience on the material and videos. The course gave new perspectives and critics about current international tax enviroment.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    The course, despite being prepared around 2015, was really good. It provided me with a meaningful level of understanding of the OECD in the tax area, the EU tax and institutional system and how they interconnect with the rest of the world. This was a very intense course, with significant time needed to be invested in it. But, the readings and the videos were wonderfully selected and the writing assignments made us think about the subjects in depth.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Really interesting topic, and presented in a very accessible manner. That was extremely helpful for me. The video lectures are very brief and do not go deep on any topic, though the readings partially make up for that. The quality of the readings (and of some lectures) is sometimes inconsistent, and in such a fast-changing field the course could now use an update, but that was still a really good class, and highly recommended.
  • Anonymous
    I completed the course on Coursera and was pleasantly surprised by the ease with which I understood International Taxation concepts and doctrines. As a Law graduate myself, and having studied International Taxation in Law School, I can honestly say the course content and material are brilliantly structured and presented. A highly recommended course for aspiring students of International Tax Law.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    The course is well structured. Mr. Sjoerd Douma is one of the best professors i have seen. His explanation and introduction right from the first module to the last was excellent. My knolwedge really got enriched and i had a fresh thinking on the whole process. My hearty congrats to the entire team. My only suggestion is to make the course more current.
  • Anonymous
    A well put together programme that introduces the key elements of the issue succinctly and effectively! It is timely to update the course coverage to include the latest developments on BEPS. I’d also be interested in an in-depth coverage of some of the issues introduced eg transfer pricing, EU state aid policy
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    It is the best course on International Taxation and Transfer Pricing online, I have searched all the platforms but nothing better than this course is available. Though it was prepared in 2015, it is still relevant today on topics like OECD BEPS Action Plan, OCED Guidelines on Transfer Pricing and much more.
  • Profile image for Luis Gutiérrez
    Luis Gutiérrez

    Luis Gutiérrez completed this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    I strongly recommend this course for those colleagues that are interested in international taxation. It really has a worthwhile content, easy to understand, teachers that manage the course with a perfect depth and timing. It really exceed my expectations.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Good and interesting course of one of my two own universities. International law is fascinating and very much alive. Good teachers (and nice!), good material and good teaching aids. Just one critical notice: I think the judgment of an assignment by classmates is too subjective. And one recommendation, a continuation of the course in-depth.
  • Larry

    Larry completed this course.

    I found this learning experience truly informative as well as thought-provoking . I am not a tax professional. I am a corporate and transaction lawyer. and from time to time I need to analyse and structure business transactions with international tax awareness and skill-sets. I found this course very well designed and organised, progressing from the basics to more advance contents. The video teachings are outstanding, and the reading materials are profound and offers tremendous knowledge on the subject.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    As an accountant, I would say that it was a very interesting course. It serves its purpose quite well, I ended up learning many aspects on international tax law that I never knew before. It could be difficult for non accountants and non tax law students/professionals.

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