Tax Planning: The Role of Taxes for Business Decisions

TAX 660 for Master students (Dieser Kurs wird nur in Englisch angeboten)

Lecturer Prof. Dr. Philipp Dörrenberg
Frequency Fall semester
Courses Lecture
Language English
Form of Assessment Written exam (90 min)
Alina Pfrang, M.Sc.


For further information please contact Alina Pfrang.


Most finance and strategy courses do not consider the role of taxes in making business decisions. The goal of the course is to understand how taxes affect business decisions. In particular, the course teaches the tools for identifying, understanding, and evaluating tax planning opportunities. It is designed to be valuable even as (tax) laws and governments change, and the taught framework is portable in that it can be applied to the set of tax laws in any country.

Taxes are everywhere and have a direct impact on cash-flow. Having a basic understanding of how taxation affects business decisions is therefore very important and contributes to a solid financial literacy.

The role of taxes is applied to different decision contexts, such as investment, organizational form, mergers and acquisitions and multinational aspects. The impact of taxes on these decisions will always be considered in the context of the following themes: ‘All Parties’ (the tax implications for all of the involved parties have to be considered), ‘All Taxes’ (explicit and implicit taxes have to be considered), and ‘All Costs’ (all costs, tax and non-tax costs, have to be considered). All aspects of the course will discuss empirical applications. The class features a guest lecture by a partner of a big-4 accounting firm.

Large parts of the course will be based on the following textbook that is used in the leading business schools around the world: Scholes, Wolfson, Erickson, Hanlon, Maydew and Shevlin: Taxes and Business Strategy: A Planning Approach.

Course Structure

  • Learning Outcomes

    By the end of the course, students understand how taxes affect business decisions.

  • Table of Contents

    1. Class Organization and Introduction to Tax Planning (SWEHMS chapters 1/2; SCH chapter 1)
    2. Principles of Investment Decisions (SCH chapter 2)
    3. Integrating Taxes into Investment Models (SCH chapter 3)
    4. Different Tax Treatments of Investment Decisions (SWEHMS chapter 3)
    5. Business Taxation and Organizational Form (SCH chapter 6, SWEHMS chapter 4)
    6. Implicit Taxes, Clienteles and Tax Arbitrage (SWEHMS chapter 5)
    7. Types of Tax Rates and Uncertainty (SWEHMS chapter 7)
    8. Multinational Tax Planning (ES Part III, SWEHMS chapters 10/11)
    9. Taxation of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) (if we get there; SWEHMS chapter 13/14/15)
    10. Student Presentations for Bonus Points (throughout weeks 7–9 of the term).
  • Prerequisites

    Formal: None

    Recommended: Introductory courses in business taxation are advantageous.