TAX 451: Case Study Competition on Tax Transparency

Several leaks, including the “Panama Papers”, and public outrage about excessive profit shifting of taxable profits by global corporations have turned taxation into a reputational issue for businesses. Not least as a result, tax transparency has gained importance on the political agenda, and regulations in this field have been substantially increased worldwide.
This course, offered jointly with a well-known tax advisory firm, gives an overview of current topics in the field of tax transparency. Students will elaborate on the guiding principles and implementation of a supra-national initiative, e.g. the European Council Directive “DAC6” mandating the reporting of aggressive tax planning arrangements, the Country-by-Country Reporting or the automatic exchange of tax information.
The participants will form groups of three to five students and analyze the implementation of a supra-national initiative in a specific country. During the case study work, the students will receive group-specific feedback from a mentor. The results will be presented in class. In a subsequent group discussion, the fundamental deviations in the local implementations are compared and elaborated in the light of the circumstances of the respective countries. In this way, students gain insights into the political dimension of taxation and into the comparably new field of tax transparency while simultaneously enhancing their presentation skills.

Learning outcomes
After completing this course, students will be able to

  • Understand and analyze current topics on tax transparency, including its relevance, political dimension and practical implementation.
  • Understand and discuss different perspectives on tax transparency.
  • Create a professional presentation to communicate the results of the case study in a persuasive way.

Necessary prerequisites
semester 4 or higher

Recommended prerequisites
Basic knowledge in accounting and/or taxation (e.g. course TAX 303)

Forms of teaching and learningContact hoursIndependent study time
Seminar1 SWS7 SWS
ECTS credits3
Graded yes
Form of assessmentWritten elaboration and presentation of a case study
Restricted admissionyes
Further informationWebsite of the Chair
Performing lecturer
Prof. Dr. Christoph Spengel
Prof. Dr. Christoph Spengel
Frequency of offeringSpring semester
Duration of module 1 semester
Range of applicationB.Sc. Bus. Adm.
Preliminary course work
Program-specific Competency GoalsCG 1, CG 2, CG 3
LiteratureCouncil Directive (EU) 2018/822 of 25 May 2018 amending Directive 2011/16/EU as regards mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation in relation to reportable cross-border arrangements, Official Journal of the European Union, p. L 139/1–13.
Spengel, Christoph and Endres, Dieter, 2015. International Company Taxation and Tax Planning. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.
Course outline
  • Introduction lecture on the basics of international tax planning and tax transparency
  • Kick-off meeting to start the case study
  • Q&A meetings with case study mentors
  • Final meeting to present the results of the case study