LAWCOMM 767 - ST: United States: International Tax

Lecturer bio

Professor Reuven Avi-Yonah, University of Michigan Law School

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, the Irwin I. Cohn Professor of Law and director of the International Tax LLM Program, specialises in corporate and international taxation. He has served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on tax competition, and is a member of the steering group for OECD's International Network for Tax Research. He is also a trustee of the American Tax Policy Institute, a member of the American Law Institute, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the American College of Tax Counsel, and an international research fellow at Oxford University's Centre for Business Taxation. In addition to prior teaching appointments at Harvard University (law) and Boston College (history), he practiced law with Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy in New York; with Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York; and with Ropes & Gray in Boston. After receiving his BA, summa cum laude, from Hebrew University, he earned three additional degrees from Harvard University: an AM in history, a PhD in history, and a JD, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School. He has published more than 150 books and articles, including Advanced Introduction to International Tax (Elgar, 2015), Global Perspectives on Income Taxation Law (Oxford University Press, 2011), and Advanced Introduction to International

Course outline

This is an introduction to U.S. taxation of U.S. and foreign persons engaged in international activities. Topics will include U.S. jurisdiction to tax, tax treaties, allocation of income, transfer pricing, foreign tax credits, etc. The class will also addresses some of the important procedural mechanisms by which international tax issues are resolved -- e.g., advance pricing agreements and Competent Authority negotiations. The goal of the class is to provide an overview of the relevant law, giving due respect to its complexity and the policies underlying it, and to identify and wrestle with the types of issues that most frequently arise.


100% research essay of 6,500 words due at 12 noon on Thursday 25 January 2018.


Each student is required to submit a research essay of no more than 6,500 words including an abstract/synopsis of 500 words. The essay is to be original work, relying on secondary and primary sources. It must be the work of the enrolled student. Another person, other than the enrolled student, must not write the essay nor do the research on behalf of the enrolled student. Plagiarism is not permitted, and each student should read the University of Auckland’s plagiarism policy and adhere to it. All students are expected to sign a plagiarism declaration when submitting their essays.

Students must use proper legal citations and include a reading list at the end of their type-written essay.

The essay should be comprised of properly crafted English sentences. (Note form is unacceptable.) The use of headings and sub-headings is strongly encouraged. Footnotes rather than Harvard style in-text referencing are to be used.

Descriptive essays are discouraged. Instead, students are expected to engage with relevant legal issues by: critiquing the law; developing proposals for reform; examining the operation of law and policy in practice; and/or providing a conceptual analysis of the law, for example.

The topic for the essay must be chosen from one or more of the Chapters in Volume One and/or Two of the “Advanced Introduction to International Tax Law and it's 2018 Supplement” Textbook. The relevant chapters must be considered and cited by way of pinpoint reference at least three times in your essay.

Extensions will not be granted lightly (only owing to serious illness or other extraordinarily compelling and unforeseeable circumstances). Such a request must be made formally through the Postgraduate Manager.

Class participation

Each student is expected to make individual contributions to class discussions throughout the course.

Criteria and marking

Students are individually assessed on the quality of their essay, with reference to the following criteria: 

  • Extent to which the student has identified the important and relevant issues          
  • Clarity of argument          
  • Depth and thoroughness of understanding of pertinent material           
  • Strength and clarity of arguments presented            
  • Overall lucidity of the contribution           
  • Extent to which issues are placed in their wider context         
  • Display of grasp of the doctrinal and normative issues         
  • Critical analysis of material            
  • Overall synthesis of material        
  • Correctness and elegance of style (particularly as to the written essay)          
  • Ability to draw worthwhile conclusions

Course details

Semester Two
Study mode Intensive
Dates 11 - 13 December
Time 9.30am - 5pm
Location Room 340, Level 3, 1 - 11 Short St
Value 15 points
Assignment date Thursday 25 January 2018

Contact details

Law Student Centre

Level 2, 1-11 Short St