LAWCOMM 403 - Tax Law

Credit points: 20 points
Offered: First and Second Semester
Contact hours: Lectures - 4 hours per week
Course Coordinator: Professor Michael Littlewood
Prerequisites: LAW 211, 241

Course description

This course is designed to introduce students to New Zealand tax law and practice. The course begins with an introduction to the theory of taxation. This is followed by an examination of New Zealand’s system of income tax, to which most of the course is devoted. The course also covers GST (Goods and Services Tax), tax administration and tax disputes procedures.

Content outline

This course covers some or all of the following topics:

1. Aspects of Tax Theory (examined by reference to the works of a number of important tax theorists)

1.1 Adam Smith’s four canons of taxation

1.2 Henry Simons’ definition of income

2. Income Tax

2.1 The structure of New Zealand’s system of income tax

2.2 Jurisdiction to tax: residence and source

2.3 The definition of income; the distinction between income and capital gains; business income; transactions in land; transactions in securities; income in kind

2.4 Deductions; the distinction between capital and revenue expenditure; the deductibility of interest; losses; business expenditure (entertainment, etc); timing

2.5 Depreciation; depreciation rates; calculating depreciation

2.6 The taxation of companies, trusts and partnerships

2.7 Withholding obligations

2.8 Tax avoidance; tax evasion; tax planning; general anti-avoidance rules

3. Goods and Services Tax

3.1 The structure of New Zealand’s system of GST

3.2 Exempt supplies

3.3 Zero-rated supplies

3.4 Taxpayers’ obligations

3.5 GST avoidance

4. Tax administration, rulings and disputes


2000 word assignment (20%)

3 hour open book exam (80%)

Open book means that you may, if you wish, bring into the exam and refer to any materials such as casebooks, textbooks and study notes.

Prescribed text

CCH New Zealand Tax Legislation for Students (republished annually) OR

Thomson Reuters New Zealand Taxation Legislation Handbook (republished annually)

CCH New Zealand Master Tax Guide for Students (republished annually) OR

New Zealand Taxation (Thomson Reuters, republished annually).