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Tax Debates


Admission requirements

Students following this course are recommended to have completed at least one year of university education (not necessarily in law). We expect the students to have a good proficiency in English both orally and in writing


1.1 ContextTax Debates is the last course of the minor Tax and Society. This course consists of a series of moderated classroom debates and a group project, during which the students can explore a selection of ‘hot topic’ issues that are currently at stake in the wider public debate on taxation. Tax Debates makes the step from the academic theories of tax, society, and ethics, to the ‘real world’ debates on taxation.

The title of the course – Tax Debates – reflects the fact that there is no single tax debate. Rather, a multitude of complex (and often controversial) interlinking issues can be identified.

1.2 Connection with the minor
The minor ‘tax and society’ is to familiarize students with the social impact of taxation. Within the overall structure of the minor Tax and Society, Tax Debates provides an academic space within which the students can bring together the lessons learned in all of the earlier courses and develop their own ideas and views. The students will be challenged to defend these views, or to adopt a Devil’s Advocate perspective on key issues and to explore alternative perspectives.

Course objectives

  • Revisit and integrate the knowledge obtained in the five previous courses of the minor Tax and Society.

  • Learn to talk about and debate issues regarding ethics and tax.

  • Develop own perspectives, ideas, and positions, on the issues raised during the whole minor.

  • Acquire and develop verbal and written communication skills (in English).

  • Gain confidence discussing (the ethical aspects of) various issues on tax and society.

  • Work together as a team, in a multidisciplinary environment.

  • And last but not least: have fun!


Zie MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) instructions: 5

  • Names of instructors: mr. drs. B.N. van Ganzen and selected guest lecturers

  • Required preparation by students:

  1. Weekly preparation of arguments prior to the class (1,750 – 2,000 words; individual basis).
  2. Participation during the classroom debate (5 sessions of 2 hours; mandatory)
  3. Group paper (8,500 – 10,000 words) – to be submitted at the end of the course. The paper is written by groups of 4 to 5 students. Depending on the number of students in the course, groups may be smaller. The students are expected to share the workload. The students will be encouraged to use the classroom as a resource and sounding board when preparing their group papers.

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • Individual preparation of weekly assignments and participation at the classroom debates: 20% of the final grade. The preparation of arguments and the classroom debates are practical assignments with compulsory participation. For each week, the preparation of arguments and the participation in the classroom debate count as one assignment; hence, it is not possible to earn points for a weekly assignment when the student is absent during that week’s classroom debate. It is not possible to resit these practical assignments; failed partial grades or components should be compensated by passed partial grades or components.

  • Group paper: 80% of the final grade. Resit of the final paper is possible if the final grade (being the weighted average of the practical assignments and the group paper) is below 5,5.

Submission procedures
Students are required to submit their arguments via Brightspace on the day before the classroom debate (deadline: 23:59). This is done on an individual basis. The deadline for the group paper will be announced at the beginning of the course.

Areas to be tested within the exam
Grading of the preparation for the classroom debate, participation during that debate, and the group paper will be based firstly on originality, and the ability to link different areas and issues addressed in the five preceding courses in the minor Tax and Society, as well as the quality of the arguments made and the factual accuracy of the analysis. For the written work the quality of the writing, structure of the analysis, use of sources and footnotes, and of course the quality of the reasoning and logic will be assessed.

Reading list

There is no fixed reading list. Rather, students will be required to base their group papers on the materials which have been provided in the five previous courses, although the groups will also be invited to use additional literature for their papers. For the weekly assignments, guest lecturers may prescribe some literature; this will be communicated via Brightspace.


Registration for courses and exams takes place via MyStudymap. If you do not have access to MyStudymap (guest students), look here (under the Law-tab) for more information on the registration procedure in your situation.


  • Coordinator: mr. drs. B.N. van Ganzen

  • Work address: Kamerlingh Onnes Building, room B2.24

  • Contact information via: Secretariat Department of Tax Law

  • Telephone number; +31715277840

  • Email:


  • Institute: Institute of Tax Law and Economics

  • Department: Tax Law

  • Room number secretary: B211

  • Opening hours: 9.00 – 14.00 hrs

  • Telephone number secretary: +31715277840

  • Email: