LAW30090 Revenue Law: Introduction to Revenue Law

Academic Year 2022/2023

This module provides an introduction to the purpose and nature of tax, and to the principles and policies of revenue law. It looks at the sources of revenue law (Constitution, European Convention of Human Rights, EU law, legislation), territoriality and the connecting factors between persons (natural and legal) and the tax system. The composition of taxes in Ireland is considered.

The module explains the infrastructure of Irish direct taxation (the schedular system of taxation), and goes through the various heads of charge under which income tax is charged (including, notably, tax on trading and professional income, and tax on employment income). The importance of accounting treatment in determining tax treatment is discussed, and the various means of tax collection are touched upon. The difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance is discussed.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

The learning outcomes include, but are not limited to, the following capabilities: identify the importance of various sources of law in interpreting tax statutes; analyse the position of the tax collector under Irish law (including the constitutional and administrative fetters on the power of the tax collector to act); outline how an individual is taxed on receipt of various forms of income; outline the remedies available to a taxpayer; understand the impact of case law when interpreting tax statutes and applying tax law; identify the methods of tax collection used by governments. The module does not cover stamp duty or value added tax or any indirect taxes.

The module seeks to consider tax law through the prism of topical events (the impact of tax reliefs and exemptions, the ethics of tax avoidance, the perceived and actual equity of the tax system) and the national and international debate about the sources and structure of taxation. The (often latent) philosophical stance of the tax law is discussed. Students are strongly encouraged to contribute to class discussions.

Any student who takes this module, is eligible to be considered for the PWC Prize for Revenue Law.

Indicative Module Content:

This module looks at taxation in Ireland, focussing on the sources of tax law, and the interpretation of tax law. This is placed against an initial study of the philosophy of taxation, generating a recognition that policy choices as to what is taxed, what is not taxed, and how economic activity is taxed, shape the tax system. The relationship between the state as tax collector, and the individual as taxpayer, is also examined.

We look at legislation as well as case law. Reading legislation, and applying it to particular scenarios, is a skill which is the subject of class exercises. We examine the building blocks of the tax system in Ireland for individuals, paying particular attention to how tax is identified and discharged. This is not a computational module as a legal, rather than numerical, analysis is undertaken.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The class is designed to be strongly interactive. Students are invited to present their view and argue their position and understand the statutory basis of taxation. Approximately every second class involves group work looking at specific scenarios relevant to the identification of tax liability. The aim is to ensure that students leave with a realisation of the uncertainties inherent in the interpretation of tax liability and an understanding of the argumentation necessary to sustain, or counteract, a tax charge. Emphasis is placed on the persuasiveness of the student's argument, grounded in interpretation of tax law. This is placed against a wider understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of taxation, and the sometimes messy compromises inherent in the tax system. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

No particular module is necessary.

Learning Recommendations:

LAW 20090 Company Law

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Additional Information:
No computational ability is necessary for this module.

Revenue Law: Introduction (LAW37090)

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: End of semester examination 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will involve a class discussion prior to the date of submission of the semester assignment during which we will discuss the structure and argumentation of a response. The class will break into groups to assess the most important components of a piece of legal writing. This will involve other students giving consideration to issues raised by these groups. After the assessment, there will be general feedback on Brightspace.

Income Tax: Income Tax, Maguire (2021), Bloomsbury Publishing (full text is available online through UCD Library)

Irish Taxation – Law and Practice – published by the Institute of Taxation