During this century, the United States has raised revenue chiefly through the income tax, which is a per capita or direct tax. In many other countries, fiscal authorities rely far more heavily on indirect taxes. With the pace of globalization accelerating, U.S. tax professionals increasingly advise foreign clients, for whom indirect taxes may constitute a large percentage of aggregate tax liability. A basic knowledge of how these taxes work is thus a valuable asset for any lawyer doing corporate or international tax work.
This course will introduce students to indirect taxation, exemplified by the European Union’s Value Added Tax (“VAT”) and Canada’s Goods and Services Tax (“GST”), two of the fastest-growing indirect taxes globally. The course will examine the economic and policy rationales for such taxes and study in detail how different types of value added taxes work, including tax calculations and cross-border aspects. Finally, the course will compare the VAT with the retail sales taxes imposed by many U.S. state and local governments and will consider the feasibility of adopting some version of a VAT in the United States. At the end of the course, students will have a broad technical understanding of indirect taxes and an appreciation of the policy concerns that animate legislative and academic discussion of this important subject.
This two-credit course will be divided into nine 3-hour class sessions. All sessions will be taught by global indirect tax professionals from KPMG’s Washington D.C. office.