Comparative Value Added Tax (LAWS6814)


This unit provides an introduction to the design and operation of consumption type value-added taxes (known commonly as either VAT or GST). The unit will consider the major foundational principles of VAT and the different ways in which they can be given effect in different jurisdictions, taking examples from the VAT Directive of the European Union, the GST laws of New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, and a range of African and other jurisdictions and/or model VATs. Participants familiar with Australian GST will gain an understanding of the policies underlying VAT/GST and of the options for VAT treatment that have been adopted in other jurisdictions. International participants will find that the generic and comparative discussion of VAT/GST principles will be readily transferable to the operation of VAT in their country of residence. Topics covered include: different methods for taxing consumption; the history, spread and prevalence of credit-invoice systems of VAT; different models of VAT/GST; the relationship between VAT and other tax bases; the use of multiple rates; registration, invoices, assessment and collection; notions of taxable person, taxable activity, taxable supplies, and the taxable amount; the treatment of government and charities; exemption with credit (zero-rating/GST-free) and exemption without credit (input taxation); the aim of fiscal neutrality and the importance of the input tax credit/deduction; international issues and the avoidance of double or non-taxation; hard-to-tax commodities (financial services, insurance, gambling, real property); and problems with VAT evasion.

Further unit of study information


May 15-17 & 20, 21 (8.30-4)


class work/test (35%) and 2hr exam (65%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.