Course code BUS362

BUS362 Corporate Tax and Sustainability

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2021 - 2022 .

Course responsible: Julie Brun Bjørkheim, Andreas Økland, Annette Alstadsæter
ECTS credits: 7.5
Faculty: School of Economics and Business
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
Autumn semester.
Course frequency: Annually.
First time: Study year 2020-2021
Course contents:

Countries around the world struggle with how to curb multinational corporations’ tax minimizing profit shifting. Recent estimates suggest that each year, 40 % of multinational corporate profits are shifted to tax havens, imposing large losses of tax revenues on many countries.

The current Covid-19 induced economic crisis has reduced economic activity across the world at the same time as public spending on various crisis packages, including support packages to the corporate sector, has increased in many countries. The ability to raise tax revenue to finance public spending and the broad welfare state seen in many high-tax countries is now even more pressing.

At the same time, there is increased focus on sustainability, also in tax practices among corporations, policy makers, and the public. However, it is not always clear what a sustainable corporate tax practice means. And it is not always straightforward for corporations to comply with complex tax rules when doing business in a multinational setting.

This interdisciplinary course aims at educating the students about the connection between corporate tax and sustainability within the framework of law, economics, and politics. We provide a basic introduction into the concept of profit shifting.

The course covers various topics on political challenges related to tax and sustainability, such as initiatives from governments and international organizations, as well as corporate challenges, such as how to align corporate strategies with sustainable strategies, and how to communicate tax behaviour to interested parties. We also give an overview of various international measures / agreements / processes to curb corporations’ profit shifting, in addition to the perspectives of different groups such as consumers, investors and international organizations.

Learning outcome:


After completed course, the student should have knowledge on the topics covered by the course:

  • Why do governments tax and why do corporations pay tax?
  • What is international tax competition?
  • What is aggressive tax planning, tax avoidance and tax evasion?
  • How large is the extent of tax planning, and who suffers and benefits from it?
  • What is a sustainable tax practice?
  • Who are the stakeholders?
  • Which measures are taken, and which processes are ongoing to prohibit tax avoidance and tax evasion, nationally and internationally?


After completed course, the student should be able to:

  • Give an account of basic terminology of corporate tax and sustainability.
  • Explain why governments tax and why corporations pay tax.
  • Give an account of different structures and organizational forms of the company.
  • Describe the basic structure and challenges of international tax competition.
  • Apply knowledge to a real world setting and reflect on what it means for a company to act sustainable.

General qualifications:

After completed course, the student

  • Masters basic corporate tax and sustainability terminology.
  • Has a basic understanding of the role of different stakeholders and corporate governance.
  • Can reflect on the interaction between taxes, inequality, and sustainability.
  • Has a basic understanding of who are the winners and losers from multinational corporations’ profit shifting activities.
Learning activities:
A combination of streamed digital lectures and pre-recorded interviews on Canvas + mulitiple choice tests. 
Teaching support:
Various course material on the class page on Canvas. Online quizes that must be passed. 
The course curriculum will be specified on Canvas before the course start and consists of research papers from the research frontier, reports, and newspaper articles and various supporting material + one online textbook.
Recommended prerequisites:
Mandatory activity:
Multiple choice tests on Canvas.
Home examination
Nominal workload:
180 hours.
Reduction of credits:
2,5 ECTS-credits overlap with BUS360
Type of course:
Ca. 5 hours, will vary depending on guest lectures.
An external examiner will review the syllabus, assignments and exams.
Examination details: Written home exam: Passed / Not Passed