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LAWS3167 Tax Law (Capital Tax)

Module Overview

For centuries governments have sought to tax individuals’ wealth. At the same time, those individuals fortunate enough to have considerable wealth have resisted large amounts of it being taken by the government. In what ways have wealth, otherwise referred to as their ‘capital’ been taxed? Does tax arise on your capital only when you die? What happens when you sell a valuable asset which has grown in value whilst you have owned it? Can you legitimately alter or reduce your liability to capital taxes through settling assets on trusts? What is the government’s attitude to the use of trusts and how is this manifested in the taxation of trusts?

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Tax Law (Capital Tax) is intended to equip you with an understanding of how capital is taxed in the UK. It considers how gains on the disposal of assets are taxed, analyses why wealth might be a suitable subject of taxation and how we have chosen to tax wealth in the UK. Finally, trusts are established through the settlement of capital: accordingly, the taxation of trusts is considered from all points of view, namely, income arising, capital gains arising and the inheritance tax consequences of settlements. More generally, this module helps you to develop the ability to read and interpret statutes (one of the only modules that does this) as well as to advance arguments for policy changes.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • how capital gains tax operates
  • the reasons for taxing wealth and the ways in which wealth might be taxed
  • how inheritance tax operates
  • the taxation of trusts.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • find your way around, and interpret, a wealth of complex legislation
  • make constructive written criticism of legal materials, in particular, statutes and appellate judgments
  • given a factual scenario, identify the relevant facts and legal issues and evaluate the legal position in a critical and imaginative way
  • Use your numeric skills to calculate tax liabilities by reference to a range of textual and numerical data.
  • expound upon the contemporary problems which currently beset the tax system
  • demonstrate effectively the new, or improved, skills by, for example, critically assessing reports and journal articles.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • develop and present written arguments supported by appropriate evidence demonstrating an appreciation of academic integrity
  • develop an eye for detail.


• the taxation of trusts in respect of income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax; • capital gains tax, with particular reference to the basis of liability, death, gifts and settlements and exemptions; • the ways in which wealth can be taxed; • an introduction to inheritance tax, with particular consideration given to whether it should be abolished or reformed, settlements, gifts with a reservation of benefit, the use of exemptions and certain anti-avoidance measures;

Learning and Teaching

Wider reading or practice20
Preparation for scheduled sessions60
Total study time150





MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2.25 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2.25 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2.25 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-Requisite: LAWS3150

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