This course introduces the fundamental principles of the Canadian federal income tax system. We will focus on building the vocabulary of taxation and exploring the social, political, and economic factors that shape the development of the law. By the end of the course, students should understand why societies tax, who and what they tax, and how they do so; be familiar with the general structure and principles of the Canadian federal income tax system; and develop skills in close, critical reading and interpretation of primary and secondary legal sources.
The central focus of the course is on the tax principles for the treatment of revenue, losses, and expenses earned or incurred by individuals. We will further discuss general tax policy issues and situate the income tax within the broader Canadian tax system. To ensure students obtain a practical understanding of tax law, the course will also introduce the tax administration and dispute resolution frameworks.
Throughout the course, students will have the opportunity to build their skills in interpreting complex statutes and applying tax rules to facts. The course uses a combination of lectures, videos, short exercises, and problems for discussion, which will provide you with several opportunities for active learning.
For those of you who fear numbers, take heart. This course focuses on the legal rules underlying our income tax system, not on mathematics. Any math used in class or tested on the exam is limited to simple computation exercises to illustrate tax rules and their application.