The principal focus is on VAT, because retail sales taxes can be viewed as a single-stage VAT. The aim of the course is to enable you to think about VAT (or sales tax), whether from the perspective of what the law is, what it should be, or how it might be administered. More generally, the course is designed to sharpen your skills to think like a lawyer, like a policymaker, and like a tax administrator.
After taking the course, you should understand how the VAT and retail sales taxes work in practice, and you will have a clear understanding of how consumption taxes differ from income taxes. We will discuss the definition of key legal elements of the VAT (taxpayer, taxable event, tax base, rates, tax period) and how the tax is collected. This analysis should equip you with the ability to address consumption tax issues in the future, or indeed to deal with any tax, since all taxes have these basic common elements.