Taxes and Business Strategy

FIE441 Taxes and Business Strategy

Høst 2021

  • Topics

    The course outlines the international tax environment and analyzes how it affects tax and financial reporting as well as income shifting by multinationals. The syllabus of the course is:

    • Introduction to international taxation
    • International income shifting
      • Transfer pricing
      • Thin capitalization
    • Taxes and financial reporting
      • Tax reporting in the income and financial statements (1 lecture)
      • Taxes and earnings management (1 lecture)
      • Conforming vs. non-conforming tax avoidance (1 lecture)
      • Tax reporting and corporate stakeholders (1 lecture)
    • Income Shifting and Legal Limitations
      • International tax law: principles of arm’s length pricing (guest lecture)
      • Thin capitalization rules
      • CFC-rules
      • Country-by-country reporting, tax treaties and information exchange

  • Learning outcome


    Upon successful completion of the course the student:

    • Knows the international tax environment and how it affects multinational firm behavior.
    • Is informed about how the international tax environment works, reporting standards in multinationals and institutional tax details and regulation.
    • Knows the main regulatory framework to limit income shifting by multinationals (arm's length principle, thin capitalization rules, controlled-foreign-company rules).


    Upon successful completion of the course the student

    • Has acquired an analytical tool set that allows for formally structuring and solving tax-avoidance problems.
    • Is able to independently analyze and evaluate the implications of future changes in regulation and the institutional setting.
    • Can apply her/his knowledge on international tax avoidance and firms' behavior in a meaningful way.

    General competence

    Upon successful completion of the course the student

    • Has advanced expertise on international income shifting by transfer prices and debt.
    • Can communicate with specialists in both academia and practice about complex issues in income shifting and financial reporting.

  • Teaching

    Teaching will consist out of lectures as well as guest lectures.

    It will be possible to follow the course digitally.

  • Recommended prerequisites

    Some prior basic knowledge in microeconomics is helpful.

  • Requirements for course approval


  • Assessment

    Written individual home exam (3 hours).

    The exam language is English and all answers need to be given in English.

  • Grading Scale


  • Literature

    Collection of articles and readings, mainly provided on Canvas

    • Berk, J., and P. DeMarzo, 2011. Corporate Finance. 2nd Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, Boston, Chapters 14-16.
    • Miller, M., 1977. Debt and Taxes. Journal of Finance 32, 261-275.
    • Møen, J., D. Schindler, G. Schjelderup, and J. Tropina, 2011. International Debt Shifting: Do Multinationals Shift Internal or External Debt? CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3519, Munich.
    • Myles, G., 1995. Public Economics. Cambridge UK, Chapter 8.
    • Ruf, M., and D. Schindler, 2015. Debt Shifting and Thin-Capitalization Rules: German Experience and Alternative Approaches. Nordic Tax Journal 2015, 17-33.
    • Schindler, D., and G. Schjelderup, 2012. Debt Shifting and Ownership Structure. European Economic Review 56, 635-647.
    • Schjelderup, G., 2017. Multinationals and Transfer pricing. Manuscript.



Spring. Offered Spring 2021.

Course responsible

Professor Guttorm Schjelderup, Department of Business and Management Science

Assistant Professor Mohammed Mardan, Department of Business and Management Science

Assistant Professor Simone Traini, Department of Accounting, Auditing and Law