COMM 452 - Taxes and Decision Making

Taxation is a technical and complex subject – those of you with experience in COMM 355 will agree with this. Practical competence in taxes requires years of special training. Constant changes in tax laws, regulations, and judicial interpretations add to this complexity. While tax issues pervade business and personal financial planning, most accounting and finance courses only deal with tax issues briefly, if at all. So how does a non-specialist in tax deal with this?

The objective of this course is to provide a financial economics framework for thinking about taxes, and how to take taxes into account in decision-making. We will discuss the general ways to benefit from tax planning. Although many different techniques are used in practice, there are just a few basic ideas that pervade most (perhaps all?) tax-planning strategies. Examples will be based on both personal tax planning and corporate tax planning. This course will not turn you into a tax professional. Nor will it provide you with detailed and comprehensive knowledge of current tax law. Notice that the Income Tax Act is not required nor even recommended course material. No prior tax knowledge is required, and COMM 355 (Income Taxation) is not a prerequisite. Rather, the goal is to apply basic financial tools to improve our understanding of how to include taxation into decision-making.

Course credits:

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