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LAWS104 Foundations of Law and Legal Research

Unit rationale, description and aim

This elective unit allows students to develop specialist knowledge and skills building on the knowledge and skills developed in the compulsory units.

This unit examines taxation imposed by statute: the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cwth) and the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cwth), the Good and Services Tax (GST) and Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT).

The unit provides an introduction to the major legal principles relating to taxation law in Australia, in particular, what is income, what is deductible, how various entities are taxed and the administration of the taxation system and the impact of tax offsets.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Understanding of Australian Income Tax law; (GA3, GA4, GA5) 

LO2 - Knowledge and understanding of income tax law to be able to undertake advanced studies in the area; (GA6, GA7, GA8) 

LO3 - Understanding of how income tax law impacts on other areas of legal practice; (GA3, GA6, GA7, GA8) 

LO4 - Ability to effectively communicate complex ideas both orally and in writing (GA9, GA10) 

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include:  

1. Constitutional basis and an historical background to the Commonwealth levying income tax; the key players and how tax law fits into society 

2. Source of income and residence of the taxpayer; 

3. Ordinary income, individuals, property and business; 

4. Capital Gains Tax 

5. Fringe Benefits Tax and Goods and Services Tax 

6. General deductions, the two positive limbs and the four negative limbs and specific deductions’ 

7. Specific deductions 

8. Companies and Trusts 

9. Planning, evasion and avoidance, focusing on Part IVA of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936’ 

10. The assessment process; and challenging an assessment. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Mode:Lectures, tutorials, electronic consultation, library tasks and presentations or Online lectures and activities.  


Duration:3 hours per week over 12 weeks or equivalent.  Students are expected to spend 150 hours in total for this unit. 


This level three elective unit allows students to demonstrate knowledge, skills and understanding in a specialist area of law applying knowledge, skills and understanding acquired in Priestley units.  


Our strategy is to encourage students to creatively engage with unit content and to apply prior learnings to new legal problems.  


The unit is designed to be delivered in intensive, weekly or online. We have taken a blended learning approach to provide accessibility and flexibility to our students and a student focused approach that increases depth of learning and engagement through actively utilising LEO.   

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy is designed to assess knowledge, skills and understanding in a specialist area of law, applying knowledge, skills and understanding acquired in Priestley units.  


The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each of the learning outcomes listed.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Communication and engagement: Students are required to participate in tutorials, in recognition that the development of skills in referencing and analysing research materials is assisted by participation in weekly tutorials. A rubric will be utilised to assess students. 


LO1, LO2, LO4 

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Research assignment. Essay or problem question on nominated topics applying principles, knowledge, research and communication skills. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA3, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10 

End of semester exam  


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA3, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Representative texts and references

Robin Woellner,Stephen Barkoczy, Shirley Murphy, Chris Evans and Dale Pinto, Australian Taxation Law; 26th Edition, Oxford Press 

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