5330 US Tax Theory and Cross-Border Transactions
Prof. Dr. Stephanie Hoffer, LL.M.
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
01/19/23 to 01/22/23
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Subject(s) Master Programs
Day Date Time Room
Monday 02/06/23 09:00 AM - 12:30 PM D3.0.233
Tuesday 02/07/23 09:00 AM - 12:30 PM D3.0.233
Wednesday 02/08/23 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM D3.0.233
Wednesday 03/01/23 09:00 AM - 10:00 AM D3.0.233


Introduction to U.S. International Tax Law will be discussed to enable the students a comprehensive education in tax law.

Learning outcomes

The course seeks to provide students with an understanding of tax theory as it applies to the United States taxes on cross-border transactions. The US tax system is so complex that trying to understand even a limited area (such as the limitations to the foreign tax credits) could easily take the entire class. Rather than focus on detailed statutory provisions, this course will provide an overview of the statutory structure, highlight some of the policy choices made by the United States in the design of its tax system, and equip you with some basic knowledge about common U.S. cross-border tax concerns.

Attendance requirements

> 70% attendance requirement

Teaching/learning method(s)

The course consists of a combination of lectures, in-class group discussions, and an exam. Your exam, which takes place on March 1, will be one hour in length. It will cover only material featured in the required reading. The syllabus links labeled “For future reference” are for your use if you would like to do additional reading or research outside of class. The materials there will not be on your exam.


discussion (5%), participation (5%), positive degrees on written exam (90%)


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Availability of lecturer(s)

You may contact me at

You may contact Kristof Boel at

Unit details

Unit Date Contents
1 06.02.2023

Overview of US Domestic System & Federal Income Tax

For background:

Required reading:

  • Joint Committee on Taxation, Overview of the Federal Tax System as in effect for 2020 (JCX-14-20 May 1, 2020) (Pages 1 – 20).
  • Congressional Research Service, A Brief Overview of Business Types and Their Tax Treatment (December 9, 2020).

For future reference:

  • Check-The-Box Reg. –2: 26 CFR 301.7701-2
  • Check-The-Box Reg. –3: 26 CFR 301.7701-3

Questions for thought:

Think about these questions and make some written notes about your thoughts: (1) what factors should influence who bears the cost of governance, and (2) how each taxpayer's portion of that burden should be determined? What aspects of the United States system work well with your vision and which do not? How are the broad contours of your home country’s tax system different, if at all?

2 07.02.2023

Cross-Border Transactions – Basic Rules & U.S. Persons

Required reading:

  • Joint Committee on Taxation, U.S. International Tax Policy: Overview & Analysis, Sections I and IIIA (March 19, 2021).
  • Ruth Mason, Citizenship Taxation, 89 S. CAL. L. REV. 169 (2016).

For discussion:

In what ways has the United States’ choice of citizenship taxation shaped the international tax and treaty landscape? Almost no system is purely source- or residence-based in the globalized economy. Which elements of your (likely) source-based system mirror aspects of the U.S. system? Which elements of citizenship taxation are worth retaining, and which should be left behind? And to what extent should we account for equity versus efficiency in the global negotiation of a new regime?

For future reference:

  • Residency
    • IRS Publication 519, pages 3 – 9
    • 26 C.F.R. 301.7701-2 (a) - (b)(8)
    • 26 C.F.R. 301.7701-3 (a), (b).
  • Source
    • IRS Source Chart
  • Asset Reporting Requirements
    • IRS Summary of FATCA Reporting for U.S. Taxpayers
    • IRS Summary of Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), sections “Who Must File” and “Penalties”
  • Treaty Resources
    • IRS Publication 901 on Tax Treaties
    • U.S. Dep't Treasury Treaty Resource Center
    • Treaties In Force
  • Foreign Tax Credit
    • IRS Summary of Foreign Tax Credit
    • 26 U.S.C. 901
    • 26 U.S.C. 903
    • 26 U.S.C. 904
  • Participation Exemption
    • 26 USC 245A
  • Foreign-Derived Intangible Income Deduction
    • 26 USC 250
3 08.02.2023

US Taxation of Cross-Border Transactions – Foreign Persons

For future reference:

  • FDAP Income
    • 26 USC 871, subsections (a), (d), (h), (i)
    • 26 USC 873
    • 26 USC 881, subsection (a)
  • Foreign-Owned Business Income
    • 26 USC 871, subsection (b)
    • 26 USC 882
    • 26 USC 864
  • Branch Profits, Branch Interest, and Real Estate
    • 26 USC 884
    • 26 USC 897
    • IRS Tax Guide for Non-resident Aliens, pages 21 and 22
      on real property income.

United States Anti-Base Erosion Measures

For future reference:

  • Controlled Foreign Corporations (CFC)
    • Controlled Foreign Corporation Rules
    • 26 USC 951
    • 26 USC 954
    • 26 USC 957
  • Passive Foreign Investment Companies (PFIC)
    • The Perils and Pitfalls of PFIC Ownership
    • 26 USC 1291
    • 26 USC 1293
    • 26 USC 1295
    • 26 USC 1296
  • Global Low-Taxed Intangible Income Inclusion (GILTI)
    • 26 USC 951A
  • Base Erosion & Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT)
    • 26 USC 59A
  • Transfer Pricing
    • 26 USC 482
    • Coca-Cola v. Comm’r. 155 T.C. No. 10 (2020).

Just for fun, and definitely not required:

  • Planet Money: We Set Up An Offshore Company In A
    Tax Haven
  • Planet Money: What We Can Do With Our Shell
  • Planet Money: The Rest of the Story
Last edited: 2023-02-03