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Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance

Department of Business and Tax Law
Professor Dr Dr hc Wolfgang Schön

The research of the Department of Business and Tax Law is concerned with the legal framework for nationally and internationally active companies provided by the different fields of private and tax law. This legal framework does not only shape these companies’ structure but also has an important influence on business decisions in general. Important elements of this research perspective are corporate law, providing for different legal forms, accounting, and capital market law, imposing various obligations on the companies in order to protect investors and the functioning of financial markets. These elements are complemented by tax law, which forces firms to contribute to the national budget.

The basic parameters of a country’s tax system not only determine the scope of the state’s intervening powers but also the market situation of the participants in the economic system. Against the background of international regulatory competition in the sphere of taxation, the Institute is concerned with the design of national and cross-border taxation rules as important tasks of economic and political action – such as the rules concerning the assessment of profits or the taxation of companies. Manifold issues in accounting, corporate law and securities regulation are also legally and politically analyzed in the context of regulatory competition.

Additionally, the Department deals with basic matters of the private legal order, notably the question of the character and the impact of private law in relation to public law (especially tax law) or to alternative incentive mechanisms of administrative law.

Research Areas

Tax law

The Institute’s research is focused — apart from fundamental themes like the rule of law in tax matters — on comparative, European and international business taxation, on legal and policy implications of cross-border tax competition and on the mutual dependence of rule-setting in private law and tax law.

Accounting law

The Institute’s research addresses basic questions and specific issues in accounting, which lies at the interface of different areas of business law and serves a variety of different purposes.

Corporate law in European and international contexts

The Institute’s legal research in corporate and capital markets law strives to combine international business reality with legal doctrine as well as economic theory. This requires a functional approach, which relies on internationality as well as interdisciplinarity.

Studying at the Institute

The opportunity to work as a doctoral student at the Institute is open to young academics regardless of nationality or whether they have completed their legal studies in Germany or abroad. Knowledge of German is not an indispensable requirement for pursuing a Ph.D. at the Institute. All of the Institute’s doctoral students receive a research support contract which covers the entire planned duration of doctoral study. 

For further information and application please visit the Insitute’s website: https://www.tax.mpg.de/en/home.html



Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance

Marstallplatz 1
80539 Munich

Tel: +49 89 24246-0
Fax: +49 89 24246-501


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