PhD Researcher in Tax and corporate law for family businesses

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: 31 Mar 2024

10 Feb 2024
Job Information

Tilburg University
Research Field

Juridical sciences
Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

31 Mar 2024 - 21:59 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Not Applicable
Hours Per Week

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

Are you passionate about delving into the intricate intersection of tax law and corporate law, especially as it relates to family businesses? Join Tilburg Law School as a PhD researcher and immerse yourself in a unique research project on family businesses. Explore the relevant legal questions that arise from the truly unique position of family businesses, characterized by their distinct features and close relationship with the legal frameworks that guide them.

Tilburg Law School is interested in hiring a PhD researcher to study Tax and corporate law for family businesses.

This research project investigates the intersection of tax law and corporate law. The unique features of family businesses raise crucial legal questions regarding the necessity of a specialized tax and corporate law regime tailored to their distinctive position. Three examples illustrate this special position.

Firstly, family businesses are closely-held companies, fostering proximity between shareholders and the company, thus prompting significant tax law and corporate law inquiries. The boundary between family and business capital may be  thin, which could lead  to conflicting interests. Families address these possible conflicts through various means, such as Stichting Administratiekantoor, family council, family statute, shareholder agreement, family foundation, trust, etc. Due to the close relationship between family and business capital and associated ownership rights, a strong connection and interaction exist between corporate governance and family governance. The research question explores whether the close relation between the company and its shareholders warrants a separate regime for family businesses. It is essential to note that company and family governance cannot be viewed separately from the applicable tax regime. In practice, taxes play a pivotal role in designing and implementing corporate and family governance structures. Shareholders may prefer an optimal or tax-efficient structure, leading to another research question.

Secondly, academic and policy discussions often argue that family businesses possess a more long-term focus, rely more on equity financing, and consider a larger variety of stakeholders' interests than just shareholder interests. This is because they closely collaborate with employees and suppliers and have stronger ties to the regions where they operate. If family businesses indeed have positive spillover effects for society, it may justify a special tax and/or governance regime for them. Simultaneously, depending on their size, arguments suggest that family businesses face market restrictions, such as limited access to external finance, difficulties in attracting skilled employees, and challenges in innovation.

Thirdly, the taxation of family businesses raises diverse tax issues. The company’s profit serves as a reward for contributed capital and labor. Undistributed profits have a dual function, essential for financing investments and providing risk capital, but also available for diversified investments. These investments take various forms, including direct private equity investments and portfolio investments. Distinguishing between different sources of income and capital in a tax system is challenging. For instance, the Dutch tax system favors investments through a company over distributions and investments on a personal (shareholders) level, leading to deferred taxation and potential adverse effects.

When considering legal solutions to these and other crucial issues related to family businesses, it is vital to recognize their heterogeneous nature. Companies differ in size, activities, and international presence. Therefore, caution is necessary in adopting one-size-fits-all solutions, as they could introduce new distortions.

Given the broad scope of the research, allowing the PhD candidate to further develop her own direction and research question, we envision the following main research question: How can a specialized legal framework accommodate the unique needs of closely-held family businesses, addressing governance challenges and fostering positive spill-over effects? This may include a legal analysis on three levels. Firstly, a comparative analysis of tax law systems for family businesses. Secondly, a comparative analysis of corporate law and governance systems for family businesses. Thirdly, researching the company and family governance of family businesses. In all three parts, startups are compared with other types of companies, such as private equity and listed companies, where relevant.

Alignment with the Signature Plan ‘Connecting Responsible Organizations’:
This PhD proposal aligns with the Signature Plan’s goal of contributing to sustainable society challenges. Defined by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the plan emphasizes societal and regulatory challenges for a just society and protecting vulnerable entities. The proposal highlights the significance of family businesses, recognizing their unique position and exploring and fostering potential positive spillover effects. It directly contributes to the Signature Plan by investigating the need for a specialized tax and governance regime for family businesses, considering their distinct characteristics.

Specific Requirements

What do we ask?
Tilburg University is curious about how you can contribute to our research, education, impact, and to the team you will be part of. Therefore, we would like to get the best possible picture of your knowledge, insight, skills, and personality. Below you can find the qualifications we consider important for the position.

The candidate:

  • holds a bachelor and master degree on 1 September 2024 at the latest;
  • has an excellent written and spoken command of English;
  • demonstrates scientific integrity
  • preferably a good written and spoken command of one of the languages used in the comparison
  • contributes to an open and inclusive organizational culture.

To maintain a vibrant and active university community, it is important that we meet each other regularly and that the connection between us remains good. Therefore, the premise is that all staff members carry out their work in the Netherlands and that lecturing is done physically.

Additional Information

What do we offer?
Tilburg University offers excellent terms of employment with attention to flexibility and room for (personal) development. We recognize and reward  our employees and encourage the use of talents and strengths.

Tilburg University is committed to an open and inclusive culture, embracing diversity, and encouraging the mutual integration of groups of staff and students. We create equal opportunities for all our staff and students so that everyone feels at home in our university community. 

We work in a vibrant and lively (work) environment on our beautiful campus, close to the forest and easily accessible by public transport. We are committed to a sustainable society and challenge you to make an active contribution to this. 

For this position, we offer:

  • A position based on 1.0 FTE (40 hours per week);
  • It is a vacancy for 4 years. You will initially be appointed for a fixed period of 16 months with a statutory probationary period of two months. After 12 months, an evaluation will take place. If the performance evaluation is positive, your employment agreement will be extended for the remaining period of 32 months.
  • A start salary of €2.770 gross per month for full time employment, based on UFO profile PhD Candidate and salary scale P of the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities . Tilburg University uses a neutral remuneration system for salary scaling;
  • Vacation allowance (8%) and a year-end bonus (8.3%);
  • Vacation days (41 days for a 40-hour work week);
  • Full reimbursement of commuting expenses for sustainable travel: walking, biking and public transportation;
  • Moving allowance;
  • Options Model for benefits and reimbursement of expenses;
  • Employees from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a tax-free allowance of 30/20/10% of their taxable wages. We will apply for this reimbursement for you;
  • You will be enrolled in the General Pension Fund for Public Employers (ABP) through us;
  • Various training courses, for example in leadership skills, personal effectiveness, and career development;
  • A wide range of amenities and facilities and various arrangements to create an optimal work-life balance.

Visit working at Tilburg University  for more information on our terms of employment. 

Selection process

Please attach the following documents to the application:

  • CV 
  • Motivation letter
  • Research statement of up to 2500 words, following the template available on this page:  
  • Copy of your bachelor and master diploma and grade lists. In case you will graduate from your master over the summer, please submit a list of the grades you obtained so far.
  • An academic piece of research (thesis, assignment) written by you
  • Contact information of two referees (including name, phone number, and e-mail address) 
    (see application form). We only approach referees for candidates who go to the second selection round.
  • The first selection interviews will take place in the week of May 20th or the week of May 27th. The selection committee consists of the following members:  

  • Prof. Dr. Elies van Sliedregt (Vice Dean of Research)
  • Prof. Dr. Stan Stevens (prospective supervisor)
  • Dr. Ger van der Sangen (prospective supervisor)
  • Dr. Anne Lafarre
  • Ideally, you will start working for Tilburg University on 1 September 2024.

    Additional comments

    We invite you to apply online for this position by March 31 (23:59 CEST). 

    More information about the vacancy can be obtained from Prof. Dr. Stan Stevens ([email protected] ) or Dr. Ger van der Sangen ([email protected] ).

    Website for additional job details

    Work Location(s)
    Number of offers available
    Tilburg University
    Postal Code
    5037 AB
    Warandelaan 2

    Where to apply



    Warandelaan 2
    Postal Code

    5037 AB


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