Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide a current overview of the public finance law. It combines the legal, structural and constitutional analysis of taxation with the choices of financing functions and services made in the budgets of the State, Regions and local authorities. The latter guarantee the financial balance, in compliance with the constitutional precept and European constraints and the sustainability of those social rights that the Constitution protects at the different levels of territorial government of public finance. Public budgets thus integrate national and European financial forecasting choices with administrative efficiency in the management of financial resources, according to constantly evolving accounting procedures. Therefore, financial law immediately enhances the training acquired with constitutional law and, subsequently, helps to better understand tax law, administrative law, European law and regional law, thus contributing to complete the legal training of the Master's degree in current terms.

Course contents

The aim of the course is to provide students with a basic knowledge of: the structure and functioning of the tax system for financing public expenditure; the principles, structure and functions of the State budget; essential legal institutions characterising the State budgting and public finance system. In line with this objective, the programme will analyse Italian public finance in its legal dimension, devoting a significant part of the discussion to interactions with supranational (European Union) and subnational (regional and local public finance) levels of government.

The programme is divided into 6 fundamental parts.

1. Introduction to the course. Overview of the legal issues of public finance

Public finance: the basic definition and conceptual coordinates.
Interdisciplinary dimension of public finance: economics, law, politics.
The public budget of local and regional authorities and public financial activity: nature, functions, objectives (allocation and redistribution of resources, stabilisation of the economy).
The relationship between revenues and expenditures and the centrality of the State Budget. Financial and economic budget, forecast and final balance. General budgeting principles.
The budget as an instrument of planning, economic policy and administrative-accounting management. Budget and public policies (economic, fiscal, budgetary).
The financing of public expenditure as a condition for the effectiveness of civil, political and social rights and the economic-financial sustainability of the budget.
Framework of the sources of the multi-level financial system. Public accounting between principles, rules and techniques.
2. Public revenues

2.1. Tax revenues

Classification of revenues in the State budget.
Tax revenue and fiscal function. The notion of tax in legislation and in the development of jurisprudence and doctrine.
Tax financing in the Constitution. Fiscal sovereignty and reservation of the law (23 and 75 Const.); fiscal interest; contributory capacity as foundation and legal limit of the taxation power (53.1 Const.).
Legal types of taxes (tax, fee, special contribution, monopoly, environmental taxes). Redistributive justice and tax financing: the economic and political criteria for the allocation of public expenditure among citizens.
Principle of progressivity and redistributive effects of tax financing (53.2 Cost.).
Structure and types of the main taxes in force in the Italian system. Taxation on income, wealth, trade, consumption. Tax system and fiscal systems. Multilevel taxation: decentralisation, fiscal federalism and vertical subsidiarity (reference).
The main economic effects of taxes.
Tax concessions and tax expenditure. Extra-taxation.
The "parafiscality": the financing of the social security system between the insurance model and the fiscal model.
Taxation, public economy and market: in the constitutional and European Union dimension. Fiscal implications of European economic integration and the single market.
2.2. Other public revenue

Extra-tax revenue (coercive and compensatory).
Revenue from disposal of assets. Financial effects of the management of State property and assets. Securitisation phenomena.
2.3. Public debt

The financing of expenditure in budget deficit.
Structure, types, economic and legal effects of public debt.
Public debt, money and savings.
The evolution of public debt in Italy.
The public debt between revenues and expenditures. Debt in public finance balances (primary surplus, deficit, recourse to the market). The so-called floating debt.
European rules on public debt.
3. Public expenditure

Public Expenditure in Article 81 of the Constitution and in the General Law of Accounting and Public Finance 196/2009.
Analysis of the composition of public expenditure. Legal, economic and administrative-accounting typologies and classifications; functional classification by missions and programmes; compulsory charges; expenditures due to legislative factors; expenditure to meet requirements.
The constitutional obligation of financial coverage. The main means of coverage. Quantification criteria in expenditure laws and in the budget law.
Expenditure laws and the relationship with the budget law. Multi-year and permanent expenditure laws.
The "cost of rights" and expenditure resulting from the judgments of the Constitutional Court.

The remodulation of expenditure in the budget.
Monitoring and control of political, administrative and accounting public expenditure; object and procedures for correcting expenditure deviations. Spending review. The safeguard clause
Tax concessions and public expenditure (tax expenditures).
Italian and European rules on the evolution of public expenditure.
4. State budget and financial manoeuvre

Historical evolution of the discipline of Article 81 of the Constitution and of the so-called manoeuvre (from Law 468/1978 to Law 196/2009).
The economic crisis of 2008-2012: the Europeanisation of budget discipline and the reform of Article 81 of the Constitution; the implementation of the reform (2012-2016): Law 243/2012 and subsequent amendments. From the Financial/Stability Law to the Unified Budget Law.
Political guidance on financial matters in the constitutional dialectic between Parliament and Government. The legal reserve and the budget between formal and substantive law. The authorising effect of the budget. The provisional exercise of the budget.
The progressive "Europeanisation" of budgetary procedures. European monetary policy, coordination of European economic policies and surveillance measures in the TFEU. Stability and Growth Pact, Fiscal Compact and European Stability Mechanism.
Financial equilibrium and balanced budget in Articles 81 and 97 of the Constitution and in Law 243/2012. The general public finance balances and the structural balance or medium-term objective. The decision on borrowing between constitutional and European rules. The infringement procedure for excessive deficit and/or debt.
Accounting harmonisation and consolidation of public accounts.
Financial balance as a constitutional "value" and balancing in constitutional case law on social rights.
The legal instruments for planning and policy guidance of the Italian budget cycle. From the European semester to the European budget calendar: Economic and Financial Document and Update Note to the Economic and Financial Document; Budget Planning Document; draft Budget Law; related laws.
Structure and contents of the Budget Law.
5. The legislative and administrative cycle of the State Budget

The process of drafting the budget law and approving the budget package: role and powers of the Government, Parliament and European institutions.

The administrative-accounting management of the budget. The phases and procedures of revenue and expenditure management. The phenomenon of residual assets and liabilities. The time schedule for expenditure management and the strengthening of the cash budget.
Variations in the budget and the adjustment budget.
Balance sheet and financial statements.
Controls (brief outline): political, administrative and accounting, internal and external, management and management controls. The roles of the State's General Accounting Office, the Ministry of the Economy, the Court of Auditors, Parliament and the Parliamentary Budget Office.
6. Public finance of sub-state territorial entities.

Tax and financial autonomy of Regions and Municipalities in articles 117-120 of the Constitution.
The so-called fiscal federalism: own taxes, co-participations and the principle of the prohibition of State financial transfers.
The expenditure of Regions and Municipalities, the essential levels of services and their sustainability. Financial responsibility and equalisation. Constitutional limits on expenditure and debt of sub-state entities.
The coordination of national public finance. From the internal stability pact to the rules on balanced budgets and debt for Regions and Local Authorities (Law 243/2012).

DISCLAIMER FOR STUDENTS OF FINANCIAL LAW (M-Z) teaching code 01621, 7 cfu:

Students opting for the Financial Law at 5th year of their study plan (teaching code 01621), may exclude POINTS 2.1. and 2.2. of the previously indicated programme.


A. Mondini, Corso di Diritto della Finanza pubblica, Wolters Kluwer-Cedam, 2021 (expected release on August/September 2021)

Students of Financial Law 7 CFU (teaching code 01621) in the 5th year can prepare the exam on the same materials, excluding the topics corresponding to points 2.1. and 2.2. of the programme of the course indicated above. It is advisable to contact the professor in class or by e-mail to find out exactly which parts of the textbooks to study.

Supporting teaching materials will be available for students (after authentication with Unibo credentials) on the Unibo online teaching materials site (https://iol.unibo.it).(Access with unibo credentials)

Students are required to consult the main reference legal texts in the current version: the Italian Constitution, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, EU Regulations 1466 and 1467 of 1997, Law 196/2009, Law 243/2012.

Teaching methods

Class attendance is recommended to facilitate a reasoned and gradual understanding of the subject.

Classes will be held in presence or at a distance depending on the evolution of the health emergency from Covid -19.

Assessment methods

The students’ knowledge is assessed through a discussion, to evaluate the actual achievement of the learning outcomes. The exam consists in an interview with the appointed commission on the topics included in the programme.

The assessment will take into account the knowledge of the relevant institutional framework, the ability to analyse doctrinal and jurisprudential opinions and, to single out connections between the relevant topics, to critical reasoning, as well as the clarity of presentation and critical thinking.


By way of example, the following criteria will be used to assign the final mark (that will be out of 30/30):

  • knowledge of a very limited number of topics, extensive support by the interviewer to address and answer the questions, basic yet appropriate language à 18-19/30;
  • knowledge of a limited number of topics, ability to autonomously address basic legal problems, use of appropriate language → 20-24/30;
  • comprehensive knowledge of the programme, ability to autonomously and critically analyse legal problems, use of specific terminology → 25-29/30;
  • extensive knowledge of the programme, ability to reason autonomously and critically analyse legal problems, make connections between the topics, ability to master the specific terminology and ability to present legal arguments. → 30-30L/30.

Office hours

See the website of Giangiacomo D'Angelo


No poverty Decent work and economic growth Peace, justice and strong institutions

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.