Toggle Dark Mode
Apple’s taxes have been the subject of a fair amount of criticism recently. The most profitable company in the world has come under fire for their so-called “tax avoidance” strategies – a 2012 investigation by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee claimed that Apple has used “a complex web of offshore entities – including three foreign subsidiaries the company claims are not tax resident in any nation – to avoid paying billions of dollars in U.S. income taxes.”
According to that investigation, Apple avoided paying some $9 billion in U.S. taxes in 2012 alone. Apple claims most of its overseas profits in Ireland, where it pays an average tax rate of only 2.5% – in fact, the company is currently under investigation (and will likely be for quite some time) by the European Commission for their tax practices.
During a 60 Minutes interview last December, Apple CEO Tim Cook called the tax avoidance criticism “total political crap,” claiming that the company pays “every tax dollar [they] owe,” some people disagree. During a recent interview with BBC, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said that he believes that Apple should be paying 50% in taxes – he believes that “every company in the world should.”
“I don’t like the idea that Apple might be unfair – not paying taxes the way I do as a person,” Wozniak said. “I do a lot of work, I do a lot of travel and I pay over 50% of anything I make in taxes and I believe that’s part of life and you should do it.” Wozniak claimed that when he helped start the company 40 years ago, he never envisioned that the company would be looking to avoid paying their fair share of taxes – “We didn’t think we’d be figuring out how to go off to the Bahamas and have special accounts like people do to try to hide their money.”
“But, you know, on the other hand I look back any company that is a public company, its shareholders are going to force it to be as profitable as possible and that means financial people studying all the laws of the world and figuring out all the schemes that work that are technically legal. They’re technically legal and it bothers me and I would not live my life that way.”
Wozniak, who co-founded the company in 1976 and left in 1985, did have some kind words for the state of the current company. He defended the company in their recent skirmish with the FBI regarding access to their users’ iPhone data – “Apple has been the good guy. There are politicians who do not have a clue as to what cyber security is all about trying to pass laws saying Apple has to make a product less secure… That is just so horrible.”
Do you think this is unfair? Or is the company just being smart? Let us know in the comments.