Steve Wozniak Says Apple Should Pay 50% Tax Rate

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Apr 22, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has spoken out in favor of Apple and all other companies in the world paying the same 50% tax rate he does, calling anything less "unfair".

    In an interview with the BBC published this morning, Wozniak, who left Apple in 1986, said that every company in the world should pay the same rate he pays as an individual. "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," he said.


    Tax avoidance has been brought back into focus by the recent Panama Papers revelations, a huge leak of documents that lifted the lid on how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth.

    Asked about companies maximizing profit and the related issue of tax havens, Wozniak said he was personally never interested in making money, unlike his former partner, Steve Jobs. "Jobs started Apple Computers for money, that was his big thing and that was extremely important and critical and good," he said. "[But] 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."

    "On the other hand," he continued, "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."

    Asked if he worried that Apple had moved so far away from its founding principles that it was now looking to actively pay less tax, Wozniak replied: "The company we founded in 1976 knew that we would be a worldwide company selling huge amounts of computers everywhere, and we just assumed we would pay taxes on it. And maybe the tax rates are different for a company than they are for a person, but that's something that bothers me to this day."

    Apple is one of several multinational corporations that have been targeted for possible corporate tax avoidance in Europe. In September 2014, the European Commission formally accused it of receiving illegal state aid from Ireland, where it has reportedly paid a reduced tax rate of around 1.8% on its overseas profits.

    In a March hearing at the European Parliament's tax committee, Apple claimed it was the "largest taxpayer in the world", in 2015 paying $13.2 billion in taxes worldwide at an effective tax rate of 36.4%.

    Earlier this month, candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination for the United States, Bernie Sanders, said he wished Apple would stop trying not to pay its fair share of taxes and move some of its manufacturing to the U.S.

    Tim Cook has previously said that Apple pays all of the taxes that it owes. In a December interview with Charlie Rose, he said accusations Apple avoids taxes on revenue held overseas is "total political crap". "There is no truth behind it," he said. "Apple pays every tax dollar we owe."

    A decision in the European Commission's probe of Apple's tax affairs in Ireland is unlikely to be reached soon, according to EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager, who told reporters querying its conclusion, "Don't hold your breath."

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: Steve Wozniak Says Apple Should Pay 50% Tax Rate
  2. smacrumon, Apr 22, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016

    smacrumon macrumors 68030


    Jan 15, 2016
    Brilliant! This is the spirit of what Apple was founded on, the spirit of two Steves.

    Unfortunately to date Apple has gone down the unsavoury route of shifting profits to different countries to reduce their tax. A convoluted mix of highly unethical funds movements. That's not the Apple I wish to be associated with.

    Apple is a global company. Various countries around the world tax citizens and companies taxation amounts between 15% to 45% (plus or minus a few %). Apple taxes its developers 30% on sales to include apps in the App Store. Apple, with its incredible financial success, is primed to pay at the very least 30% tax for all sales it makes in the country which it has made the sale. Wozniak's 50% is even more progressive. I like it very much. It is fair and it is right. Thank you, Steve.
  3. Dilster3k, Apr 22, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016

    Dilster3k macrumors 6502a


    Jul 20, 2014
    Frankfurt, Germany
    What do you expect with a broken ass system?

    Ethical? Maybe not.
    Illegal? Nope.

    I personally would find legal ways to protect wealth to that degree as well, other than dumping 50% of that hard earned cash into the government, which either way has a terrible track record of spending taxpayers money. That's why the Panama Papers scandal isn't that surprising either.
  4. H2SO4, Apr 22, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016

    H2SO4 macrumors 601

    Nov 4, 2008
    Took his time, but wholeheartedly agree. Though of course Tim thinks they already ‘… every dollar they owe, and doesn’t just follow the letter of the law but also folllows the ‘spirit of the law’.
    What gets me is that he says it with a straight face.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 22, 2016 ---
    Which is fine but be upfront about it. Don’t pretend.
    Panama Papers isn’t just government. I think even the name Jackie Chan was mentioned somewhere. Why should those in the corporate world be any different?

    H2SO4Rumors approached Apple but they were/are/always will be, unavailable for comment on this issue.
  5. Gudi macrumors 68030


    May 3, 2013
    Berlin, Berlin
    I love Woz, but there is one little flaw with his idea. What would a dysfunctional government do with all this corporate money? If it can't handle the money of the people right, it won't do any better with the Apple treasure.
  6. convergent macrumors 68030


    May 6, 2008
    I used to like this guy... but this is just nutty. Woz is filthy rich and would probably be happy being poor... has not much use for money. Apple is a public company... they are not going to just voluntarily pay a much higher tax burdens than they are legally required to do. If the over controlling government went to a simpler flat tax... same percentage for everyone... and stopped trying to control people through the complex tax code, then they would be paying more tax legally.
  7. Porco macrumors 68030


    Mar 28, 2005
    ...and then the government will have all the money they need to pay hackers to get into encrypted iPhones!

    Seriously, I agree with him. There's an argument for lower taxes for smaller companies still trying to make it, because if a company fails, it won't be paying any taxes at all pretty soon... but companies making off-the-charts huge profits like Apple should be paying more tax, not less tax because they can hire fancy accountants and move their money around to (legally but not morally) avoid paying what they are really supposed to.

    Having said that, any company with shareholders has a responsibility to maximise profits to some extent. So it's also important governments reduce loopholes and coordinate better on these issues in the first place. However, I do think that a public-facing consumer brand such as Apple can make a better impression by demonstrably paying all the tax they should according to the spirit, not just the letter of the law, and I think an increasing number of people are willing to boycott companies who aren't paying their way. It is possible for high profits and ethical tax planning to be compatible
  8. smacrumon macrumors 68030


    Jan 15, 2016
    They'd fund schools properly. They'd support and fix a hospital system in crisis. There would be great outcomes for everyone if companies paid proper tax.
  9. H2SO4 macrumors 601

    Nov 4, 2008
    What a way to miss the point. Do not pass Go or collect £200!
    What they are doing is not in keeping with the image of whiter than white that Tim likes to portray. Guess what, Tims employees and Apple themselves get to take full advantage of the public services that Apple does not contribute properly to. Which means I pay more and/or get less. Just like you.
  10. Mums Suspended


    Oct 4, 2011
    I can't believe my ears when I hear people defending taxes! Collectivists are such gumps. Go ahead and pay your taxes you fools. Hope they pave your roads lol.
  11. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Companies have an obligation to their shareholders to pay as little tax as possible. This doesn't make it right, though it makes it understandable. Nobody willingly pays more than they have to, so you'll have to change the law to prevent it from happening.

    However TC is talking rubbish when he says that Apple is following both the letter and the spirit of the law. Mind you, you can't very well say that you're legally exploiting tax loopholes.
  12. Crosscreek macrumors 68030


    Nov 19, 2013
    Apple just ain't the same company. I love you too Woz.
  13. Amacfa macrumors 65816


    May 22, 2009
    This only makes sense if every single company had to follow the same tax laws. It doesn't make sense for Apple to have to pay higher taxes when other companies can legally get away with paying zip.
  14. Gudi macrumors 68030


    May 3, 2013
    Berlin, Berlin
    Yeah, right. Surely the money won't be spend on a bigger wall to Mexico or something. How much was it to unlock this one iPhone again? Oh no, corporate tax money directly goes to schools! Why wouldn't it?
  15. ChristianVirtual macrumors 601


    May 10, 2010
    They would buy more B2 bomber and tanks ... No schools or hospitals ... Sorry.
  16. oftheheavens macrumors 68000

    Jul 9, 2008
    cherry point
    I'm educated and still can't seem to get a grasp on how taxes are handled. I have been doing my families taxes for a decade now and we have lived in several countries. The main theme, and the point I am trying to get to, in all the countries was that I felt the taxes should just be a set amount across the board. For example, it doesn't matter if you make 10k a year or 10B a year you would have to pay something like 15%. I'm just throwing out numbers but what I am saying is that if it was a simple tax code with an even percentage for everyone we wouldn't have people escaping tax bills by building in other countries. Again though, I don't understand all the fine print on taxes.
  17. acctman macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2012
    that's wishful thinking... what really and honestly would happen... Politicians will be paid more, more money for wars, ridiculous spending on items to fit there political life style. The schools, hospital that really need the money will never receive it because the wealthier ones that are already have enough usually get even more. Keep in mind the country did have a surplus 10 or more years ago and that was thrown away to the point the country owes more.

    it would be smarter if corporations like Apple and Google were aloud to take there tax money and give it directly to schools, legal charities, hospitals, etc. bypass the gov't and put the money directly in the hands of organizations that need them. But even then, you still have to oversee the money cause too many people are just out to line there own pockets give out pay increases.
  18. smacrumon macrumors 68030


    Jan 15, 2016
    I wouldn't normally entertain this kind of rationale put forward by these comments. The answer is first Apple (et al) must all pay more taxes 30-50% tax. The second is to vote the right people into government that will spend these taxes honestly. If there's any doubt your local political representative is dishonest and has an agenda that doesn't serve the people of the nation, do not vote for them even if they support your regular political party. Find a better constituent that will represent the people of the country best.
  19. Torq macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2009
    No corporation actually pays any tax at all; not directly at least - it's all just passed on to their customers. So the moment you start voting for corporations to pay more tax you're a) voting yourself a cost-increase and/or b) giving them incentives to move to more tax-friendly locales (on, or off, shore).

    Woz ... you're awesome - but stick to engineering please; apparently fundamental economics is beyond your grasp.
  20. Benjamin Frost, Apr 22, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016

    Benjamin Frost Suspended

    Benjamin Frost

    May 9, 2015
    London, England
    Good for Woz, though I would say that 40% is a reasonable rate.

    Apple is wilfully breaking the Ten Commandments in stealing from everyone around the world. It is deliberately evading tax in order to pay as little as possible. Why should I not be able to set up a company in Ireland and pay a fraction of the tax I currently pay? Because it is ethically wrong to do so.

    Tim Cook is a hypocrite whose morality is perverse.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 22, 2016 ---

    Let's blow those Islamic terrorists to kingdom come.
  21. AFEPPL, Apr 22, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016

    AFEPPL macrumors 68030


    Sep 30, 2014
    If corporations like apple paid their share locally individual tax rates would go down for everyone
  22. Gudi macrumors 68030


    May 3, 2013
    Berlin, Berlin
  23. dannys1 macrumors 68020


    Sep 19, 2007
    Whilst I agree with your sentiment, there's a slight misnomer in what you've said. Tim and his employees themselves will be paying 50% tax on their personal income they take out of Apple. So whilst Apple the company itself is paying reduce means to improve its profits, its not like Tim or the employees can just dip into this tax free cash without declaring it themselves.
  24. smacrumon macrumors 68030


    Jan 15, 2016
    Simpsons are great, but what is your counter argument?
    People get the governments they deserve. Vote the wrong people in, head in the wrong direction.
    Apple must pay more tax 30-50%.

  25. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    Why is he paying 50%? Looks like he needs better accountants.

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