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Government Apple

Apple Paid $0 In Taxes To New Zealand, Despite Sales of $4.2 Billion (nzherald.co.nz) 448

Apple paid no income tax to New Zealand's Inland Revenue Department for the last 10 years, according to an article shared by sit1963nz, prompting calls for the company to "do the right thing" even from some American-based Apple users. From the New Zealand Herald: Bryan Chaffin of The Mac Observer, an Apple community blog site founded in 1998...wrote that Apple was the largest taxpayer in the United States, but 'pays next to nothing in most parts of the world... [L]ocal taxes matter. Roads matter. Schools matter. Housing authorities matter. Health care matters. Regulation enforcement matters. All of the things that support civil society matter. Apple's profits are made possible by that civil society, and the company should contribute its fair share.'"
Apple's accounts "show apparent income tax payments of $37 million," according to an earlier article, "but a close reading shows this sum was actually sent abroad to the Australian Tax Office, an arrangement that has been in place since at least 2007. Had Apple reported the same healthy profit margin in New Zealand as it did for its operations globally it would have paid $356 million in taxes over the period."

"It is absolutely extraordinary that they are able to get away with paying zero tax in this country," said Green Party co-leader James Shaw. "I really like Apple products -- they're incredibly innovative -- but it looks like their tax department is even more innovative than their product designers."

Apple Paid $0 In Taxes To New Zealand, Despite Sales of $4.2 Billion

Comments Filter:
  • That's their job (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Notabadguy ( 961343 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @09:48PM (#54070913)

    "but it looks like their tax department is even more innovative than their product designers."

    That's their job. Change your laws.

    • Re: That's their job (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 19, 2017 @09:57PM (#54070943)

      It's not even that.

      Apple Australia and Apple NZ deliberately run at no profit, because they are not meant to run a profit. There job is to get products in people hands and handle returns.

      If they make money, Apple would just charge Apple NZ more money for products, until they make no money.

      Apple (ireland?) buy all the products from apple china and sell them to Apple NZ at a profit.

      Every government wants in on this.

      The truth is, governments are prepping for a tax on revenue, essentially a value add / gst tax increase, but not called that.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 19, 2017 @11:52PM (#54071303)
        IT is EXACTLY THAT. The current tax laws allow for transferring of costs and profits in and out of the country. correct laws preventing this can correct the situation or if they find that too difficult they could just impose a total local revenue tax as you suggested or even a tax as a percentage of total profits based on local size. Their are numerous ways to address it and as much as I despise apple the people to be pissed at are the individual countries pollies who have dragged their feet in changing tax laws to catch these scumbags.
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      Change your laws.

      NZ would not change their laws, as the far away country makes whatever possible to attract businesses. However, import duties, VAT and GST on Apple expensive products give their fair share of tax revenue.

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @11:58PM (#54071329)

      That's their job. Change your laws.

      Indeed. How many individuals "do the right thing" and pay extra taxes beyond what they are legally required to pay?

      It is not Apple's fault that NZ has dumb tax laws.

      • Re: That's their job (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dunkelfalke ( 91624 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @03:04AM (#54071763)

        And yet most individuals pay more income tax than Apple.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        NZ doesn't really have dumb tax laws, out of date yes, silly no. they simply are laws that were designed in good faith around international companies and how those companies operated a couple of decades ago. At the time of their design (similar to most other countries) the idea of the double irish etc were not heavily utilised or known about by companies so designing tax laws to prevent exploitation by these means was simply unnecessary, however companies have gotten far more mobile, unscrupulous and smart
      • Re:That's their job (Score:5, Interesting)

        by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @05:04AM (#54071987) Journal

        Indeed. How many individuals "do the right thing" and pay extra taxes beyond what they are legally required to pay?

        Many.

        Over here (the UK) there's all sorts of weird shennanigans you can pull if you put in the effort by contacting via offshore companies, and every so often you hear about people in the news doing so. Such things are available to everyone in principle. Most people don't do that and simply take salary the normal way and pay taxes the normal way.

        Most people don't "like" paying taxes and grumble about them except that we all like our smoothly operating first world country with a high standard of living. Combine the awkwardness of actually setting up such a scheme legally with the vague feeling of unease many people get due to not being psychopaths and realising that not paying their fair share is bad and the result is most people pay a reasonable amount of tax.

        It is not Apple's fault that NZ has dumb tax laws.

        See this is why we can't have nice things. It's very hard to set up laws that allow reasonable business things and can't be abused. Because of scum like Amazon, now every small company has to deal with the horror of VATMOSS. Your idea to fix the laws is great and all but it will hit every single company that legitimately licenses IP of various sorts from abroad in a perfectly normal, non tax dodging way.

        The only fiduciary duty that company directors have is to not fuck up egregiously or with intent. You can check the case law if you like, but until you can provide a reference where someone actually won a lawsuit over breach of fiduciary duty for merely not maximizing profits, I won't accept such a duty exists. There's also duties in many countries about public good as well.

        Someone, somewhere chose to dodge those taxes. Just because they were able to get away with it doesn't mean it wasn't their fault. Ultimately people are responsible for their actions.

      • Re:That's their job (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @05:46AM (#54072065) Journal

        How many individuals "do the right thing" and pay extra taxes beyond what they are legally required to pay?

        It depends on what you mean by 'legally required to pay'. The amount of tax that I pay is the amount that you get by taking my salary and multiplying the parts of it in different tax brackets by the tax rates. There are a huge number of tax avoidance schemes that I could use to reduce my tax burden, but I've received a lot of benefits from living in a functioning society with a working social safety net and I can quite easily afford the taxes, so I'd rather just pay them. I doing so, I am not in a minority, this is precisely what most other people in the UK do.

        If this is your definition of paying more than you are 'legally required to pay', then most people do, but most large corporations don't.

    • if Apple and the rest of the corporations weren't busy buying those same laws with the tax dollars they're not paying...
    • Re:That's their job (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 20, 2017 @03:55AM (#54071857)

      I hope people understand the consequences of demanding changes to taxes for corporations. I'm not defending the status-quo, but you have to understand how US taxes are out of step with the rest of the world.

      US companies are taxed, no matter where their income is generated. US citizens are taxed no matter where their income is generated. Therefor US companies and US citizens are not competitive with foreign companies or foreign workers. The US only gets away with it's taxes because moving companies is impossible (eg burger king merging with tim hortons and thus becoming a canadian company) without a huge expense of buying and creating numbered companies that exist for a short period of time. US citizens are not mobile like EU citizens are.

      So you have two options, either make trade with the rest of the world ridiculously expensive with tariffs, thus protecting the domestic workforce and domestic corporations from having to compete, OR you force your domestic workforce and corporations to compete. Trump is going to try the former through regressive policy.

      What would fix things, or even the playing field is by literately getting rid of corporate taxes and push ALL taxation onto the workforce. Because rich people create shell corporations to hold their assets, they love this idea. But it's not good for people who can't do that. So the correct fix for this is to tax people based on where they own property. So unless you never want to "own" a home, you pay taxes everywhere.

      Since US taxes are out of step with the rest of the world (the only country that requires you to pay taxes by virtue of being born a US Citizen) that has to change.

      So basically, if you own a home, you pay worldwide income taxes to that country that home is owned in. If you have a home in two countries, then guess what, you pay taxes in both places. Minimize the tax burden by declaring "non-immigrant(alien) resident" and split the taxes between each country that you own a home in. You'd do this by indicating the address of every home owned, and dividing the taxes by all of them. So if you own 3 homes, 1 in Canada and 2 in the US, then you pay 1/3 of Canada's taxes to Canada, and 2/3rds to the US, and the IRS and CRA will simply verify that taxes have been paid in each others country. Problem solved.

      To solve the corporate taxation problem, you make sure that "wealth holding companies", numbered companies, etc, play no corporate taxes to any government, but must pay out 90-100% of profits (eg like a REIT or Income Trust) or re-invest those funds (eg they can not be paid to anyone) if directed to do so. That way the tax payers are consistently paying taxes on capital gains, it's like having a personal bank that pays high interest.

      • So, the Corporate pays no taxes.
        The Corporate then owns the home, and pays no taxes
        The corporate effective makes zero profit , but it pays 100% of it back to the resident of the house, the sole shareholder.

        That corporation is outside of US law, so it can do all sorts of things, like pay for the house occupier to inspect the other houses they may occupy, first class flights, house staff, access to a boat etc.

        These people will pay HUGE election donations to what ever politicians they need to to ensure t
    • "but it looks like their tax department is even more innovative than their product designers."

      That's their job. Change your laws.

      Taking advantage through bullshit loopholes and questionable interpretation done blatantly and flagrantly to a system that has little capability to audit and hold abusers accountable is not easily resolved with "change your laws", unless you're talking about making ethics a matter of legality.

      Done properly and ethically, the tax systems of the world would generate billions more in benefits to society. Instead, we watch the chasm of wealth grow and divide the elite from the rest of the "poor" world, who's

  • If it's legal... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Sunday March 19, 2017 @09:52PM (#54070929)

    People always complain about this sort of thing, but you know most individuals would use legal tax "loop-holes" to avoid paying taxes if they could (and many wealthy people come close). Apple and all the other zero-tax paying companies are not non-profits, they're in it for the money. If people are upset about all this, perhaps our elected representatives can change the laws? Seriously, if it's legal, what of it? Like I said, most people would do the same if they could...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 19, 2017 @10:03PM (#54070961)

      Seriously, if it's legal, what of it?

      There is legal and there is ethical. Only people in the law profession put the former before the latter.

      After all, everything slave owners did and the Third Reich (oh my Godwin!) was entirely legal at the time.

      • by Notabadguy ( 961343 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @10:28PM (#54071035)

        Seriously, if it's legal, what of it?

        There is legal and there is ethical. Only people in the law profession put the former before the latter.

        After all, everything slave owners did and the Third Reich (oh my Godwin!) was entirely legal at the time.

        Paying more taxes is not ethical. Nor is it like slavery or nazis. Governments are necessary evils to maintain social contracts and civilization. Overreaching government is unethical. Government double-taxing is unethical.

        And...corporate income tax is a dumb idea in the first place, when those funds have already been taxes through both income and sales.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        There is a certain category of acts that are wrong regardless of the legalities. There are others that are wrong because they are against the law. Legally enslaving people falls in the former category. Legally paying zero taxes falls in the latter category. Note that "legally" does a lot of work in that sentence. For example, it presumes accounting and reporting that complies with the law, that is honest, etc. But if Apple is following the law in NZ, they are not doing anything unethical.
        • by cas2000 ( 148703 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @11:43PM (#54071275)

          Nope. Tax evasion definitely falls into the former category, wrong regardless of "legality". Especially if achieved via legalistic shenanigans. And doubly so if those shenanigans are only possible due to favourable tax laws and interpretations obtained via corrupt political lobbying and campaign financing.

          Corporations benefit from all the things that taxes provide - roads, police, education, and thousands more - so they should contribute to them as well.

          hate to break it to you, but you're NOT a temporarily embarrassed millionaire. These tax scams you're championing (out of some brainwashed mindless fantasy that one day you'll "make it" and be part of the exploiter classes rather than the exploited) are NEVER going to benefit you. They're stealing from you, and from everyone else.

          • Tax evasion, by definition, is illegal. What's being discussed here is tax avoidance, which isn't. And if nobody ever engaged in tax avoidance, what incentive would politicians have to fix tax law? If anything, there needs to be more tax avoidance, preferably highly public, to shame them into acting. And the public needs to start putting the blame on the politicians, where it belongs. If the politicians are letting themselves be bought off, one more reason to blame them.

            They're stealing from you, and from everyone else.

            Yes, keep confusing legal and illegal

      • They're screwing over entire NATIONS and you ask what of it?
      • by Koby77 ( 992785 )
        It's perfectly ethical to follow the law in a free country like New Zealand and pay whatever taxes you owe. If the amount that you owe calculates to zero, then you are still acting ethically. The legislature is, of course, free to vote to change the tax laws, but there are often unintended consequences that come of it. Taxing your country's economic activity always produces less activity.
        • by ttsai ( 135075 )

          It's perfectly ethical to follow the law in a free country like New Zealand and pay whatever taxes you owe. If the amount that you owe calculates to zero, then you are still acting ethically. The legislature is, of course, free to vote to change the tax laws, but there are often unintended consequences that come of it. Taxing your country's economic activity always produces less activity.

          I disagree. In my opinion, governmental laws define the absolute minimum level of conduct that is allowed to avoid sanction. To say that I am a law-abiding citizen is equivalent to saying that I am as close to being a criminal as possible. The threshold of ethical behavior lies well beyond the lines of legality.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Have you never heard of austerity measure, people are suffering and dying as a result. The responsible should pay for those deaths, corporate executives, lobbyists and corrupt politicians. They should pay in kind for the suffering they have caused through sheer insensate greed, they are to be condemned as individuals and as corporations, truly disgusting behaviour.

    • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @11:56PM (#54071319) Journal

      If people are upset about all this, perhaps our elected representatives can change the laws?

      The problem with this is that these companies have an army of lawyers trying to find holes in whatever laws are passed. They can find these holes faster than laws can be patched because governments have to tread carefully to make sure new laws do not accidentally penalize companies who are behaving themselves. The only way I can see governments defeating this is by giving themselves far more discretionary taxation power to target individual companies than they currently have and that can lead to abuse of that power if we are not careful.

  • Instead of the stupid fucking tax laws that let this shit happen. Lessee. I can pay this weird dude $300k to do my taxes, and he saves me > 300k in taxes. Win!!

    Fix the fucking goddamned tax laws for fucks sake.

    Oh, my bad. Dude/industry giving my re-election campaign hundreds of thousands goes away. Loophole? What loophole?
  • VAT (Score:5, Informative)

    by blogagog ( 1223986 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @10:07PM (#54070975)
    The VAT tax rate on that $4.2 billion is 15%. New Zealand made a lot of money off those iphone sales.
    • Re:VAT (Score:5, Informative)

      by haruchai ( 17472 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @10:15PM (#54070995)

      The VAT tax rate on that $4.2 billion is 15%. New Zealand made a lot of money off those iphone sales.

      And all those taxes were paid by New Zealanders. Who still had to pay other taxes.

      • by khallow ( 566160 )

        And all those taxes were paid by New Zealanders. Who still had to pay other taxes.

        Sounds win-win for everyone. New Zealanders pay for their government, government gets the taxes and spends it on stuff New Zealanders apparently want, and Apple gets lower tax rates.

      • Taxes levied against businesses are paid by the customer, too. Doesn't matter where you try to hide the tax, it is the customer that ends up paying.

    • The VAT tax rate on that $4.2 billion is 15%. New Zealand made a lot of money off those iphone sales.

      Isn't VAT paid by the people who BOUGHT the iphones?

    • The VAT is collected from Apple's customers, though, not Apple themselves. And in fact, if the 'government services' that said collected taxes are applied toward the interests of the taxpayers it could lead to a very different situation for Apple than exists in many countries.

      Why should Apple customers pay tax to their government and then have their government act in Apple's interest against them?

      Perhaps New Zealand could set up a national firewall that intercepts and bypasses Apple's App store. App Store

    • to make up the difference? That's something I hear from anti-gov't/anti-tax folks every time. e.g. that there's no point to government since they corps will just work around it. Or if in fact that New Zealand _can_ get revenue from taxes to run a country/civilization then maybe allowing these sorts of tax dodges (bought and paid for by Apple themselves) is detrimental to everyone but a lucky few 1%ers...
  • by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @10:15PM (#54071001)

    This is a basic problem with corporate income tax: everyone in the world feels they are entitled to their "fair share". Corporate tax itself is a kind of double taxation: a corporation is made up of people who pay income tax. In addition, there is sales tax paid on all goods sold in a given country. I imagine a great deal of sales tax has been paid on Apple products in New Zealand, money the government wouldn't have if Apple didn't sell products there.

    The problem with corporate income tax is that it is always possible for a mutlinational corporation to shift its profits to whichever country offers the lowest tax rate, unfairly enriching that one country. The best solution is probably to get rid of corporate income tax altogether, and make up the difference with sales taxes. (After all, the cost of corporate taxes are passed along to the consumers anyway.) This way, there's no arguing about who is entitled to the tax money: it's paid by the consumer wherever the sale takes place. This isn't the first time corporate taxes have caused problems: remember the court battle in which the E.U. argued that Apple owed more taxes to the Irish government, despite the fact that the Irish government didn't even want those revenues? This is the kind of absurdity that results from corporate taxes.

    • by Mitreya ( 579078 )

      Corporate tax itself is a kind of double taxation: a corporation is made up of people who pay income tax

      Ok, I am not a tax specialist, but isn't corporate tax applied to profit?
      Wouldn't people's salaries (on which they pay income taxes) count as a corporate expense and be deducted from the profit already?

      The problem with corporate income tax is that it is always possible for a mutlinational corporation to shift its profits to whichever country offers the lowest tax rate

      I believe the solution is to prevent shifting profit (forbid "licensing" costs that transfer profit from one country to another).

      remember the court battle in which the E.U. argued that Apple owed more taxes to the Irish government, despite the fact that the Irish government didn't even want those revenues? This is the kind of absurdity that results from corporate taxes.

      Not absurd at all. Ireland tried to do something E.U. membership explicitly forbids. Whether they "wanted" these taxes from Apple is completely irrelevant.

      • Ok, I am not a tax specialist, but isn't corporate tax applied to profit?

        But those profits still enrich the company. Which means the value of the shares go up and shareholders pay capital gains taxes. No matter how you look at it, corporate income tax is double taxation.

        remember the court battle in which the E.U. argued that Apple owed more taxes to the Irish government, despite the fact that the Irish government didn't even want those revenues? This is the kind of absurdity that results from corporate taxes.

        Not absurd at all. Ireland tried to do something E.U. membership explicitly forbids. Whether they "wanted" these taxes from Apple is completely irrelevant.

        Wow. If you don't see the absurdity in a company being forced to pay taxes to a government that doesn't want them, then it will probably be very hard to convince you. At the very least, it turns the idea of taxes entirely on its head. Taxes are supposed to be a means of collecting revenue so a government can

    • by cas2000 ( 148703 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @12:06AM (#54071361)

      Corporate taxation is double-taxation because their employees and customers pay taxes. Really? Do you have any idea how fucking stupid this line of argument is?

      it's no different to saying "i shouldn't pay tax because the shopkeepers i buy shit from will pay tax", who then say "no tax for me because my employees pay tax", who then claim tax-exemption by pointing back to the fact that the shops THEY buy shit from pay tax.

      and sure, if you're a properly brainwashed American, you'll think you're "clever" by saying something like "Yeah, exactly! Tax is theft". but tax is how civilisation is paid for. It's why you're not a slave in some shit-poor stone-age (or bronze-age at best) economy. It's why you can read, it's why you can do at least basic arithmetic (and can hopefully count your change when you buy shit). It's why countless things that you take for granted in your life exist and are maintained.

      Every fucking cent has passed through multiple hands and has been taxed multiple times as it cycles through the economy. Exempting corporations from paying tax because of that is just fucking cretinous.

      The problem with corporate income tax is that it is always possible for a mutlinational corporation to shift its profits to whichever country offers the lowest tax rate, unfairly enriching that one country. The best solution is probably to get rid of corporate income tax altogether

      yeah. just like the best solution to burglary is for everyone to put all their possessions on the front lawn to make it easier for thieves. fucking idiot!

      This isn't the first time corporate taxes have caused problems: remember the court battle in which the E.U. argued that Apple owed more taxes to the Irish government, despite the fact that the Irish government didn't even want those revenues

      That happened because Apple was using Ireland to evade paying taxes in the countries where they sold their products. Unsurprisingly, those countries were pissed off by that tax-evading loophole, so took court action to force Apple pay the same tax regardless of where they claimed to be making the profit, making the whole profit-shifting bullshit pointless. Or worse than pointless because the administrative overhead in creating and maintaining that bullshit also has a monetary cost.

      Also, the government of Ireland had a responsibility to the **PEOPLE** of Ireland to collect that tax, regardless of how many kickbacks and bribes the MPs took not to collect it.

      • Good job with bringing the hammer down on inane attempts at arguments and the morons who bring them!
        Would mod up if I had mod points.

    • Corporate income tax is not double taxation, it is a fee for limited liability. If corporation owners don't like that then they can always accept unlimited liability as individuals and use an insurance as a liability limiting measure. Unfortunately they want to have their cake and eat it, too.

  • by tonymercmobily ( 658708 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @10:21PM (#54071015) Homepage Journal

    This is insane. A country has the power to make laws. New Zealand has laws and agreements in place that ALLOW this. Then, the same government whines if these agreements are used by companies.
    If I make a rule in my house, where anybody coming in can take a candy per person, I should not complain about a greedy family of 36 shows up and takes 36 candies. I can change the rules, adjust them, fix them, but definitely not whinge about it.

    Those laws are made to please the politician's rich friends -- as well as the politicians themselves -- so that they can move their assets and income to countries with stupidly low rates (Ireland, Caribbean, etc.). If you don't want this to happen, change the laws. If you can't change the laws without upsetting your rich friends, put up and shut up.

    Free Software Magazine [freesoftwaremagazine.com]

    • by cas2000 ( 148703 )

      The NZ government does NOT have laws that allow this.

      Apple lies and says that they make no profit in NZ because they buy their own products at artificially inflated prices from themselves in Ireland.

      NZ wants to close this lying fucking bullshit loophole.

      and fuckwits like you support Apple when they whinge about the prospect of not being able to evade taxes any more.

      • There is no law that prohibits Apple from buying there own products from Ireland at whichever price they like.
        I support regulation against this. As most people do.
        I do NOT support Apple when they whine about tax laws being changed. I cannot stand it, however, when governments make baseless requests to companies NOT to follow their laws.

        Make laws against what Apple (and everybody else) is doing. Then force them to follow the new rules.

        Till then, keep the plebes (us) happy with big speeches about morality.

        Fre [freesoftwaremagazine.com]

  • They do contribute (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pete Smoot ( 4289807 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @10:36PM (#54071059)

    All of the things that support civil society matter. Apple's profits are made possible by that civil society, and the company should contribute its fair share.'"

    Apple (and every other company) does contribute. They product fabulous products at prices customers are very willing to pay. That means there's a substantial consumer surplus captured by Kiwis. That's Apple's contribution to New Zealand society.

    (Side note. I don't remember where I read this so I can't cite it. A study showed that most of the value created by companies is captured by customers. Apple may be worth zillions but if you add up how much people would have been willing to pay for their products, it's something like 10 to 20 times higher.)

    Remember also, Apple doesn't ultimately pay taxes. It just collects taxes and writes the check. Ultimately the burden of the tax falls on Apple's customers (through higher prices), employees (through lower wages), and investors (through lower profits). I'm guessing most of them don't live in New Zealand.

  • Kill the complicated tax codes that let people do these things and replace all of it with a simple flat sales tax for your country. No exceptions.

    Tada. Everyone pays something. Everyone.

  • Android is better and cheaper anyway.

    • that doesn't solve shit! Google, Samsung, Sony etc etc all do the same fucking thing as apple. The only way to stop it is getting local tax laws changed which governments all over the world have been incredible slow at doing. Every fucking multi national does this, it isn't a secret and all of the will continue to do it as long as it is legal.
  • Wait, so the article is saying that since Apple is hardly even profitable in NZ, and makes next to nothing, it similarly does not pay many taxes? It is almost like their is a correlation between profits and taxes...

  • This is the tax system. The concepts of "do the right thing" and "their fair share" are ambiguous concepts. What is the right amount ? 10%? 20%? 30%? On what income is it levied ?? It's an easy slogan to use without having to put any meat on it. Nothing in this is illegal. If you are pissed off about it lobby your government and representatives to amend the tax laws. Apple as a corporate entity are obliged to make a return for their shareholders. Minimising the tax burden is one of the ways to do it. Is
  • I think most people have missed the point. The uproar over this is not caused by Apple following the law and paying no tax. The uproar is caused by the imbalance of power this highlights between the rich and poor as well as the NZ governments seeming lack of interest in actually doing anything about it.
  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @02:52AM (#54071733)
    New Zealand has a population of 4.471 million. $4.2 billion / 4.471 million = $939 per capita spent on Apple products.

    China has a population of 1.357 billion. Apple's annual revenue in China [theatlas.com] was $48.5 billion, or $36 per capita.

    Europe has a population of 743 million. Apple's Europe revenue was $49.95 billion. Or $67 per capita.

    Japan has a population of 127 million. Apple's Japan revenue was $16.92 billion. or $133 per capita.

    The U.S. has a population of 319 million. Apple's revenue in the Americas was $86.62 billion. Even if you attribute 100% of that to the U.S., that only works out to $272 per capita.

    So either New Zealanders absolutely love buying Apple products by nearly an order of magnitude more than the rest of the developed world, or the $4.2 billion figure is somehow exaggerated.
    • by seoras ( 147590 )

      Of course it's exaggerated. See my other comment below.
      The NZ Herald, and it's minions, is an anti-Apple propaganda machine.
      It's comparable to the UK's Daily Mail (it even re-publishes DM's articles).
      Trash journalism.

  • by seoras ( 147590 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @03:10AM (#54071771)

    I've lived in NZ for a number of years now and I used to read the NZ Herald, Stuff.co.nz and other publications in this group.
    To say they are anti-Apple partisan is an understatement. It's just hateful bile, and industrial propaganda.
    Any comments I posted under their articles were being either blocked or deleted if I said anything pro-Apple or contradicted their anti-Apple editorial.

    Apple is a US company. Yes it sells into NZ and the NZ government collects the standard 15% on all Apple's sales.
    I'm at a loss to understand why sales of $4.2B should be taxed for anything else but sales tax?

    If NZ wants more money then they should look at imposing import tax on electronic goods.
    Singling out a single company isn't right.

  • by pz ( 113803 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @05:52AM (#54072075) Journal

    There are lots of comments above that range from what amounts to victim-blaming (Don't like the result? Then change the laws.) to tax education (Apple merely collects the VAT for the government, but the customer is considered to have paid it.) to hysterical outrage (kill them kill them kill them ... oh, wait, maybe that was a different thread).

    In my country (USA), we have non-profit and for-profit entities, as they are commonly called. The non-profits include entities that can have considerable land wealth, like universities. Two of our most famous universities, MIT and Harvard, jointly own over half of the land in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the city where they are located. Neither of them are legally required to pay state property tax, because of their non-profit status (let's overlook for the moment that state and federal tax exempt status are related but technically separate things). But they also both benefit greatly from the surrounding city and its services, so they BOTH pay tens of millions of dollars to the city; such that are called "payment in lieu of tax" so that they retain their non-profit status. I don't know if they are paying the same amount as they would if they had for-profit status.

    There is no legal requirement for them to do so. Indeed, there is a clear legal position that has been created, the not-for-profit status, in order to provide them a clear and explicit means to NOT pay, as their mission is considered important to the well-being of society. But they make payments ANYWAY. It is a moral obligation. It is also not entirely altruistic, as without these payments, the social environment around the universities would deteriorate significantly. You want nice things like infrastructure, emergency services, primary and secondary education, democracy? You gotta pay for them.

    There is no fundamental reason that Apple, despite there being a legal path to avoid taxes no matter how complicated, could not make contributions to each and every country in which they sell products while still making embarrassingly immense profits. I bet some sharp-penciled tax attorneys would even find a way to make such contributions tax deductable. Apple would rid themselves of the negative press, get a nice write-off, and the countries (here, NZ) would benefit as well.

  • by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @09:54AM (#54072843)
    There are plenty of other taxes aside from income tax. It's a bit frustrating to see how quickly "no income tax" gets transmuted to "no tax". Surely Apple is paying a lot of other taxes in NZ besides income tax. Not sales tax, as already discussed, except on purchases made by Apple in NZ. Property tax, etc.

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