Apple fighting high property tax assessments in Santa Clara county

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2018
When it comes to disputing local tax assessments, Apple is one of the toughest companies in Silicon Valley, and the company has repeatedly clashed with Santa Clara County to cut down how much tax it needs to pay.

Apple Park


Much has been made in recent years of Apple's attempts to place money overseas, most notably in Ireland, in order to lower their tax bill. Now, a new report says Apple is also getting unusually aggressive about minimizing taxation, much closer to home.

Apple, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, is leading a "years-long [effort] to recoup tens of millions of dollars they say they've overpaid in taxes on buildings, land, lab equipment, computers and other items" to Santa Clara County. The other major company doing so is San Mateo County-based Genentech, the biotech giant where Apple's current chairman, Arthur D. Levinson, served as CEO for many years.

Open cases

Apple currently has 489 open cases with the Santa Clara County tax assessor, totaling $8.5 billion in property value, dating back to 2004, according to the newspaper.

At issue are disagreements between the company and the county tax assessor over the value of certain items. That amount of items has increased significantly with the opening of Apple's new Apple Park headquarters, and all of the items contained therein.

In a couple of extreme examples, according to The Chronicle, Apple valued one "cluster of properties" in Cupertino at $200, while the county believes it's worth $1 billion. Apple also assigned a $200 value to another property that the assessor believes is worth $384 million.

It is unclear if the $200 valuations are for hundreds of dollars or are in fact for $200 million. Either way, the figure still represents a lower valuation by Apple than the assessor's estimate.

Local vs. national

Apple paid $56 million to the county in the tax year of 2017-'18, making it the County's largest taxpayer, although that is only in county taxes.

Apple said in late 2017 that it had paid $35 billion in corporate income taxes in the last three years, making it the world's largest taxpayer. That number will likely drop following the passage of tax reform, but it still significantly dwarfs the amount of the disputed county taxes.

Apple is clearly doing what they can within the law to pay as low an amount of taxes as they legally can. On the other hand, the assessors believe that the company and others like it are putting their significant financial and legal resources to bear in order to outgun local governments.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,115member
    I know the county assessor loves to over-value my house every 2 years by 20-30% and I have to get a third party reassessment. During the 2007-2009 downturn, the county tried to overvalue my house by almost 150%. 
    jbdragonsvanstromanton zuykovSpamSandwichboltsfan17watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 29
    Everybody wants a piece of that Apple pie - victim of success.  I wonder if there aren't independent property valuators instead of relying on Apple's or the county's own estimates.  That would be the fair and logical approach to disputes like this, not so?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 29
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 137member
    Nothing like crapping on your number one taxpayer. There is no end to the greed of Santa Clara.
    anton zuykovSpamSandwichtallest skilwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 29
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,455member
    jimh2 said:
    Nothing like crapping on your number one taxpayer. There is no end to the greed of Santa Clara.
    Compare that to Hyundai or the early 1900 steel towns -- where the company built the schools, parks, ball fields, hospitals, housing, etc...

    Just like where unions once fostered an us vs them attitude toward the corporation, free marketers and libertarians have fostered an us vs them attitude towards government.   Neither is productive.
  • Reply 5 of 29
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    If Santa Clara keeps this up, they will get Appled big time.   Santa Clara needs Apple more than Apple needs Santa Clara. They would be wise to remember that.
  • Reply 6 of 29
    marsorry said:
    Everybody wants a piece of that Apple pie - victim of success.  I wonder if there aren't independent property valuators instead of relying on Apple's or the county's own estimates.  That would be the fair and logical approach to disputes like this, not so?
    True impartiality is hard to come by when they're getting paid by one side or the other for the services rendered.
  • Reply 7 of 29
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,215member
    What they don't know is it can take off and land somewhere else with lower taxes ...    ;)
    GeorgeBMacfranklinjackconJWSCtallest skilwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 29
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,110member
    I thought Apple was completely DUMB to build their UFO in Santa Clara, let alone California!!! We have high taxes here and they're only going up. Apple should pay the taxes. They were dumb enough to build in this state, they should pay the taxes like everyone else here in California!!!

    Santa Clara also wanted to do a Head tax like a couple other places. This is where they throw on another TAX onto YOU for working. Because they don't get tax money from you working,...oh wait..... That's a clear money grab, but when wait until Apple is done building their building. You can't just movie it.

    Apple should be paying their Taxes. Suck it up Apple,.. You should have known what you were getting into building your new UFO in California!!! I said it was a dumb move before you started and that hasn't changed. Now you have to pay out. Apple is always trying to underpay their Taxes everywhere.

    I get it, I'd want to pay as little of my taxes that I could get away with. In this case, you were the dummy building a big, expensive UFO in a Leftest City, in a Leftest State. Now they want their Leftest Money!!! I don't feel sorry for Apple at all. They're a leftest company. They should FREELY just give out the money because Government knows how to spend your money better than you do. They want everyone doing this, except for themselves.

    Socialism is for the People, not the Socialist.
    edited August 2018 JWSC
  • Reply 9 of 29
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,455member
    adm1 said:
    marsorry said:
    Everybody wants a piece of that Apple pie - victim of success.  I wonder if there aren't independent property valuators instead of relying on Apple's or the county's own estimates.  That would be the fair and logical approach to disputes like this, not so?
    True impartiality is hard to come by when they're getting paid by one side or the other for the services rendered.
    Yep!   That exact thing was at the heart of the 2008 collapse:   Ratings agencies and auditing firms were being paid by the banksters to come up with the "right" answers....
    radarthekat
  • Reply 10 of 29
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,455member
    jbdragon said:
    I thought Apple was completely DUMB to build their UFO in Santa Clara, let alone California!!! We have high taxes here and they're only going up. Apple should pay the taxes. They were dumb enough to build in this state, they should pay the taxes like everyone else here in California!!!

    Santa Clara also wanted to do a Head tax like a couple other places. This is where they throw on another TAX onto YOU for working. Because they don't get tax money from you working,...oh wait..... That's a clear money grab, but when wait until Apple is done building their building. You can't just movie it.

    Apple should be paying their Taxes. Suck it up Apple,.. You should have known what you were getting into building your new UFO in California!!! I said it was a dumb move before you started and that hasn't changed. Now you have to pay out. Apple is always trying to underpay their Taxes everywhere.

    I get it, I'd want to pay as little of my taxes that I could get away with. In this case, you were the dummy building a big, expensive UFO in a Leftest City, in a Leftest State. Now they want their Leftest Money!!! I don't feel sorry for Apple at all. They're a leftest company. They should FREELY just give out the money because Government knows how to spend your money better than you do. They want everyone doing this, except for themselves.

    Socialism is for the People, not the Socialist.
    "The Valley" has been the heart of the tech industry since Steve was a kid.   It's also where an epicenter of autism has existed since then as well.  They are probably connected.  You can be sure that Apple looked before it leapt and access to highly proficient employees and a network of like minded organizations likely played a big part -- likely the biggest part.  Synergy....
  • Reply 11 of 29
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,090member
    A California city wants to unfairly target and assess extraordinarily high taxes on a successful business? Tell me more!
    sdw2001JWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 29
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,160member
    If you are going to troll, at least learn how to spell first. Ban in 3,2,1. 

    EDIT: They are banned now. 
    edited August 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 29
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,160member
    steven n. said:
    I know the county assessor loves to over-value my house every 2 years by 20-30% and I have to get a third party reassessment. During the 2007-2009 downturn, the county tried to overvalue my house by almost 150%. 
    I have the same issue where I live as well. It's pretty frustrating having to always get a third party assessment every other year. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 29

    Just like where unions once fostered an us vs them attitude toward the corporation, 
    Unions became popular BECAUSE of the 'me vs them' attitude among employees.  Unions were a volume intensifying megaphone for its membership.
  • Reply 15 of 29
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,090member

    Just like where unions once fostered an us vs them attitude toward the corporation, 
    Unions became popular BECAUSE of the 'me vs them' attitude among employees.  Unions were a volume intensifying megaphone for its membership.
    Peak union membership in the US was in the 1950's and it's a good thing these corrupt groups have become less and less relevant.
    edited August 2018
  • Reply 16 of 29
    fmalloyfmalloy Posts: 105member
    jimh2 said:
    Nothing like crapping on your number one taxpayer. There is no end to the greed of Santa Clara.
    Nothing like crapping on the county that you're taking over, and the county whose roads you're clogging. Yeah, we should all feel soooo sad for the poor, poor trillion-dollar-valued Apple! They have to - somehow - make a living and scrape by, right?

    Apple likes to maximize their lawsuit wins, and minimize their taxes, ripping off cities, but when Santa Clara County wants to get their far share tax income THEY'RE the ones who are greedy?

    Man, the lengths the fanboys go to...
    spice-boysingularity
  • Reply 17 of 29
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,455member

    Just like where unions once fostered an us vs them attitude toward the corporation, 
    Unions became popular BECAUSE of the 'me vs them' attitude among employees.  Unions were a volume intensifying megaphone for its membership.
    Peak union membership in the US was in the 1950's and it's a good thing these corrupt groups have become less and less relevant.
    Yeh, their not good, honest, hardworking folk like Lehman Brothers and Enron...   ROFL....
    singularity
  • Reply 18 of 29

    Just like where unions once fostered an us vs them attitude toward the corporation, 
    Unions became popular BECAUSE of the 'me vs them' attitude among employees.  Unions were a volume intensifying megaphone for its membership.
    Peak union membership in the US was in the 1950's and it's a good thing these corrupt groups have become less and less relevant.
    Unions create the post war middle class along with the GI Bill the amount of families who could afford to buy a home exploded. Living wages, security from abusive employers. All these home owners paid local property taxes as well, yes without labor unions the period from 1947 - 1987 would have looked like the 1930's. Funny how nobody reads a history book on this website. 
    radarthekatGeorgeBMacsingularity
  • Reply 19 of 29
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,040moderator
    jbdragon said:
    I thought Apple was completely DUMB to build their UFO in Santa Clara, let alone California!!! We have high taxes here and they're only going up. Apple should pay the taxes. They were dumb enough to build in this state, they should pay the taxes like everyone else here in California!!!

    Santa Clara also wanted to do a Head tax like a couple other places. This is where they throw on another TAX onto YOU for working. Because they don't get tax money from you working,...oh wait..... That's a clear money grab, but when wait until Apple is done building their building. You can't just movie it.

    Apple should be paying their Taxes. Suck it up Apple,.. You should have known what you were getting into building your new UFO in California!!! I said it was a dumb move before you started and that hasn't changed. Now you have to pay out. Apple is always trying to underpay their Taxes everywhere.

    I get it, I'd want to pay as little of my taxes that I could get away with. In this case, you were the dummy building a big, expensive UFO in a Leftest City, in a Leftest State. Now they want their Leftest Money!!! I don't feel sorry for Apple at all. They're a leftest company. They should FREELY just give out the money because Government knows how to spend your money better than you do. They want everyone doing this, except for themselves.

    Socialism is for the People, not the Socialist.
    "The Valley" has been the heart of the tech industry since Steve was a kid.   It's also where an epicenter of autism has existed since then as well.  They are probably connected.  You can be sure that Apple looked before it leapt and access to highly proficient employees and a network of like minded organizations likely played a big part -- likely the biggest part.  Synergy....
    Exactly.  We moved our 50-person startup 20 miles and took great pains to help employees with the adjustment to their commutes.  For some it was a shorter commute, for others it added 20 miles.  It’s not a simple matter to pick up stakes and move to another state.  Apple did well by their employees to stay so close to their Infinity Loop campus.  
    watto_cobraGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 20 of 29
    Hooray! Another opportunity to mention that property taxes shouldn’t exist; a land tax should be levied instead.

    If I build a new room or garage on my house, I am punished. If I keep my lot maintained, I am punished. If I add a fresh coat of paint or new siding, I am punished. A land tax does not punish people for being successful, happy, healthy, and seeing their home become their dream.
    Slumlords purposely keep their buildings filthy and in disrepair so that their taxes are lower. Meanwhile, a land tax would INCENTIVIZE improvements to property.
    watto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.