Cook urges for global corporate tax reform during Irish trip

Posted:
in General Discussion
Changes need to be made to corporate tax systems around the world to make it fairer, Apple CEO Tim Cook urged while backing calls for a global reform of rules dictating how multinational companies pay taxes on profits.

Cook meets the developers of War Ducks in his latest trip to Ireland
Cook meets the developers of War Ducks in his latest trip to Ireland (via Twitter/@tim_cook)


As one of the biggest and most prominent companies in the world, Apple has faced scrutiny with regard to its tax practices. The growth of tech companies alongside Apple, such as Google and Amazon, has led to the increased use of various accounting tricks to reduce the amount of tax to be paid, a trend that has prompted intense criticism.

Speaking at an event in Ireland on Monday, Cook confirmed he was in support of reforms to international tax laws, including those under consideration by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

"I think logically everybody knows it needs to be rehauled, I would certainly be the last person to say that the current system or the past system was the perfect system," said Cook according to Reuters. "I'm hopeful and optimistic that they (OECD) will find something."

Some current tax laws allow for companies to apply corporate taxes at rates depending on where they are based, rather than where the source of revenue is located. This sort of concept, which can have names like the "Double Irish" due to the advantageous tax rate, helps cut millions, and even billions, off what is owed by firms to governments.

A famous example of this is Apple's current tax issue with the European Commission, where it was ruled to have been given illegally low rates of tax by the Irish government, sometimes as low as 0.005%. The ruling forced Apple to pay Ireland $14.4 billion in back taxes, a payment that Apple is currently trying to appeal.

Part of the problem is the sheer number of rules to follow, which can be used to a company's advantage. "It's very complex to know how to tax a multinational," suggested Cook. "We desperately want it to be fair."

The OECD's proposals were outlined in October, with initial plans giving individual governments the ability to tax multinational entities more, and targets any firm that earns income from the country, regardless of where the funds are ultimately funneled. Over 130 countries have agreed in principle for the need for reform, with the OECD expected to provide a more detailed outline this month.

Cook is in Ireland to receive an inaugural award for Apple's investment in Ireland, which has occurred for 40 years. Apple's European headquarters is based in Ireland, and the company employs approximately 6,000 workers in the territory.

Global privacy legislation is needed, says Cook

Comments from the Apple CEO also strayed towards privacy rules, with Cook proposing more regulation is required, and needs to go further than the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy laws.

"I think more regulation is needed in this area, it is probably strange for a business person to be talking about regulation but it has become apparent that companies will not self-police in this area," Cook said. "We were one of the first to endorse GDPR, we think it is overall extremely good, not only for Europe. We think it's necessary but not sufficient."

"You have to go further and that further is required to get privacy back to where it should be."

Cook has previously spoken out about the need to enforce data privacy, calling it one of this century's top issues.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,959member
    The obvious follow up question for Tim was:

    Do you think the financial orchestration that resulted in Apple allegedly paying 0.005% for one year was 'fair', given that, in response to the demands of the EU for Apple to return billions of euros to Ireland, you defended Apple's position by stating that Apple had 'values'? How do Apple's values fit into the claim of it paying 0.005% as a result of financial orchestration?

    As for changing the system, he is fully aware that the whole thing is being debated at institutional levels anyway, and has been for some time.
    muthuk_vanalingamcaladanianmdriftmeyerdysamoria
  • Reply 2 of 33
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,445member
    Few billionaires or corporations will suddenly cough up the billions they have been hoarding from governments and will insist the burden of maintaining society be left squarely on the working class. I applaud Tim's point of view but when the richest man in the world (Bezos) is allowed to exploit tax loopholes written by every Republican dominated government in the past 30 to effectively pay zero taxes, it will be a long journey to right this wrong. 
    davgregdysamoria
  • Reply 3 of 33
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,445member
    avon b7 said:
    The obvious follow up question for Tim was:

    Do you think the financial orchestration that resulted in Apple allegedly paying 0.005% for one year was 'fair', given that, in response to the demands of the EU for Apple to return billions of euros to Ireland, you defended Apple's position by stating that Apple had 'values'? How do Apple's values fit into the claim of it paying 0.005% as a result of financial orchestration?

    As for changing the system, he is fully aware that the whole thing is being debated at institutional levels anyway, and has been for some time.
    You're completely correct, Tim seems to be saying "someone has to do something about this" while continuing to pay as little tax as possible. 
    cornchipcaladaniandysamoria
  • Reply 4 of 33
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    avon b7 said:
    The obvious follow up question for Tim was:

    Do you think the financial orchestration that resulted in Apple allegedly paying 0.005% for one year was 'fair', given that, in response to the demands of the EU for Apple to return billions of euros to Ireland, you defended Apple's position by stating that Apple had 'values'? How do Apple's values fit into the claim of it paying 0.005% as a result of financial orchestration?

    As for changing the system, he is fully aware that the whole thing is being debated at institutional levels anyway, and has been for some time.
    That sounds very low. Got a link for that?  And by a 'link', I mean actual hard, factual evidence?

    Hang on. Right, I see; it's the EU ruling. 

    Well, if the same tax rate isn't available to everyone then that's not really fair. 

    So the EU is saying that no one else in Ireland was getting the same deal.

    If everyone is getting the same deal then I don't have a problem, because this 'let the little people pay tax' scheme is precisely what the UK voted for.
    edited January 2020 bshank
  • Reply 5 of 33
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,304member
    avon b7 said:
    The obvious follow up question for Tim was:

    Do you think the financial orchestration that resulted in Apple allegedly paying 0.005% for one year was 'fair', given that, in response to the demands of the EU for Apple to return billions of euros to Ireland, you defended Apple's position by stating that Apple had 'values'? How do Apple's values fit into the claim of it paying 0.005% as a result of financial orchestration?

    As for changing the system, he is fully aware that the whole thing is being debated at institutional levels anyway, and has been for some time.
    It really has more to do with avoiding country-by-country tax intricacies.  Apple really doesn't want to pay more taxes.

    Just like the techs are pushing for "privacy rules" here in the US it's as much for selfish business reasons. Apple doesn't want to deal with Italy individually, then Japan, then Ireland, then France, then Australia. In one of those those they were found to evade taxes (Japan) by doing the same thing they do in other countries around the globe. In another they were threatened with criminal charges and the jailing of executives (Italy) for following the same tax avoidance schemes they use with success in other EU countries.  Consistent rules that apply to all countries is the goal. 

    If everyone has their own rules it makes it super tough to avoid breaking someone's tax law someplace. Same goes here re:privacy where none of the techs want to deal with rules unique to California, then those unique to Nevada, and then Connecticut and followed by every other state individually. That almost guarantees that at some point even Apple would be accused of breaking the law in some state. 

    One national law is so much easier to comply with, and consistent International Law on taxes is too. 
    edited January 2020 Solimuthuk_vanalingamcaladanian
  • Reply 6 of 33
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    gatorguy said:
    avon b7 said:
    The obvious follow up question for Tim was:

    Do you think the financial orchestration that resulted in Apple allegedly paying 0.005% for one year was 'fair', given that, in response to the demands of the EU for Apple to return billions of euros to Ireland, you defended Apple's position by stating that Apple had 'values'? How do Apple's values fit into the claim of it paying 0.005% as a result of financial orchestration?

    As for changing the system, he is fully aware that the whole thing is being debated at institutional levels anyway, and has been for some time.
    It really has more to do with avoiding country-by-country tax intricacies. 

    Just like the techs are pushing for "privacy rules" here in the US it's as much for selfish business reasons. Apple doesn't want to deal with France individually, then Ireland, then Australia, then Japan where in some of those they might be found to evade taxes and in others largely avoid being a tax target. If everyone has their own rules it makes it super tough to avoid breaking someone's tax law someplace. Same goes here re:privacy where none of the techs want to deal with rules unique to California, then those unique to Nevada, and then Connecticut and followed by every other state individually. That almost guarantees that at some point even Apple would be accused of breaking the law in some state. 

    One national law is so much easier to comply with, and consistent International Law on taxes is too. 

    That's fair enough, but countries set their tax laws (except the UK obviously) based on the needs of the people who live there, and those are the same people buying kit and services from the companies who want to pay tax as though they're selling in some other country.


  • Reply 7 of 33
    avon b7 said:
    The obvious follow up question for Tim was:

    Do you think the financial orchestration that resulted in Apple allegedly paying 0.005% for one year was 'fair', given that, in response to the demands of the EU for Apple to return billions of euros to Ireland, you defended Apple's position by stating that Apple had 'values'? How do Apple's values fit into the claim of it paying 0.005% as a result of financial orchestration?

    As for changing the system, he is fully aware that the whole thing is being debated at institutional levels anyway, and has been for some time.
    Surely Apple has to play by the rules that everyone plays by? Yes, the tax paid is 'unfair' to governments and tax-paying citizens but for Apple to opt for a different payment to be 'fair' to them (the taxpayers) the company would be 'unfair' to Apple shareholders who bought into the company with the understanding that Apple would make as much legal profit as possible.
    Yes, change the tax system, make every company play by 'fairer' rules that recognises the money earned in a particular country and Apple will do the same. If Apple was campaigning against 'fair taxes' or 'data privacy protection' then that would certainly be wrong but obeying the (imperfect) rules seems 'fair' ... if distasteful. As an Apple shareholder, and tax payer, I would be happy to see Apple pay more tax .... but not if Facebook, Google, Amazon, Starbucks etc. don't.
    cornchip
  • Reply 8 of 33
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    avon b7 said:
    The obvious follow up question for Tim was:

    Do you think the financial orchestration that resulted in Apple allegedly paying 0.005% for one year was 'fair', given that, in response to the demands of the EU for Apple to return billions of euros to Ireland, you defended Apple's position by stating that Apple had 'values'? How do Apple's values fit into the claim of it paying 0.005% as a result of financial orchestration?

    As for changing the system, he is fully aware that the whole thing is being debated at institutional levels anyway, and has been for some time.
    Surely Apple has to play by the rules that everyone plays by? Yes, the tax paid is 'unfair' to governments and tax-paying citizens but for Apple to opt for a different payment to be 'fair' to them (the taxpayers) the company would be 'unfair' to Apple shareholders who bought into the company with the understanding that Apple would make as much legal profit as possible.
    Yes, change the tax system, make every company play by 'fairer' rules that recognises the money earned in a particular country and Apple will do the same. If Apple was campaigning against 'fair taxes' or 'data privacy protection' then that would certainly be wrong but obeying the (imperfect) rules seems 'fair' ... if distasteful. As an Apple shareholder, and tax payer, I would be happy to see Apple pay more tax .... but not if Facebook, Google, Amazon, Starbucks etc. don't.
    Absolutely.
  • Reply 9 of 33
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,959member
    gatorguy said:
    avon b7 said:
    The obvious follow up question for Tim was:

    Do you think the financial orchestration that resulted in Apple allegedly paying 0.005% for one year was 'fair', given that, in response to the demands of the EU for Apple to return billions of euros to Ireland, you defended Apple's position by stating that Apple had 'values'? How do Apple's values fit into the claim of it paying 0.005% as a result of financial orchestration?

    As for changing the system, he is fully aware that the whole thing is being debated at institutional levels anyway, and has been for some time.
    It really has more to do with avoiding country-by-country tax intricacies.  Apple really doesn't want to pay more taxes.

    Just like the techs are pushing for "privacy rules" here in the US it's as much for selfish business reasons. Apple doesn't want to deal with Italy individually, then Japan, then Ireland, then France, then Australia. In one of those those they were found to evade taxes (Japan) by doing the same thing they do in other countries around the globe. In another they were threatened with criminal charges and the jailing of executives (Italy) for following the same tax avoidance schemes they use with success in other EU countries.  Consistent rules that apply to all countries is the goal. 

    If everyone has their own rules it makes it super tough to avoid breaking someone's tax law someplace. Same goes here re:privacy where none of the techs want to deal with rules unique to California, then those unique to Nevada, and then Connecticut and followed by every other state individually. That almost guarantees that at some point even Apple would be accused of breaking the law in some state. 

    One national law is so much easier to comply with, and consistent International Law on taxes is too. 
    This problem has only really become relevant over the last decade although it has existed for far longer.

    There have been many calls for further unification of criteria and application within the EU, and many proposals to reach a common goal, but although nothing has come up yet to the liking of all parties, it is very clear things are moving forward, hence Tim's call for a system which is fair to all. The definition of 'fair' will obviously depend on who you are talking to and I have the suspicion that Apple is lobbying as hard as it can for a solution that sees multinationals avoid being whacked hard.

    It is difficult to begrudge that (it's part of his job) but my problem is with how he (and others) try to wrap things up in the 'values' bundle. A word that technically also open to varying interpretations.

    There are times when it is better to say nothing or you risk your comments coming back at you in the worst possible way.

    In this case perhaps he should remind us when he jumped on the 'fair' solution for all involved because I can't ever remember him or Apple ever seeking a solution to the 'unfairness' of the system - until, that is, Apple was taken to town for supposedly taking advantage of the system to its own multi billion dollar benefit and then also supposedly took flight to somewhere else (paradise papers).








    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 10 of 33
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,304member
    avon b7 said:
    gatorguy said:
    avon b7 said:
    The obvious follow up question for Tim was:

    Do you think the financial orchestration that resulted in Apple allegedly paying 0.005% for one year was 'fair', given that, in response to the demands of the EU for Apple to return billions of euros to Ireland, you defended Apple's position by stating that Apple had 'values'? How do Apple's values fit into the claim of it paying 0.005% as a result of financial orchestration?

    As for changing the system, he is fully aware that the whole thing is being debated at institutional levels anyway, and has been for some time.
    It really has more to do with avoiding country-by-country tax intricacies.  Apple really doesn't want to pay more taxes.

    Just like the techs are pushing for "privacy rules" here in the US it's as much for selfish business reasons. Apple doesn't want to deal with Italy individually, then Japan, then Ireland, then France, then Australia. In one of those those they were found to evade taxes (Japan) by doing the same thing they do in other countries around the globe. In another they were threatened with criminal charges and the jailing of executives (Italy) for following the same tax avoidance schemes they use with success in other EU countries.  Consistent rules that apply to all countries is the goal. 

    If everyone has their own rules it makes it super tough to avoid breaking someone's tax law someplace. Same goes here re:privacy where none of the techs want to deal with rules unique to California, then those unique to Nevada, and then Connecticut and followed by every other state individually. That almost guarantees that at some point even Apple would be accused of breaking the law in some state. 

    One national law is so much easier to comply with, and consistent International Law on taxes is too. 
    This problem has only really become relevant over the last decade although it has existed for far longer.

    There have been many calls for further unification of criteria and application within the EU, and many proposals to reach a common goal, but although nothing has come up yet to the liking of all parties... It is difficult to begrudge that (it's part of his job) but my problem is with how he (and others) try to wrap things up in the 'values' bundle. 
    Agreed. It has about zero to do with "values" and everything to do with business and profit. That's what corporations exist for. 
    edited January 2020 muthuk_vanalingamentropys
  • Reply 11 of 33
    tjwolftjwolf Posts: 407member
    avon b7 said:
    The obvious follow up question for Tim was:

    Do you think the financial orchestration that resulted in Apple allegedly paying 0.005% for one year was 'fair', given that, in response to the demands of the EU for Apple to return billions of euros to Ireland, you defended Apple's position by stating that Apple had 'values'? How do Apple's values fit into the claim of it paying 0.005% as a result of financial orchestration?

    As for changing the system, he is fully aware that the whole thing is being debated at institutional levels anyway, and has been for some time.
    That 0.005% taxes Apple supposedly paid is being disputed by Apple and even the Irish government!  Heck, the Irish government didn't even want those billions the EU fined Apple for its supposed malfeasance.   Whatever the real percentage is (once you take into account what Apple pays for a given sale across all countries), Apple paid what it owed.  What you call "financial orchestration" is Apple paying as little taxes as it can - and as it should, as a for-profit corporation.  As another person already commented, values have very little to do with this.  Apple values what its investors value: profits.
    steven n.
  • Reply 12 of 33
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,304member
    tjwolf said:
    avon b7 said:
    The obvious follow up question for Tim was:

    Do you think the financial orchestration that resulted in Apple allegedly paying 0.005% for one year was 'fair', given that, in response to the demands of the EU for Apple to return billions of euros to Ireland, you defended Apple's position by stating that Apple had 'values'? How do Apple's values fit into the claim of it paying 0.005% as a result of financial orchestration?

    As for changing the system, he is fully aware that the whole thing is being debated at institutional levels anyway, and has been for some time.
    That 0.005% taxes Apple supposedly paid is being disputed by Apple and even the Irish government!  Heck, the Irish government didn't even want those billions the EU fined Apple for its supposed malfeasance.
    There is no fine, nor claim of malfeasance on the part of Apple. Read up on the topic and you'll have a better grasp of what the claims actually are and where they come from. 
    Malfeasance could possibly have taken place on the part of certain Irish tax authorities but AFAIK the EU stops short of asserting that.  
    edited January 2020
  • Reply 13 of 33
    gatorguy said:
    avon b7 said:
    gatorguy said:
    avon b7 said:
    The obvious follow up question for Tim was:

    Do you think the financial orchestration that resulted in Apple allegedly paying 0.005% for one year was 'fair', given that, in response to the demands of the EU for Apple to return billions of euros to Ireland, you defended Apple's position by stating that Apple had 'values'? How do Apple's values fit into the claim of it paying 0.005% as a result of financial orchestration?

    As for changing the system, he is fully aware that the whole thing is being debated at institutional levels anyway, and has been for some time.
    It really has more to do with avoiding country-by-country tax intricacies.  Apple really doesn't want to pay more taxes.

    Just like the techs are pushing for "privacy rules" here in the US it's as much for selfish business reasons. Apple doesn't want to deal with Italy individually, then Japan, then Ireland, then France, then Australia. In one of those those they were found to evade taxes (Japan) by doing the same thing they do in other countries around the globe. In another they were threatened with criminal charges and the jailing of executives (Italy) for following the same tax avoidance schemes they use with success in other EU countries.  Consistent rules that apply to all countries is the goal. 

    If everyone has their own rules it makes it super tough to avoid breaking someone's tax law someplace. Same goes here re:privacy where none of the techs want to deal with rules unique to California, then those unique to Nevada, and then Connecticut and followed by every other state individually. That almost guarantees that at some point even Apple would be accused of breaking the law in some state. 

    One national law is so much easier to comply with, and consistent International Law on taxes is too. 
    This problem has only really become relevant over the last decade although it has existed for far longer.

    There have been many calls for further unification of criteria and application within the EU, and many proposals to reach a common goal, but although nothing has come up yet to the liking of all parties... It is difficult to begrudge that (it's part of his job) but my problem is with how he (and others) try to wrap things up in the 'values' bundle. 
    Agreed. It has about zero to do with "values" and everything to do with business and profit. That's what corporations exist for. 
    Suggesting that corporations, which are comprised of people, do not or cannot have culture and values is quite absurd. Any time you put a group of people together there will be culture, and cultures have values. Different groups of people have different values. The GOP has shared values. The Catholic Church has shared values. And Apple has shared values.

    avon b7 said:
    gatorguy said:
    avon b7 said:
    The obvious follow up question for Tim was:

    Do you think the financial orchestration that resulted in Apple allegedly paying 0.005% for one year was 'fair', given that, in response to the demands of the EU for Apple to return billions of euros to Ireland, you defended Apple's position by stating that Apple had 'values'? How do Apple's values fit into the claim of it paying 0.005% as a result of financial orchestration?

    As for changing the system, he is fully aware that the whole thing is being debated at institutional levels anyway, and has been for some time.
    It really has more to do with avoiding country-by-country tax intricacies.  Apple really doesn't want to pay more taxes.

    Just like the techs are pushing for "privacy rules" here in the US it's as much for selfish business reasons. Apple doesn't want to deal with Italy individually, then Japan, then Ireland, then France, then Australia. In one of those those they were found to evade taxes (Japan) by doing the same thing they do in other countries around the globe. In another they were threatened with criminal charges and the jailing of executives (Italy) for following the same tax avoidance schemes they use with success in other EU countries.  Consistent rules that apply to all countries is the goal. 

    If everyone has their own rules it makes it super tough to avoid breaking someone's tax law someplace. Same goes here re:privacy where none of the techs want to deal with rules unique to California, then those unique to Nevada, and then Connecticut and followed by every other state individually. That almost guarantees that at some point even Apple would be accused of breaking the law in some state. 

    One national law is so much easier to comply with, and consistent International Law on taxes is too. 
    This problem has only really become relevant over the last decade although it has existed for far longer.

    There have been many calls for further unification of criteria and application within the EU, and many proposals to reach a common goal, but although nothing has come up yet to the liking of all parties, it is very clear things are moving forward, hence Tim's call for a system which is fair to all. The definition of 'fair' will obviously depend on who you are talking to and I have the suspicion that Apple is lobbying as hard as it can for a solution that sees multinationals avoid being whacked hard.

    It is difficult to begrudge that (it's part of his job) but my problem is with how he (and others) try to wrap things up in the 'values' bundle. A word that technically also open to varying interpretations.

    There are times when it is better to say nothing or you risk your comments coming back at you in the worst possible way.

    In this case perhaps he should remind us when he jumped on the 'fair' solution for all involved because I can't ever remember him or Apple ever seeking a solution to the 'unfairness' of the system - until, that is, Apple was taken to town for supposedly taking advantage of the system to its own multi billion dollar benefit and then also supposedly took flight to somewhere else (paradise papers).








    Agree. So please Tim, become a politician. Politicians can change the world. CEO’s have to do pay taxes. You think you do both - but you do neither very well
    edited January 2020 muthuk_vanalingamentropys
  • Reply 14 of 33
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    Very good of mr Cook.
    Its important to keep rules fair for non multinationals, paying full whack taxes all the time.
    Its also important to consider lawfulness of tax because of ... euh ... tax.
    For each taxation a reason must exist and this taxed money must be fully accounted for and spend for a specific public cause (which is not for example higher wages for public servants).
    If not its a human rights violation.
    Also, the notion that everyone should pay is wrong, everyone shouldn't pay, and if tax is absolutely necessary (and proven to be so, because government is almost always corrupt in this sense) it should be as low as possible and reevaluated every year or even shorter.
    Also, multinationals should have far less rights to close shop in one location and reopen on another, at that time favorable location, firing all people and ruining the company at the first location. All because some asshole manager wants to increase shareholders value and increase ROI on a perfectly viable business like what happend to Tasking B.V. in the Netherlands for multinational Altium B.V. executed by Mike Greesbach.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 33
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,401member
    knowitall said:
    . . . and if tax is absolutely necessary (and proven to be so, because government is almost always corrupt in this sense) . . .

    . . . All because some asshole manager wants to increase shareholders value and increase ROI on a perfectly viable business like what happend to Tasking B.V. in the Netherlands . . .
    There is corruption in government and there is corruption in corporations.  If the tax dollars aren't going to a corrupt government, they're going to a corrupt corporation and it's shareholders.  Let's not be delusional and believe that one large organization is better than another.  At least when money goes to a government, it may actually get invested in something which benefits the overall economy (creation/maintenance of public infrastructure, education system, etc).  Rather than just being hoarded by private individuals who, might be altruistic and give some back, but there's nothing which mandates that they have to.
    gatorguymuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 33
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,764member
    gatorguy said:
    avon b7 said:
    gatorguy said:
    avon b7 said:
    The obvious follow up question for Tim was:

    Do you think the financial orchestration that resulted in Apple allegedly paying 0.005% for one year was 'fair', given that, in response to the demands of the EU for Apple to return billions of euros to Ireland, you defended Apple's position by stating that Apple had 'values'? How do Apple's values fit into the claim of it paying 0.005% as a result of financial orchestration?

    As for changing the system, he is fully aware that the whole thing is being debated at institutional levels anyway, and has been for some time.
    It really has more to do with avoiding country-by-country tax intricacies.  Apple really doesn't want to pay more taxes.

    Just like the techs are pushing for "privacy rules" here in the US it's as much for selfish business reasons. Apple doesn't want to deal with Italy individually, then Japan, then Ireland, then France, then Australia. In one of those those they were found to evade taxes (Japan) by doing the same thing they do in other countries around the globe. In another they were threatened with criminal charges and the jailing of executives (Italy) for following the same tax avoidance schemes they use with success in other EU countries.  Consistent rules that apply to all countries is the goal. 

    If everyone has their own rules it makes it super tough to avoid breaking someone's tax law someplace. Same goes here re:privacy where none of the techs want to deal with rules unique to California, then those unique to Nevada, and then Connecticut and followed by every other state individually. That almost guarantees that at some point even Apple would be accused of breaking the law in some state. 

    One national law is so much easier to comply with, and consistent International Law on taxes is too. 
    This problem has only really become relevant over the last decade although it has existed for far longer.

    There have been many calls for further unification of criteria and application within the EU, and many proposals to reach a common goal, but although nothing has come up yet to the liking of all parties... It is difficult to begrudge that (it's part of his job) but my problem is with how he (and others) try to wrap things up in the 'values' bundle. 
    Agreed. It has about zero to do with "values" and everything to do with business and profit. That's what corporations exist for. 
    Suggesting that corporations, which are comprised of people, do not or cannot have culture and values is quite absurd. Any time you put a group of people together there will be culture, and cultures have values. Different groups of people have different values. The GOP has shared values. The Catholic Church has shared values. And Apple has shared values.
    edited January 2020
  • Reply 17 of 33
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,764member

    tjwolf said:
    avon b7 said:
    The obvious follow up question for Tim was:

    Do you think the financial orchestration that resulted in Apple allegedly paying 0.005% for one year was 'fair', given that, in response to the demands of the EU for Apple to return billions of euros to Ireland, you defended Apple's position by stating that Apple had 'values'? How do Apple's values fit into the claim of it paying 0.005% as a result of financial orchestration?

    As for changing the system, he is fully aware that the whole thing is being debated at institutional levels anyway, and has been for some time.
    That 0.005% taxes Apple supposedly paid is being disputed by Apple and even the Irish government!  Heck, the Irish government didn't even want those billions the EU fined Apple for its supposed malfeasance.   Whatever the real percentage is (once you take into account what Apple pays for a given sale across all countries), Apple paid what it owed.  What you call "financial orchestration" is Apple paying as little taxes as it can - and as it should, as a for-profit corporation.  As another person already commented, values have very little to do with this.  Apple values what its investors value: profits.
    Not entirely true tho -- Apple is one of the largest US taxpayers (largest 2017). They actually pay income tax, unlike Amazon, Netflix, FedEx, infamously GE, etc -- those corporations chose to pursue a tax strategy that had them paying absolutely zero to their own home country in income tax. Apple has not chosen to do that even tho they surely could have. Since I live in the US, this makes a difference to me. I want my mega-wealthy citizens to be paying into the same income system I pay into, and at a rate more than mine, not less...because "Corporations are people too, friend." -Mit Romney
    edited January 2020
  • Reply 18 of 33
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,764member

    avon b7 said:
    gatorguy said:
    avon b7 said:
    The obvious follow up question for Tim was:

    Do you think the financial orchestration that resulted in Apple allegedly paying 0.005% for one year was 'fair', given that, in response to the demands of the EU for Apple to return billions of euros to Ireland, you defended Apple's position by stating that Apple had 'values'? How do Apple's values fit into the claim of it paying 0.005% as a result of financial orchestration?

    As for changing the system, he is fully aware that the whole thing is being debated at institutional levels anyway, and has been for some time.
    It really has more to do with avoiding country-by-country tax intricacies.  Apple really doesn't want to pay more taxes.

    Just like the techs are pushing for "privacy rules" here in the US it's as much for selfish business reasons. Apple doesn't want to deal with Italy individually, then Japan, then Ireland, then France, then Australia. In one of those those they were found to evade taxes (Japan) by doing the same thing they do in other countries around the globe. In another they were threatened with criminal charges and the jailing of executives (Italy) for following the same tax avoidance schemes they use with success in other EU countries.  Consistent rules that apply to all countries is the goal. 

    If everyone has their own rules it makes it super tough to avoid breaking someone's tax law someplace. Same goes here re:privacy where none of the techs want to deal with rules unique to California, then those unique to Nevada, and then Connecticut and followed by every other state individually. That almost guarantees that at some point even Apple would be accused of breaking the law in some state. 

    One national law is so much easier to comply with, and consistent International Law on taxes is too. 
    This problem has only really become relevant over the last decade although it has existed for far longer.

    There have been many calls for further unification of criteria and application within the EU, and many proposals to reach a common goal, but although nothing has come up yet to the liking of all parties, it is very clear things are moving forward, hence Tim's call for a system which is fair to all. The definition of 'fair' will obviously depend on who you are talking to and I have the suspicion that Apple is lobbying as hard as it can for a solution that sees multinationals avoid being whacked hard.

    It is difficult to begrudge that (it's part of his job) but my problem is with how he (and others) try to wrap things up in the 'values' bundle. A word that technically also open to varying interpretations.

    There are times when it is better to say nothing or you risk your comments coming back at you in the worst possible way.

    In this case perhaps he should remind us when he jumped on the 'fair' solution for all involved because I can't ever remember him or Apple ever seeking a solution to the 'unfairness' of the system - until, that is, Apple was taken to town for supposedly taking advantage of the system to its own multi billion dollar benefit and then also supposedly took flight to somewhere else (paradise papers).

    Agree. So Tim please become a politician. Politicians can change the world. CEO’s do pay taxes. You think you do both - but you do neither very well
    Untrue. Apple is one of the largest US taxpayers (it was the largest in 2017). They pay taxes. What they haven't done its repatriate overseas revenue since there is no time-limit to do so, electing to pay an overseas tax rate until they do, which they found favorable in Ireland.

    The companies who routinely don't pay a dime are the real problem, to me:

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/16/these-91-fortune-500-companies-didnt-pay-federal-taxes-in-2018.html

    ...they have benefited from the infrastructure and governance of the US, but refuse to directly contribute back into that infrastructure via the same taxation levied against their workers and customers. That is nuts.
    edited January 2020 muthuk_vanalingamsteven n.ajmas
  • Reply 19 of 33
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,304member
    gatorguy said:
    avon b7 said:
    gatorguy said:
    avon b7 said:
    The obvious follow up question for Tim was:

    Do you think the financial orchestration that resulted in Apple allegedly paying 0.005% for one year was 'fair', given that, in response to the demands of the EU for Apple to return billions of euros to Ireland, you defended Apple's position by stating that Apple had 'values'? How do Apple's values fit into the claim of it paying 0.005% as a result of financial orchestration?

    As for changing the system, he is fully aware that the whole thing is being debated at institutional levels anyway, and has been for some time.
    It really has more to do with avoiding country-by-country tax intricacies.  Apple really doesn't want to pay more taxes.

    Just like the techs are pushing for "privacy rules" here in the US it's as much for selfish business reasons. Apple doesn't want to deal with Italy individually, then Japan, then Ireland, then France, then Australia. In one of those those they were found to evade taxes (Japan) by doing the same thing they do in other countries around the globe. In another they were threatened with criminal charges and the jailing of executives (Italy) for following the same tax avoidance schemes they use with success in other EU countries.  Consistent rules that apply to all countries is the goal. 

    If everyone has their own rules it makes it super tough to avoid breaking someone's tax law someplace. Same goes here re:privacy where none of the techs want to deal with rules unique to California, then those unique to Nevada, and then Connecticut and followed by every other state individually. That almost guarantees that at some point even Apple would be accused of breaking the law in some state. 

    One national law is so much easier to comply with, and consistent International Law on taxes is too. 
    This problem has only really become relevant over the last decade although it has existed for far longer.

    There have been many calls for further unification of criteria and application within the EU, and many proposals to reach a common goal, but although nothing has come up yet to the liking of all parties... It is difficult to begrudge that (it's part of his job) but my problem is with how he (and others) try to wrap things up in the 'values' bundle. 
    Agreed. It has about zero to do with "values" and everything to do with business and profit. That's what corporations exist for. 
    Suggesting that corporations, which are comprised of people, do not or cannot have culture and values is quite absurd. Any time you put a group of people together there will be culture, and cultures have values. Different groups of people have different values. The GOP has shared values. The Catholic Church has shared values. And Apple has shared values.
    What a leap!
    You're arguing a red herring AFAICT. Did someone say corporations can't have values? 
    edited January 2020 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 20 of 33
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,225member
    spice-boy said:
    Few billionaires or corporations will suddenly cough up the billions they have been hoarding from governments and will insist the burden of maintaining society be left squarely on the working class. I applaud Tim's point of view but when the richest man in the world (Bezos) is allowed to exploit tax loopholes written by every Republican dominated government in the past 30 to effectively pay zero taxes, it will be a long journey to right this wrong. 
    The tax “loop-hole” (AKA:Laws) have been signed by both Republican and Democratic members of both the Legislature and Executive branch. But don’t let facts, truth and reality get in the way of a good rant. 
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