Monday, March 20, 2017

Apple: Tax cheats

More stellar work from the Herald's Matt Nippert has shown us that Apple hasn't paid a cent of tax in New Zealand for the past decade:

Consumer electronics giant Apple paid no income tax to Inland Revenue over the past decade despite selling billions of dollars worth of iPhones and iPads to New Zealanders.


According to figures compiled by industry analysts IDC, Apple sold 221,000 phones here in the three months to December.

Over the past decade, mostly thanks to the iPhone revolutionising the mobile phone, Apple grew to become the world's largest and most profitable company. According to financial statements for the company's local subsidiary, Apple Sales New Zealand, record total sales here since 2007 were $4.2 billion.

The accounts also show apparent income tax payments of $37 million - but a close reading shows this sum was paid to Inland Revenue but 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 $356m in taxes over the period.

As the article points out, this is perfectly legal: the law enables massive multinational slike Apple to welch on their obligations to society. But its also very clearly immoral. And its a perfect example of why we need a diverted profits tax: to make leeches like Apple pay their fair share.