Monday 21 October 2019

Apple co-founder speaks out on tax

Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple tries a bag of Tayto crisps after speaking at the Millennium forum in Londonderry
Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple tries a bag of Tayto crisps after speaking at the Millennium forum in Londonderry

The co-founder of a US technology giant which used its Irish subsidiaries to lower its tax bill has said big corporations should be treated the same as the "little guy".

Ireland's low corporate tax rates have been identified in enquiries into how companies such as Google and Apple arrange their financial affairs to reduce liabilities to a minimum.

Steve Wozniak, who set up Apple with 300 US dollars apiece from him and friend Steve Jobs, was in Londonderry for a business conference and said it was fair to tax large firms like individuals.

"People are not taxed on profit, they are taxed on income, corporations should be taxed the same as people in my mind, that is how it should be, that would make things fair and right," he said.

"That means corporations pay taxes on all of their revenues or people only pay it on a tiny amount called profit and until we rectify that the whole problem is just with us forever. That is why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and I am always for the individual being much more important than their training, same reason I created the Apple computer at the start, it was to empower the little guy."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has brushed off attacks on Ireland's tax regime for helping multinationals avoid billions in tax - insisting he was backing plans for global tax transparency and an end to tax havens.

UK prime minister David Cameron is urging the rest of the EU to back global action against what he has described as ''staggering'' losses to national exchequers.

The issue was on the latest EU summit agenda at the request of the UK, France and Germany, and European progress would boost next month's G8 gathering in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, which host Mr Cameron will use to press the case against international tax secrecy and for an end to tax havens.

Mr Wozniak added: "For a corporation there is no such thing as personal ethics, you will do anything, any scheme you can to maximise your profits, so they are just obeying the system, the big companies are all obeying the system of taxation, they are all doing the same things and you can say the system is bad to allow these things that people do not consider ethical.

That is difficult too and takes the load off the companies but why is the system that way? The system is that way because those with the power and the money, large corporations particularly, make sure that politicians can create the things that will enhance the corporations."

PA Media

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