Apple has come under fire for its tax practices in the US, and also for not paying tax in other countries where it operates. Last week the company CEO Tim Cook was pulled up in front of the US Senate to explain himself and it was generally thought that the CEO defended himself well, justifying Apple's position and suggesting that it is the corporation tax code that should change.
It would seem that Apple co founder Steve Wozniak is not so happy about Apple's tax practices, and presumably he isn't a fan of Cook's suggestions either. Wozniak (Woz) has spoken out about Apple and tax, and suggested that it is "fair and right" to tax large firms, like Apple, on their income.
The current system is "why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer," he claimed.
He told the BBC: "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."
It follows, explained Woz, that corporations should "pay taxes on all of their revenues" or, alternatively people should only pay tax on profit.
"Until we rectify that the whole problem is just with us forever," he said.
"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," Wozniak said.
He continued: "Why do businessmen get to write off lunches and cars? If normal people did they would have more savings. That is really not fair, that businesses are not treated the same as people."
"People are not taxed on profit, they are taxed on income."
It's "really not fair", concluded Wozniak.
Apple's Irish tax haven
Wozniak was attending a conference in Londonderry in Ireland. Apple's business in Ireland has come under fire recently in relation to its tax practices.
The Guardian has a profile on Cathy Kearney, the woman who heads up Apple's Operations International (AOI) office in Ireland. That report refer to her involvement with "a cluster of companies, registered at Apple's Cork office, to which had been transferred development rights, outside the Americas, to many of the group's products".
According to the Guardian, Kearney's role at the company seems curious. The Senate officials [who have been investigating Apple's tax practices] discovered she had attended just seven of 33 AOI board meetings over almost seven years – once in person, the other six by telephone. All but one of the meetings were in California, where the other directors were based.
"In four years, almost $30bn of profits poured into AOI, though it has no physical presence or employees in Cork or, indeed, anywhere else on the planet," writes the Guardian.
Where Apple doesn't pay tax
While the focus is on the tax that Apple isn't paying in the US, a number of reports over the past year have highlighted that Apple doesn't pay tax in various countries where it operates.
Back in February the British, French and German governments launched a joint initiative to crack down on tax avoidance. The plan was unveiled at a G20 meeting in Moscow and was designed to stop big firms that country-hop to pay less tax.
Governments are facing public outrage over how some multinational companies are handling their tax affairs. In Britain Starbucks, Apple, Google and Amazon have come under fire for using complex inter-company transactions to cut their tax bills. Apple has been accused of paying only 2% tax in the UK.