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Amazon, Google and Apple Won't Need To Pay Tax, Despite Goverment Threats

timothy posted about a year ago | from the rent-done-been-sought dept.

Businesses 327

girlmad writes "Despite moves by government to get Google, Amazon and Apple to admit they make sales in the UK and US, and therefore should pay tax on these earnings, this article argues these are empty threats and that any taxes paid will get returned to the tech giants in government grants and subsidies. Tough luck to the small firms out there."

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Remind me,,, (3, Insightful)

MitchDev (2526834) | about a year ago | (#43767509)

why class warfare is alive and well and why everyone hates the government so fucking much?

Re:Remind me,,, (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about a year ago | (#43767597)

Not everyone hates the government. The executives of big companies are actually so fond of them that they even take their government chums out to expensive restaurants and parties on their private yachts.

It's just the poor people who hate the government, because they're all nasty and poor and horrible.

And the middle classes, whose tax money is going on unpopular schemes like wars and helping poor people.

Oh, and the professionals/entrepreneurs, because after years of hard work, sacrifice and risk-taking that will stop many in their tracks, those who do succeed are then considered "rich" and taxed sharply, while the people who are actually rich have enough mobility to avoid those same high taxes, which is why the very high tax rates don't actually raise much money for the government anyway.

Re:Remind me,,, (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#43767661)

It's just the poor people who hate the government, because they're all nasty and poor and horrible.

Arthur: Bloody peasants!

Re:Remind me,,, (-1, Troll)

luther349 (645380) | about a year ago | (#43767775)

same thing with the job issues over taxing has drove people out of the usa. lots of other stuff to like runaway unions etc but you get the idea.

Re:Remind me,,, (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767891)

Oh, and the professionals/entrepreneurs, because after years of hard work, sacrifice and risk-taking that will stop many in their tracks, those who do succeed are then considered "rich" and taxed sharply, ...

I really don't put Mark Zuckerberg and all the other "professionals/entrepreneurs" in that category.

And everyone works hard, takes risks and sacrifices. Everyone. It's just a question of what to sacrifice.

I have a relative - one of those "professionals/entrepreneurs" - as he puts it, "I worked 30 years and had a few lucky breaks to achieve my 'fame' (that's the way he put it)"

He's also on his third wife and a few screwed up kids.

Unfortunately, for every "success" story, the people don't realize that there are thousands of others who did exactly the same thing but failed; sometimes to ruinous consequences. And yet folks point to the few successes and say "look! anyone can do it if you just had the gumption!' Like everyone who's failed wasn't worthy; and everyone who's succeeded did so because they were worthy of said success.

Are you going to tell me that someone who just happened to be at the right place at the right time is a success because of his hard work?

That's an insult to those out there who are truly working their asses off and taking risks.

And the "professionals" you mention. You mean doctors? They take no risks. If you are lucky enough to have been born with the talents to do well (No matter how hard I worked, I couldn't pass Organic Chem.) in that field, you are pretty much guaranteed a nice lifestyle. It's no coincidence that MDs are always on top of the lists of highest paid professions. It has nothing to do with brains because if that were the case, then Physicists would be on the top.

Re:Remind me,,, (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#43768001)

It would be nice to see these entities seized by the IRS and large parts sold off to their competitors. That would certainly stop such huge grants and subsidies in favor of smaller ones spread out. Then your horrible poor and middles could fill the new positions and enjoy the revenues spread amongst their communities.
With the previously owned bits spread out, then we will see some innovation flourish because the new humbled titans will have to do something for US today to stay in the race. Your rich professionals/entrepeneurs will move along to THE NEXT BIG THING. Maybe, even at one of the companies owning a piece of their ass.
There are many possibilities of just what could happen, I doubt anything ever happens as straight forward and predictably as you set forth.Too textbook.

Re:Remind me,,, (3, Insightful)

Capt. Skinny (969540) | about a year ago | (#43768085)

It would be nice to see the IRS threatened mafia-style for gouging the rich just "because they can afford it." I'm sure the poorest of the poor would consider the middle class as being able to afford a near-40% marginal tax rate on their earnings, because relative to them, the middle class is "rich." But the middle class would beg to differ, and would argue that millionaires should pay huge tax bills. They fail to recognize the hypocrisy in taking that position.

Re:Remind me,,, (4, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43767679)

Remind me why class warfare is alive and well and why everyone hates the government so fucking much?

Because a key tactic in class warfare is the 0.01% getting the government to do their bidding.

Re:Remind me,,, (3)

iserlohn (49556) | about a year ago | (#43767975)

But that is no excuse to get rid of government. The focus should be to rid government of vested interests.

Re:Remind me,,, (4, Informative)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#43767897)

Simple really: things look as different from the bottom as they do from the middle and the top. Your poor hate being poor, your middle class are typically striving to make it up another rung, and your rich don't want to fall from their perch. Your poor work with the idea of 'making it,' so that they can be free of the mentality of being poor, as well as the belief that with moving up the ladder means less problems; it does not, it just means different problems. When you're poor, you think as soon as you get another $10K, you'll pay back all your friends, be extra nice, relax, etc.: the reality is, when that $10K comes, your friends will find you, and any voluntary remembrance for their aid becomes an involuntary shakedown, during which the worst of humanity is shown to you. The middle class want to move up, going from middle middle class to upper middle class, or whatever; they try to curry favor on both sides: they want rich friends, the right connections, etc., but they also want to 'remember where they came from' with the poor, as some sort of pride of having worked their way up. The rich want to avoid becoming poor or middle class; it's one thing to be down several million from the fortune you inherited, it's another to not be able to afford to visit Europe whenever the whim strikes you.

Each class has certain 'requirements' as far as being a part of it. This is why someone who acquires a fortune through a lottery is not suddenly thought of as being a part of the upper class; chances are, that money will be gone in a few year's time, and no attempt at understanding the change in class occurs.

As for why everyone hates the government, why, that's simple: your host government is typically the one wielding the most amount of power over your life (save yourself, or your deity), and as such, is the scapegoat for everything that does wrong in your life during your day, from the stubbed toe you got rolling out of bed, to the parking ticket you received. He who has the power, gets the blame! It sucks, but it seems to hold true. Heck, the upper class has worked for ages on how to displace power from blame...that's why you have 'management' running companies, instead of the owners themselves. And their successes have been...somewhat lackluster, to be honest. Lately they've been getting nailed for it...see how many companies have gone tits up, and how the political class is basically losing any semblance of currency with the populace.

Re:Remind me,,, (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43768051)

why class warfare is alive and well and why everyone hates the government so fucking much?

You have few real options other than 401k... Which is basically a life raft for the stock market and corporate controlled tax racked / devaluation weapon all rolled into one. Moo. You're being farmed.

Re:Remind me,,, (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43768111)

Corporate taxes do not make economic sense because they don't pay the taxes, you do. They come out of your salary, you retirement plan and directly out of your wallet every time you buy something. Corporate tax doesn't take money away from the "big bad corporations" and their rich CEOs, it takes money away from you. It also makes our good and services more expensive in the global market.

People seem to think you can just turn a knob and increase corporate taxes and all the money will magically drain out of the pocketbooks of the top executives and major shareholders and that is an extremely naive view. This isn't a fringe view either, it's widely accepted by economists that corporate taxes are inefficient and distortionary. Here is a better explanation than I can give http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/CorporateTaxation.html

You voted them into office, now suck it up. (4, Insightful)

GenieGenieGenie (942725) | about a year ago | (#43767525)

And for those of you who think this is partisan-minded, the "other" guys (hah! what a joke) would have done exactly the same.

Re:You voted them into office, now suck it up. (4, Insightful)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a year ago | (#43767549)

And for those of you who think this is partisan-minded, the "other" guys (hah! what a joke) would have done exactly the same.

So your point is 'we' are to blame because we voted them into office when we had a choice to vote for someone else... who you also admit would have done the same thing...

Nice logic there.

Re:You voted them into office, now suck it up. (2)

tmosley (996283) | about a year ago | (#43767605)

So there can only be Republicans or Democrats? Is it even possible for a person to think in a way that is different from those two corrupt and fascist ideologies?

Nice logic there.

Re:You voted them into office, now suck it up. (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a year ago | (#43767623)

We are talking about the UK, which has a 3/4-party system, none of which are called Republicans or Democrats.

Re:You voted them into office, now suck it up. (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43767711)

You can always count on New Labour to stick up for the 99%. Ignore details like Blair making millions from JP Morgan Chase. He had to find some job after being PM, right?

Re:You voted them into office, now suck it up. (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | about a year ago | (#43767753)

New Labour is, thankfully, almost dead. If Miliband manages to win the next election, it will probably be buried. Why do you think grandees like Blair and Mandelson are so quick to put the boot in to him? They're terrified he might win by pursuing a platform other than New Labour. If Miliband loses, it'll throw Labour right back into the throes of New Labour again, in the belief that it's the "only way to win".

Of course they said the same about Cameron and the Tory "Nasty Party", and that didn't exactly turn out well. But we can but hope.

Re:You voted them into office, now suck it up. (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43767843)

Thanks for the update on UK politics. As an American I admit I don't follow it closely enough to engage in real debate. The Blair thing stuck in my craw because it's analogous to the "Third Way" Democrats in the US. Sounds like there's some hope over there. With Obama and his likely successors in the US, not so much.

P.S. Just out of curiosity, under what circumstances would you be willing to call the American War of Independence an unfortunate misunderstanding and take us back?

Re:You voted them into office, now suck it up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767805)

Hes actually been trying to get back into politics but luckily nobody wants anything to do with him.

Re:You voted them into office, now suck it up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767737)

Err, not really: It's essentially a 2 party system of either the Tories or Labour having all power. The Lib Dems are more or less irrelevant except for having decided which of the former 2 got into power after the last election by forming a "coalition" where they have little say. You still run into exactly the same problems of a 2 party system... If you want to see a multiparty system the UK isn't the place to go. Maybe Switzerland, Belgium, possibly the Netherlands? But I think the last government representing the whole people was back during WW2 over here.

Re:You voted them into office, now suck it up. (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a year ago | (#43767867)

I don't really disagree, I just think that the grandparent doesn't get to have an opinion if he can't even be bothered to work out that this isn't a US-based discussion.

Re:You voted them into office, now suck it up. (1)

Capt. Skinny (969540) | about a year ago | (#43768113)

But.. but... but... I thought the US was the center of the world??? Isn't /everything/ about the US unless explicitly declared otherwise???

-American

Re:You voted them into office, now suck it up. (1)

AxemRed (755470) | about a year ago | (#43767949)

There were more than 2 choices. The Republicans and Democrats have everyone convinced that if you vote for a 3rd party, you're throwing your vote away. They rally people around hot-button issues to distract everyone from the fact that they are 90% the same. If people want change they need to stop voting for Republicans and Democrats, especially at the national level. Even if you don't care, go out and vote for a 3rd party candidate. Barring a miracle, they're not going to win any major elections right away. But as their vote tallies steadily increase, it will drive the point home to the politicians in both of the major parties that we are sick of their shit. They're not going to change until their jobs are threatened.

Re:You voted them into office, now suck it up. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767579)

In Soviet Russia

Governments manipulate corporations

Re:You voted them into office, now suck it up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43768019)

Keep up with times, it's Communist China, not Soviet Russia. And it's true, don't see what's so funny about it.

Re:You voted them into office, now suck it up. (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#43767729)

Congress sets tax policy, and representatives are all over the map politically. You can make a difference, once representative at a time. And you have to get started during the primaries, not once it comes down to a binary choice.

they are paying taxes (1)

emilper (826945) | about a year ago | (#43767557)

sales tax wherever they sell stuff, and income tax in some other country

Re:they are paying taxes (1)

Luthair (847766) | about a year ago | (#43767571)

They move the income on paper to countries with 0% corporate taxes.

Re:they are paying taxes (-1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about a year ago | (#43767667)

Yep, one of the great things is that even though the US and Western Europe have decided they don't want you being productive in their country, there are still countries out there that are much more free.

Re:they are paying taxes (2)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about a year ago | (#43767965)

Yep, one of the great things is that even though the US and Western Europe have decided they don't want you being productive in their country, there are still countries out there that are much more free.

It's easy to be "free" when the companies in question aren't actually IN your country. The government-provided services the freeloading companies depend on are paid for by the non-dodging taxpayers of the countries in which the business actually operate.

Re:they are paying taxes (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43767701)

They move the income on paper to countries with 0% corporate taxes.

It is easy to avoid income tax by using accounting tricks to shift profits around. It is far harder to avoid sales taxes, and even harder to avoid payroll taxes, property taxes, etc. Most corporations pay little income tax, but they still pay plenty of other taxes.

The summary makes the claim that only big companies avoid income tax, but at least in the US, that is false. Most small corporations in the US are S-Corps, which pay no income tax.

Re:they are paying taxes (2)

nogginthenog (582552) | about a year ago | (#43767763)

In the EU sales tax is applied in the source country. Companies like Amazon are often based in countries like Luxembourg because of low sales tax rates. The UK government gets no sales tax from Amazon sales (even though the goods are ordered from a co.uk website and shipped from UK warehouses).

Amazon must employ plenty of stackers and shippers though.

Re:they are paying taxes (3, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43767961)

In the EU sales tax is applied in the source country. Companies like Amazon are often based in countries like Luxembourg because of low sales tax rates. The UK government gets no sales tax from Amazon sales (even though the goods are ordered from a co.uk website and shipped from UK warehouses).

This makes no sense. In fact, it makes so little sense, that I don't believe it. I just did a Google search on European sales tax (VAT) policy, and several sites, including this one [retailresearch.org] , contradict what you claim. If sales are below a threshold they are based on the shipping country, and if over the threshold they are based on the destination country. At no point are they based on where the company is incorporated, as you claimed.

Re: they are paying taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43768031)

They don't pay taxes. You do. The companies collect what you pay and send it to the revenue departments of the variois govt entities.

I saw something scary this morning (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767561)

on BBC parliament. Some suited slimeball operating in full corporate bullshit mode, explaining to a panel of MP's why a UK company buying UK advertising from a UK sales team and paying the bill in sterling to a UK bank account somehow doesn't count as a sale in the UK, all the while his fat tax auidtor lackey smiled and nodded along.

I don't really have a problem with Google knowing more about me than my own mother when I am awash with the blissful fantasy that they are progressive company, run by and for engineers who's general dealings with government are along the lines are "the future is here, deal with it granddad." When I see them acting just like every other multinational, and needing to be reminded several times by the committee chair that their corporate moto is "don't be evil" I suddenly realize that we may have taken our eyes off the ball far too long when it comes to google, and the era of large scale exploitation and manipulation by multinational mega-corps has only just begun.

We need a real tax revolt in the US (1)

MikeRT (947531) | about a year ago | (#43767569)

We need millions of taxpayers, especially small businesses to not only refuse to pay their taxes but dare the government to arrest them for tax evasion until we have a fair and easy to enforce tax code. When I say dare, I mean in the sense of forcing the government to literally go to war or back down and fix the system.

Re:We need a real tax revolt in the US (1)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | about a year ago | (#43767649)

OK, you go first. I hear they've got 3 hot meals, free boarding, and cable TV in the joint.

Don't You See... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#43767683)

Your taxes go to pay for things we ALL need. Like roads, and firemen and teachers. When someone cheats on their taxes, they're cheating ALL of us!

Ahh ha ha! Why do you guys make me read this shit? They know we're just going to tax the crap out of them to pay for hooker and cocaine parties for Washington lobbyists! Why LIE to them? !#%!WA

Re:We need a real tax revolt in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767699)

Why? I see nothing wrong with paying my taxes.

While we're at it, you should pay yours, too.

Re:We need a real tax revolt in the US (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767929)

Why? I see nothing wrong with paying my taxes.

Wow. Ostriches on /. I didn't know they'd even learned to read.

While we're at it, you should pay yours, too.

Nah, I'd rather spend it on food, clothing, lodging, transportation, education, ... Besides, if the gov't wants money, all they have to do is print some. It's not like they don't know how.

Re:We need a real tax revolt in the US (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about a year ago | (#43767983)

We need millions of taxpayers, especially small businesses to not only refuse to pay their taxes

Not necessary. The system has already been rigged by propagators of the Laffer curve myth so that the government collects only a small fraction of the taxes necessary to pay for its operation. So you're already not paying most of your taxes.

Government didn't earn the money (-1, Troll)

Kohath (38547) | about a year ago | (#43767587)

Good for Apple and Google. The government didn't earn the money they want to take. The people at Apple and Google worked hard to earn that money, why should it be stolen from them to pay for giveaways to non-workers?

Re:Government didn't earn the money (1)

supercrisp (936036) | about a year ago | (#43767637)

Because the Fed intentional manipulates the market to maintain unemployment? Because the working portion of a person's life is bookended by nonworking portions? Because we don't want to take the people who can't work out behind the barn and shoot them? Aside from those reasons, a lot of government spending, the majority of it, goes to people who are working. The government employs quite a few people, most of whose jobs we'd all agree need to be done.

Re:Government didn't earn the money (0)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#43767749)

Because the working portion of a person's life is bookended by nonworking portions?

Yup. You save for your retirement and pay for your kids. It's not the government's responsibility.

Because we don't want to take the people who can't work out behind the barn and shoot them?

Covered by insurance too; not a government function.

Aside from those reasons, a lot of government spending, the majority of it, goes to people who are working. The government employs quite a few people, most of whose jobs we'd all agree need to be done.

Really? We all agree? My guess is that there are plenty of reductions possible, starting with the military, the DEA, and the DHS.

Because the Fed intentional manipulates the market to maintain unemployment?

Oh, take of your tinfoil hat. The Fed is a bunch of bumbling idiots; they couldn't "maintain unemployment" if they tried.

Re:Government didn't earn the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43768049)

Because the working portion of a person's life is bookended by nonworking portions?

Yup. You save for your retirement and pay for your kids. It's not the government's responsibility.

The government regulates the banks so that you can save for retirement without getting screwed out of all of your money, and backs the currency that allows you to get away with paying for whatever your kids need without having to barter.

Because we don't want to take the people who can't work out behind the barn and shoot them?

Covered by insurance too; not a government function.

Insurance that's regulated by the government so that you don't get screwed by having your coverage suddenly pulled out from underneath you every time you get admitted to hospital or enter the welfare office.

Aside from those reasons, a lot of government spending, the majority of it, goes to people who are working. The government employs quite a few people, most of whose jobs we'd all agree need to be done.

Really? We all agree? My guess is that there are plenty of reductions possible, starting with the military, the DEA, and the DHS.

Spending reductions are possible across the board. Government waste isn't a new thing, but it also doesn't mean that the people receiving the money are sitting around wiping their asses with your tax dollars. Anyway, you already seem to agree that most of the jobs in the government need to be done, since you're only asking for reductions and not for outright closing departments.

Because the Fed intentional manipulates the market to maintain unemployment?

Oh, take of your tinfoil hat. The Fed is a bunch of bumbling idiots; they couldn't "maintain unemployment" if they tried.

There would be 0% unemployment without the Fed. Everybody would just be owners or slaves. You don't need to be happy with the job they're doing, which is the whole point of being able to vote the bums out, but don't pretend that you can make it without government intervention to protect the majority of your quality of life.

Re: Government didn't earn the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767641)

Lol this guy.

Re:Government didn't earn the money (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about a year ago | (#43767643)

The people at Apple and Google worked hard to earn that money, why should it be stolen from them to pay for giveaways to non-workers

Because while taxation may be tantamount to theft and it may be inherently evil and it may be desirable to minimise it as much as possible, we haven't yet found a more effective way to fund government services, and at least some of the services governments provide are valuable, including to those people at Apple and Google.

Re:Government didn't earn the money (2, Informative)

tqk (413719) | about a year ago | (#43768005)

The people at Apple and Google worked hard to earn that money, why should it be stolen from them to pay for giveaways to non-workers

Because while taxation may be tantamount to theft and it may be inherently evil and it may be desirable to minimise it as much as possible, we haven't yet found a more effective way to fund government services ...

Yes we have, long ago. We did it ourselves; often poorly or with spotty coverage, I agree, but certainly not at the price gov't charges for it. I'm not even speaking of the monetary price here either. Unfortunately, our parents and grandparents got lazy and drank the big gov't Koolaid, and we've been enslaved to it ever since, going in deeper with each succeeding generation.

Perhaps our great grand-kids will fix it.

Re:Government didn't earn the money (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767651)

Apple and Google enjoy the general public services just like the rest of us. This includes public roads, utilities, postal services. They exist and thrive in a society that is only possible through the strength of an organized nation-state such as the United States of America or Great Britain. This doesn't include any of the subsidies that I'm sure they manage to get or the fact that as a couple of the largest companies in existence, they have the ability to successfully lobby lawmakers.

While most could agree that tax revenue could probably be better spent these days, the fundamental concept of taxes is not stealing. Taxes are the price of civilization.

Re:Government didn't earn the money (4, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#43767765)

Apple and Google enjoy the general public services just like the rest of us. This includes public roads, utilities, postal services.

They pay for those directly through property taxes, and indirectly through payroll taxes, proportional to what they use. Corporate income tax is not used for any of that. And they mostly use private shipping companies for their products.

Taxes are the price of civilization

Just because some taxes are reasonable and necessary doesn't mean that any/all of them are.

Re:Government didn't earn the money (0)

Kohath (38547) | about a year ago | (#43767803)

While most could agree that tax revenue could probably be better spent these days, the fundamental concept of taxes is not stealing. Taxes are the price of civilization.

Taxes aren't stealing. Taxing person A to pay for giveaways to person B is stealing.

Civilization is roads and fire protection and water treatment and courts, not monthly checks and giveaways to non-workers.

Re:Government didn't earn the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767853)

While most could agree that tax revenue could probably be better spent these days, the fundamental concept of taxes is not stealing. Taxes are the price of civilization.

Taxes aren't stealing. Taxing person A to pay for giveaways to person B is stealing.

Civilization is roads and fire protection and water treatment and courts, not monthly checks and giveaways to non-workers.

Don't forget the government subsidies that pays people to have kids. As a single person, I don't mind paying for infrastructure, including schools, through taxes but when you take my money and give it as deductions to people who have decided to have children then it is the same thing as a giveaway.

Re:Government didn't earn the money (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43768015)

You've got the wrong burr up your butt.

The money we give to large corporations though 'incentives', policies, military support, unneeded contracts and a host of other subsidies makes all of those 'welfare queens' that you're so worried about less important than a rounding error.

Let the little stuff slide. Deal with important things first.

Re:Government didn't earn the money (0)

tqk (413719) | about a year ago | (#43768057)

Taxes are the price of civilization.

That is a lie and you should be ashamed to believe it. It's the same lie rulers and tyrants have been spewing for millennia.

Re:Government didn't earn the money (4, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#43767721)

Good for Apple and Google. The government didn't earn the money they want to take. The people at Apple and Google worked hard to earn that money, why should it be stolen from them to pay for giveaways to non-workers?

For example, the government pays for police that will arrest people going to an Apple Store with guns and taking whatever they want.

Re:Government didn't earn the money (3, Funny)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43767769)

The people at Apple and Google worked hard to earn that money, why should it be stolen from them to pay for giveaways to non-workers?

I think it should be stolen from them because I'm what these days is called a fanatical pinko (formerly known as an Eisenhower Republican).

Re:Government didn't earn the money (1)

mike555 (2843511) | about a year ago | (#43767907)

+1. Every business should learn from these companies and do the same to hopefully end some day the legalized extortion statists call "taxes".

What is with your source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767593)

Oh Slashdot, you used to actually have some substantive posts. Now... This. What kind of "news" writer wrote that article?

It's the American way (0)

Grand Facade (35180) | about a year ago | (#43767611)

Don'tcha know.

Re: It's the American way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767883)

Except the article is about the UK

Naturally (0, Troll)

tmosley (996283) | about a year ago | (#43767613)

The west as a whole has declined into Fascism. You can only expect fascist policy to take hold.

Re:Naturally (2)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about a year ago | (#43767645)

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Re:Naturally (1, Insightful)

tmosley (996283) | about a year ago | (#43767727)

Merger of government and corporate power. They are creating a tax that will hurt small and medium businesses, while their burden is cancelled out by grants and subsidies. This is a clear move to use the sword of government to cut down the competition. This is the DEFINITION of fascism.

Re:Naturally (1)

Dins (2538550) | about a year ago | (#43767817)

Actually, according to dictionary.com, the definition of fascism [reference.com] is: "a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism."

Re:Naturally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767859)

If you've been so heavily indoctrinated in your country's propaganda that you can't see how aggressively nationalistic it is, and you don't see how our tax money is used to control which industries and commercial entities prosper at our expense, then you deserve your fascist government.

Re:Naturally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767893)

Actually, the definition of fascism is: "providing a reference on an Internet discussion board that refutes a fifteen year-old libertarian's definition of a word he is using for a convenient talking point." You sir, are a vicious jack-booted freedom-stomping fascist.

Re:Naturally (1)

tmosley (996283) | about a year ago | (#43768097)

And that is different than our current system, how exactly?

But of course, I was talking about a specific ACTION, rather than making a statement about the entire system. But you would rather host a pedantry exhibition while America burns.

Wasn't Amazon for this sales tax? (2)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about a year ago | (#43767627)

Oh wait, I forgot rule number whatever. "Whenever a rich and important company or person says they're for a tax that should cover them, SURPRISE it ends up covering everybody except them." (OOhh, I'll call it the Buffett Rule.)

Ya don't say... (3, Insightful)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | about a year ago | (#43767635)

Megacorps hiring legions of lawyers, accountants and lobbyists to limit/eliminate their tax liabilities. And politicians sucking up to the money bags whilst feigning outrage for the little guy. I'm shocked....just shocked, I say.

What a rubbish article (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#43767685)

Google, Apple and Amazon are not doing anything wrong. They are in business to make money for their stockholders of which many I bet are UK citizens. In some jurisdictions they are legally REQUIRED to operate their enterprises to the best legal advantage of their stockholders.

Those UK citizens pay taxes on the dividends and capital gains they realize from owning stock in these companies. Not only that but these companies provide extremely useful services to UK citizens thereby enriching their lives.

They ALSO employ many people who ALSO pay taxes on their wages, and by being employers relieve the state from having to pay for the upkeep of these people who would otherwise be on the dole.

Not only that but there are other taxes on value added transactions that result from the economic activities involved. Consumption based taxes are generally viewed to have the least negative impact on economic growth of any taxes.

Then of course there is the whole question of the macroeconomics of the situation. It is generally held that taxes on businesses are inefficient in terms of encouraging economic growth. Such policies are not productive overall to the economy. This is why business taxes in Europe are generally relatively low. It is conscious sound policy decision based on scientific analysis of the economic facts.

http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/pdf/themes/02_taxation.pdf [europa.eu]

In other words this is a completely RUBBISH article in every way possible.

Re:What a rubbish article (3, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43767791)

Google, Apple and Amazon are not doing anything wrong.

Well, they're not doing anything illegal. And that's the crime, that the government can be bought (and cheaply). I can't speak in much detail for the UK, but in the US the Supreme Court has taken "money is speech" (true only in a limited way and in limited circumstances) to absurd extremes. The logical conclusion is that me handing a politician a briefcase stuffed with unmarked non-sequential $100 bills is protected free speech.

Re: What a rubbish article (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767875)

Except that Amazon is competing with other businesses that DO pay tax.

They're using lobbyists to to get to government grants on the one hand and shady accountants to effectively launder their cash on the other.

Their motto might as well be take all you can give nothing back.

Re: What a rubbish article (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#43767981)

> They're using lobbyists to to get to government grants on the one hand and shady accountants to effectively launder their cash on the other.

If British citizens object to what Amazon is doing they are free to change the tax laws.

Blaming Amazon for the results of the UKs laws and government polices is complete rubbish.

Re:What a rubbish article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767877)

That's you're opinion.

And you're free to have it.

But it also means you're likely an authoritarian follower if you are honestly capable of turning a blind eye to the MANY flaws in your thinking in order to construct a plausible fantasy for yourself.

That is, your parents missed out on the updated genetics before installing your brain. Society is currently crashing as a result of too many buggy humans running around spouting similar nonsense.

Maybe we'll get it right after nearly everybody is dead. We'll have to see if we can't weed the garden a little better next time. I doubt it, though. Stupidity seems to be a very persistent genetic flaw.

Re:What a rubbish article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767969)

So your argument is an ad hominem attack done anonymously.

You are a complete asshole.

Typo in Headline (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767689)

Just wanted to point out that as of right now the headline says "Goverment", an obvious typo that any dim-witted person should have caught.

The laziness and sloppiness of the content is typical slashdot.

Taxes, like laws, are for little people. (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year ago | (#43767709)

So it would seem that taxes, like laws, are for little people. Whereas writing the specs for the laws and the taxes, well that's for the corporations (which are people!) and for the special 1% big people. Well, no one said life was going to be fair, did they? :>)

Yes pity the small firm (1)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about a year ago | (#43767715)

Small firms have it so rough and they deserve our pity, even though they have lobbyist groups like Confederation of British Industry who will make sure that small firms don't have to make up for the loss in tax revenue.

Fuck the people who lose out on services and have to pay higher taxes to make up for the lack of revenue, though. Those people clearly don't deserve pity because they aren't a business or corporation. Only businesses deserve our pity.

The government are doing it wrong. (5, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year ago | (#43767717)

I've been following this whole shitfest in the UK quite closely for the past few months, and one amusing thing has consistently struck me - the government are trying to be the goody-goody party in all of this, claiming that the companies involved are being evil and ethically corrupt when it comes to "fair share" taxation, while at the very same time flat out refusing to acknowledge that those companies are not doing anything illegal under the current tax regime.

The government also has ruled out changing the tax law to prevent the current behaviours,because then they lose the trivially easy PR they get from "taking the companies to task" infront of Parliament and the media.

It's time to admit that the current tax law doesn't work once you are above PAYE (that's the government standard taxation for employees - normal people in the UK do not have to do any filings because it's all done by the HMRC for them and tax is taken out of their pay checks each month).

Setting up a company in the UK costs about $40. Doing annual returns for that company costs about $350. By working for that company for no wage, and taking out directors dividends, you save serious amounts of money through not having to pay income tax as the Corporate tax rates are significantly smaller than the income tax rates. This scheme is so heavily and widely used, even MPs in all parties got shamed earlier this year when they were named using it - but it's still completely legal.

No one should be expected to voluntarily pay more tax than they legally are required to, and no one should be shamed for not paying more tax than they are legally required to - if you want someone to pay more tax than they are legally required to, then legally require them to pay more tax! Don't beat around the bush, change the fucking law.

Re:The government are doing it wrong. (0)

luther349 (645380) | about a year ago | (#43767789)

the problem is if we change are tax code to say a flat tax or a fair tax they would have to pay there taxes to and dear god no dont hol them to the same level as everyone else your a evil devil worshiping terrorist saying that.

Re:The government are doing it wrong. (0)

ickleberry (864871) | about a year ago | (#43768017)

The common scam here in Ireland (and also UK) is that the likes of Google, Starbucks, Microsoft companies set up over here pay large "fees" to their parent company in the US in return for being allowed to be part of the parent company.

Its a loophole that the likes of Google in Europe are essentially being run as a franchise. You are allowed to write off your franchise 'fees' as being operating costs so you pay no tax on them. So Google Ireland Ltd. might pay several billion a year to Google US for their "google license". Its more complicated than that though, there are various intermediate companies involved on the Cayman Islands and what have you to further reduce the tax burden. All completely legal. We're being scammed

The common argument in favour over here is "but these companies are providing money to the economy, employing people, etc." but it isn't really fair. If I set up a company in Ireland I would have to pay lots of tax and have lots of regulation to comply with but these sh1tbags like GOOG get away with it because (a) They're big and can threaten to leave Ireland and (b) They can afford to pay their accountants to suss out the best tax avoidance scheme. So Google aren't really carrying their weight but even the govt is afraid to challenge them by changing the law.

Dubious. (1)

mike260 (224212) | about a year ago | (#43767731)

Despite moves by government to get Google, Amazon and Apple to admit they make sales in the UK and US, and therefore should pay tax on these earnings [...]

Tim Cook seems to claim the opposite:

I can tell you unequivocally Apple does not funnel its domestic profits overseas. We don't do that. We pay taxes on all the products we sell in the U.S., and we pay every dollar that we owe.

So is he a bare-faced liar, or is the article summary bollocks? Sources please.

Re:Dubious. (3, Informative)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#43767895)

So is he a bare-faced liar, or is the article summary bollocks? Sources please.

Given the choice "X, or the article summary is bollocks", the correct answer is _always_ "the article summary is bollocks". You should know that.

Now the truth is that Apple is indeed not funnelling domestic profits overseas. What they are doing, they are keeping overseas profits overseas.

19th Nervous Breakdown 2013 ed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767739)

Your employer who neglected you owes a million dollars tax
And their rival's still perfecting ways of cooling server racks
You better stop; look around
Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes...

This is proof that.. (1)

houbou (1097327) | about a year ago | (#43767741)

Democracy and Capitalism do NOT mix.

Re:This is proof that.. (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43767815)

Unfortunately neither do democracy and full-blown socialism, because the government owning all the means of production would give it limitless power. In the real world, the best we can do is a compromise. I do agree that these days it's clear which way the "compromise" is leaning.

Re:This is proof that.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43768103)

Well, you can call it fascism, or you can call it socialism, but the US Govt., effectively, owns at least the publicly traded means of production. Admittedly, it does get somewhat incestuous when you consider the question of who owns the US Govt. That would seem not to be the People, not for a long time.

Nothing close to free market capitalism, for sure. Whether googletech (note lowercase) + plus the bloated monstrosity above could morph into some kind of Mutualistic (note the upper case) workable implementation or alternative is another question, but an interesting one.

movetoamend.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767799)

Time to end corporate citizenship - a federal judge has already ruled that corporations are not citizens, therefor do not have the same protections under the law as citizens do.

Join move to amend, end their citizenship, end spending money as a form of speech, end our government sellout.

misleading article (4, Informative)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about a year ago | (#43767823)

The article doesn't say, but it appears that when it says "tax" it is referring to *income* tax. For some reason, a lot of people forget that corporations, unlike people, pay income tax on NET rather than gross. In other words, the corporation pays all of its expenses, then pays income tax on what is left over. Those expenses include your salary, your benefits, new capital projects, and so on. Meanwhile, the real tax burden of the organization is much higher when you add in all the other taxes they are paying: sales tax, property tax, tariffs, and so on. The story that these corporations aren't paying very much in "taxes" is a gross distortion. They just aren't paying very much in income taxes, which is by design.

Re:misleading article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767957)

For some reason, a lot of people forget that corporations, unlike people, pay income tax on NET rather than gross. In other words, the corporation pays all of its expenses, then pays income tax on what is left over.

And everyone knows that Amazon, Google, and Apple aren't making much money after covering their costs, right.

Re:misleading article (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about a year ago | (#43768029)

Cost and expenses aren't equivalent. Expenses include expansion, new goods and services, research. All the things that create wealth. The idea of the different tax structure is to encourage that sort of investment.

Also, Misleading Summary and Missing the Point (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#43768077)

Despite moves by government to get Google, Amazon and Apple to admit they make sales in the UK and US [...]

The summary places the subject partly within the context of the recent sales tax debate in the US. The article doesn't talk about this, nor does it make any mention of grants and subsidies from the US. Even if it did, this would be missing the point. The taxes would not simply be "empty threats", whatever that means here. Even if the companies receive benefits from the government, they have cause to fear paying sales tax because of the way it would change consumer behavior.

Not about apple (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767837)

This article is about google and amazon in the UK. In an attempt at link baiting, there is a single line about apple in the US in the article so they would write Apple in the headline for clicks.

And slashdot fell for it - and so did I.

Re:Not about apple (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | about a year ago | (#43767887)

This article is about google and amazon in the UK. In an attempt at link baiting, there is a single line about apple in the US in the article so they would write Apple in the headline for clicks.

And slashdot fell for it - and so did I.

Actually the summary refers to the fact that Apple do this too. [bbc.co.uk]

Just because it's not specifically mentioned in the linked article, doesn't mean it's not happening.

Good! Time to stop this legalized theft ("Taxes"). (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767863)

Good! Every business should learn from these companies and do the same. Hopefully it will eventually end the legalized theft/extortion which statists call "taxes".

So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43767967)

*Shrug*

So, now Google and Apple are the new robber-baron bogeyman scapegoats for the politicians. They don't deserve compensation for dubious honor of such a noble self-sacrifice in service to humanity? :-)

Just read a scaremongering article about the creepier aspects of Google-enabled, well, everything. For the record, it's not Google that's creepy to me, or, I think, to anyone else. It's the tech itself, or what the fact that it scares people tells us about ourselves individually, and collectively, on conscious and unconscious levels. It's going to take us a long time to adjust to it, but the cows are out the gate now, and there's no getting them back now, except at a cost too horrible to contemplate. Some say at a cost too past due to avoid, but that's another story that Mr. Heinlein covered elsewhere. Or, some say, Revelations. Or others, some other apocalyptic, prophetic, Wellsian vision. Morlocks and Eloi. Or the Runts of 61-Cygni C, maybe.

You really have to give Google credit for at least trying to keep things on a positive note, in fact. And it's not just Google, or Apple. This one, or that one. Lot of old-school usual suspects are getting to fly in under the radar while the high-profile tech companies get the heat.
What about, oh, say, IAC, or all the other click-tracking and media companies, eh? The ones that put all those crap toolbars and BHOs on Windoze boxes and Firefox, Chrome, etc. You know, all that spyware, adware, and Trojan installing malware that would be called a criminal botnet if you or I suckered anyone into installing them. All you techs who spend your days cleaning up this dreck know what I'm talking about. MyWebSearch, Ask.com (Oracle, what the hell were you thinking???) etc, etc, etc. But, it's publicly traded, so it can't be a crime, right? By definition. And therein lies the problem, the key to everything. Maybe I'll take that up at another time, or another place. Just saying that the problem really aint whether Google (or Apple, or whatever) is good or evil. Save that for the rubes, please.

I think there is an issue being ignored (0)

doginthewoods (668559) | about a year ago | (#43768023)

which is, most countries tax profits made within their borders. That is, if Google made money in France, then they must pay taxes in France. So, demanding that these companies pay taxes twice, on the same overseas profits, is not reasonable. Which, IIRC, was the point of why the tax exception was written that way.

Apple paid 1/40th of ALL corporate tax in 2012 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43768039)

In fiscal year 2012, Apple paid $6 billion in federal corporate income taxes, which is 1 out of every 40 dollars in corporate income taxes collected by the U.S. government, said Steve Dowling, a company spokesman.
“That makes Apple one of the top corporate income tax payers in the country, if not the largest,” he said.
From http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-02/apple-avoids-9-2-billion-in-taxes-with-debt-deal.html

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