One of Apple’s co-founders has called for all businesses, including iPhone maker, to pay a 50% corporation tax rate.
Steve Wozniak, who left Apple in 1985 and has been highly critical of its recent innovations, said he is uncomfortable with Apple, or any other business, paying less tax than he does.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Wozniak said: “I don’t like the idea that Apple might be unfair – not paying taxes the way I do as a person.
“I do a lot of work, I do a lot of travel and I pay over 50% of anything I make in taxes and I believe that’s part of life and you should do it.”
Apple has become one of the world’s most valuable businesses, currently valued at around $600 billion, with enormous cash reserves. It has come under intense pressure over its tax affairs in the past few years, with most of its corporation taxes in European flowing through a subsidiary company based in the Republic of Ireland, where corporation tax is 12.5%. The US corporation tax rate is 35%, but as recent as three years ago, Apple admitted paying a rate of just 2% in Ireland.
When asked if Apple should pay a 50% tax rate like he does, Mr Wozniak simply replied: “Every company in the world should.”
It is understood that around $200bn worth of cash reserves are held offshore. The company’s co-founder said: “We didn’t think we’d be figuring out how to go off to the Bahamas and have special accounts like people do to try to hide their money.
“But you know, on the other hand I look back any company that is a public company, its shareholders are going to force it to be as profitable as possible and that means financial people studying all the laws of the world and figuring out all the schemes that work that are technically legal. They’re technically legal and it bothers me and I would not live my life that way.”
Despite his many criticisms of the company he helped to create, Mr Wozniak was hugely supportive of Apple’s stance in its legal battle with the FBI over access to data.
Speaking at Business Rocks tech summit, he said: “Apple has been the good guy.
“There are politicians who do not have a clue as to what cyber security is all about trying to pass laws saying that Apple has to make a product less secure.
“Why? That’s a crime. That is just so horrible. I just cry! Why would Apple do it for such a weak case where the government were not going to get any valuable information at all – it’s impossible.”