Protestors Criticize Apple For Using Offshore Tax Shelters

(Credit: Ellen Huet/The SF Chronicle)

(Credit: Ellen Huet/The SF Chronicle)

From complaints about the use of shuttle buses in San Francisco, to Apple’s own security guards protesting for better pay, the tech industry in San Francisco has come under increased fire in the last few years.

The latest protest took place on Tuesday, with a crowd gathered at Apple’s Union Square store in San Francisco, dressed as Apple Store workers, to call on the company to pay U.S. taxes on the $102 billion it alleges is held overseas.

“We’re trying to have a little fun on Tax Day and show how Apple’s unpaid tax revenues could help Bay Area infrastructure,” said spokesperson Alfredo Fletes. “We could have done this in Cupertino, but not as many customers would come by — this is partly an education campaign.”

Protestors handed out flyers which directed people to the website www.techcandobetter.org, which appears to aim for better wages for security guards at tech companies.

The whole question of Apple and unpaid taxes has been around for a while. Earlier this year the company was accused of shifting close to $8.1 billion in untaxed profits from its Australian operations to Ireland over the past decade, while Apple has previously been criticized for using an Irish ghost company avoid paying taxes on $78 billion.

Last year it was reported that Irish officials were considering closing the tax loophole that allows companies including Apple to avoid paying higher taxes.

Apple, for its part, has always been adamant that it obeys all corporate tax laws — including the “spirit of the law.”

  • disqus_uai8dIVPTS

    They’re protesting at the wrong place…

    “Apple paid $13.2bn in taxes, far more than Intel’s $3bn, Google’s $2.3bn, Cisco’s $1.9bn, and HP’s $1.5bn. In fact, Apple paid more in taxes than those companies combined, plus eBay and Oracle.”

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/04/14/apple_makes_more_profit_than_google_hp_intel_cisco_combined/

  • Matt

    Sadly the people protesting are the people that don’t pay any taxes. Doesn’t anyone have a job anymore?

  • digitaldumdum

    Wonder how many of those protestors are using iPhones to take selfles and text their friends.

    With all that’s going on in the world, it seems like there must be something more worthwhile to protest.

  • http://www.designstrategies.com Len Williams

    This is ridiculous. Apple pays taxes to the country in which the sales were made. This is entirely legal all over the world. Apple has done exactly nothing that is against the law. If there are tax loopholes, you can be sure that Apple’s financial officers are going to take advantage of them, just like EVERYONE does by taking every possible deduction they can on personal and business earnings. Why should Apple be judged by a different standard?

    The simple fact is this: Apple has lots of money and these people feel it is their right to have some of it. This is basic social theory as written by Karl Marx: “From each according to his ability; to each according to his need.” which translates to “You have it, I don’t and I feel you OWE me part of what you’ve got–even though I’ve done nothing to deserve it.” This is the basis of socialism. The non-productive/non-working individuals in a society accuse those who make money by working hard as being “rich and uncaring of the poor”, then demand their share of other people’s labor. It is a philosophy that ultimately dooms the society because it punishes those who work and rewards those who don’t. Why bother to work when you can relax and live off welfare and food stamps.

  • Jonathan King

    I don’t think it’s fair to claim that America built the internet, if anyone it was the British.

  • John Hill

    If you wonder what happens to all those High School kids with no real education – this is it. Apple pays more taxes = Less Apple jobs.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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