Apple should pay more tax, says co-founder Wozniak

Steve Wozniak

He said he doesn’t like the idea that Apple does not pay tax at the same rate he does personally.

Apple, Google and Amazon have been criticised for not paying enough in tax and the firm is currently the subject of a European Commission tax inquiry, reports The BBC.

Mr Wozniak, who left Apple in 1985, was also ambivalent at the prospect of the UK leaving the European Union.

Mr Wozniak – widely known as Woz – founded Apple along with Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne 40 years ago. It has grown to become one of the most valuable businesses in the world, worth around $600bn.

He told BBC Radio 5 live: “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 per cent of anything I make in taxes and I believe that’s part of life and you should do it.”

When asked if Apple should pay that amount, he replied: “Every company in the world should.”

He said he was never interested in money, unlike his former partner Steve Jobs. “Steve Jobs started Apple Computers for money, that was his big thing and that was extremely important and critical and good.”

Apple channels much of its business in Europe through a subsidiary in the Republic of Ireland, which has a corporation tax rate of 12.5 per cent compared to the UK’s 20 per cent.

In the US it’s 35 per cent, but three years ago the company admitted two of its Irish subsidiaries pay a rate of 2 per cent. It has built up offshore cash reserves of around $200bn – beyond the reach of US tax officials.

Tax avoidance has been brought back into focus by the recent Panama Papers revelations.

Mr Wozniak 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.”