STEVE Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, has said he understands criticism of the company’s tax affairs, saying the company has an ethical obligation not to minimise its payments in the way it does.
Wozniak, who set up Apple with late boss Steve Jobs in the 1970s and left in 1987, said yesterday he could understand the controversy over the company’s tax payments that led the company’s chief executive Tim Cook to be pulled in front of a US Senate committee.
He proposed that firms should be taxed on sales rather than profits, saying it was the only way to ensure that they paid appropriate sums.
“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,” Wozniak said, speaking in Northern Ireland yesterday.
Wozniak, now a lecturer and author, later told Sky News: “Criticism of Apple’s tax policies is extremely warranted, in my mind. [Avoidance] is ethically wrong. On a personal level we always know when it’s wrong.”
His comments jar with Cook’s call for US authorities to simplify tax rates. The iPhone maker has faced criticism over booking profits in Ireland.