perpetuating the myth that Mark Thomas is "Funny" or a "Comedian"
Comedian and activist Mark Thomas threw a riotous Irish-themed party inside Apple's flagship store in London to protest against the iPhone giant's tiny tax bills. The left-wing agitator led a group of about 50 protesters into the swish Regent Street shop, where they waved signs reading "you are now entering Irish territory" …
Well they did rename his old TV programme "The Mark Thomas Comedy Product" to "The Mark Thomas Product". I'm guessing someone was pissed off under the trades descriptions act or something!
He's worth a watch though sometimes even if it is difficult to make a standup routine out of fucking with arms dealers or corporate bastards!
He must be a comedian. He appeared on stage with George Galloway. No-one other than a comedian or a fool would do that. I choose not to believe someone who went to a fairly decent Independent school could be that much of a fool.
As for "left-wing agitator", agitation is shouting a bit, doing things like this. Placing a bounty on the head of an elected head of state in a magazine column isn't agitation, it's either comedy or criminal. As I don't recall reading of his arrest, again, he must be a comedian.
No he's not "ha ha" funny, he's bitterly funny. I love the watching his shows, he makes you feel very uncomfortable which is what good creativity should be about. Even if you don't want to go and protest about something big, the next time you get irritated by a surly shop assistant you have a lot more gumption and make a point to demand your rights.
Have a look after the WWDC. I noticed last year Amazon dropped the prices on some of the "old" models after the refreshed models were announced. Apple try and wind down supply prior to the WWDC (Airs are in short supply at the moment, so they'll almost certainly get a refresh), but there's always a few bits of surplus stock that get marked down if you're quick.
In itself it changes nothing, but it rankles, it gets under the skin of corporates, it gets things discussed and gets wider attention. Excellent point about John Lewis for instance - again a small action, but small actions and small changes in customer behaviour aggregate... Then people listen.
if Mr Thomas plans to bring his tour to some of the tax havens under UK control such as Jersey, Guernsey and Sark.
I'm sure his tax evasion material will go down a bomb in these places.
I also wonder if he plans to bring his flashmob to such of the British companies in the FTSE100 who use the exact same tax loopholes to minimise their tax exposure. Strangely all of the media focus has been on US companies.
What I don't understand (tax issues aside) is why the shareholders don't demand a goodly-sized cut of the $100bn cash reserve as a dividend? Why does the company (looking at is purely as a business) need such a large reserve?
Looking at it another way it's 4 years' profit so perhaps it isn't as enormous in relation to that as the raw number seems, but is it usual for companies to retain that much cash? I don't know the R&D spend to bring out a new product, but it's surely a fraction of that?
Isn't that what Apple have proposed? They proposed a scheme whereby they raise $$$ in the US with a bond sale. Then they use that cash to give the stockholders a dividend. This way that can legally pay a dividend without bringing even $1 onshore to the US and paying the 35% tax on it..
Now that $100bn would go a long way to getting rid of Eire's nation debt. That must be tempting for the politico's in Dublin.
"Now that $100bn would go a long way to getting rid of Eire's nation debt. That must be tempting for the politico's in Dublin."
Not really. Do it once and see how quickly Apple, Google Amazon et al leave making everyone redundant on the way out. -- Will the last person leaving Ireland please turn out the lights.
The problem Apple have is that they've parked their cash in a location where no tax is paid - US considers it to be in Ireland so they won't tax it until it comes back into the US while Ireland consider it to be "stateless" so isn't taxed in Ireland. Basically to use the money Apple will need to pay the normal tax on it except they seem to be holding out for the US treasury to annouce a special amnesty to all US companies to repatriate overseas captial without having to pay (the full) tax .... probably wrapped up as a "helping US companies bring overseas money back to invest in US jobs" measure or something like that -- they did this once before so everyone like Apple etc is assuming they'll do it again. And in the meantime they can use the cash pile as collateral to raise enourmous money on bonds at low interest (because if necessary they could redeem all the bonds with the 70% of the Irish cash pile that would be left if they pulled it back to the US and paid tax)
"As I recall one of the problems Apple have is if they try to bring the cash back into the US they'll be hit with something like 30% tax so effectively they have this huge cash pile showing up as profit but they can't use it for anything."
That's not a problem: you just bring the cash into the US and pay the 30% tax and then use the other 70% for stuff you want to do. I see no difficulties.
"If, as Apple have claimed, they have already paid tax on this income earned in other territories, why does the US feel it has any kind of entitlement to 35% of it?"
Well, aside from any logic, it is consistent with other rulings on tax in the US.
I have some sympathy with this approach: if you are a UK subject, for example, you pay UK income tax and if you are resident in France then you obey French law. That will have disadvantages, sure, but what's the logic of not doing so? Do we say that when we're in another country that we don't have to obey the law? Or that if we make a billion quid we don't have to pay tax on it if we're paid the cash while on holiday?
I'm sorry, but I can't see your point. As far as I can see, Apple have said that this income has already been taxed where it was earned. I'm questioning the law, why does the US Federal Government think that it has a right to tax money not made in the US? The law is wrong, and Apple (of for that matter if your ideological view support Google) were right to point this out. Under US federal law, they aren't doing anything unlawful. They simply do not have to repatriate the cash.
As a UK subject that has lived and worked in France, I paid income tax in the state where I resided (France). I didn't pay a single penny of income tax in the UK as it wasn't earned there, neither was I required to. Why should I?
"I'm questioning the law, why does the US Federal Government think that it has a right to tax money not made in the US? "
They have, or take, the right to tax the income of their citizens; what real relevance is it where the income started? What matters is that it's income of a USian.
"Exactly. I mean they'd *only* be left with erm $70 billion so well that would leave them a bit short..."
That's got nothing to do with anything whatsoever. The point is that the US government isn't entitled to a single cent of money that was made outside of it's borders. Doesn't matter if it is $10 or if it is $100 billion.
Tell that to the US IRS - if you are a USA citizen and earning money anywhere in the world they'll try and tax you, less any credit that may (or may not) accrue if you've already paid tax in a country which has a tax treaty with the USA.
Theoretically it's possible to end up with a 100+% overall tax rate.
"What I don't understand (tax issues aside) is why the shareholders don't demand a goodly-sized cut of the $100bn cash reserve as a dividend?"
Because the shareholders didn't buy the shares for the dividend, they bought the shares in expectation of a rising stock price. They're not investors, they're speculators, and that $100 billion cash pile actually does more to boost the stock price when it's off-shore and untaxed, than it would if it was turned into a $70billion on-shore cash pile, and was available to pay dividends.
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