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Apple profit up, still pays zero tax in NZ

Nz Herald
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

DOCUMENTS filed with the Companies Office show Apple has increased its pre-tax profit from $NZ9.5 million ($F13m) to $NZ29.7m ($F43m).

The company's overall revenue shot up from $NZ744m ($F1.1 billion) in 2016 to $NZ811m ($F1.2b) in 2017.

Despite this increase in revenue, the local tax authority has not received a bump in payment from the consumer electronics company.

A report by the Herald in late 2017 revealed Apple paid no income tax to Inland Revenue over the past decade despite selling billions of dollars worth of iPhones and iPads to New Zealanders. While the latest statement shows Apple paid $NZ10m ($F14m) in income tax, it's understood that this was again paid to the Australian tax office.

The Australian company tax rate for businesses earning over $NZ10m ($F14m) is 30 per cent, and this corresponds with the amount of tax Apple reported in its financial statements.

In a statement previously issued from Australia, the multinational technology giant stressed it followed the law but did not directly address questions about the structuring of its New Zealand operations and the apparent lack of payments to Inland Revenue.

"Apple aims to be a force for good and we're proud of the contributions we've made in New Zealand over the past decade. Because our products and services are created, designed and engineered in the US, that's where the vast majority of our tax is paid," the spokesperson said.

While the tax policy doesn't break the law, senior lecturer at Massey University Deborah Russell questioned the company's tax contribution last year.

"They're operating completely legally: it's just that age-old distinction between legality and morality," she said at the time.

The government is taking steps in response to big multi-nationals side-stepping tax in the local market.

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