Friday, April 10, 2015

Global companies Google, Microsoft and Apple coming under the spotlight.

There's no doubt there's a lot of mileage to be gained by bashing the big companies like Google, Microsoft and Apple. Yes, they probably deserve it, but generally they comply with the law and aim to minimise their taxes. Even individuals can appreciate that strategy.

What I find interesting when reading the articles is that often we're purchasing from overseas, yet how often do we hear that prices are set because it's more expensive to do business in Australia. Sorry, you can't have it both ways.

One person I know had their Apple iPad shipped direct from China. Where's the price difference? It's not being delivered first to Australia and then to the client. Simply direct as it could be to any other country.

Microsoft charges Australians more for Office 365. Perhaps the pricing needs to be reconsidered since they're not paying the 30 cents corporate tax rate.

Google, and I have to be balanced here since I use their services, and in full disclosure get paid by them. I claim all income and pay the appropriate level of tax. However those paying for advertising to promote their business in Australia are buying a product from overseas. Those making money from publishing ads on their sites are being paid from overseas. Some I suspect won't be claiming that income.

All the time we have to keep in mind whilst the government makes mileage from this and how unfair it is, they are the biggest buyers of the services, hardware and software. Not happy, then go and buy your product elsewhere is what they should be doing.

We also need to keep in mind that we're told Australian companies, and in fact many major companies around the world play the same global tax game. Some of the companies are so big that you could really consider them global citizens, so if countries provide the mechanisms to minimise tax, then if people were in the same position, they'd probably do the same.

What it probably does mean is that our very complex tax system is failing. Hopefully in time all parties will find an appropriate solution to the problem. I'm sure there's an answer if the desire's there.

Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for IT support.

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