GLOBAL TECH WRAP: Heat on Apple over tiny Aussie tax contribution

Apple has drawn political heat across the Tasman after making a tiny tax contribution. AFR notes Apple increased revenues for its Australian operation from $A4.9 billion in FY11 to $A6 billion in FY12. But it claimed net profits fell to $A58.5 million in the same period, resulting in a tax bill of $A40 million.

Clayton Utz partner Niv Tadmore, a member of the Australian, government task force investigating how companies minimise their tax, told the paper, “The taxation base is being eroded by e-commerce and internet trade. What they’re doing may be 100 per cent fine under current laws, but the question governments are asking themselves is whether they should change the laws to capture more [tax]. The best approach would be a consistent and co-ordinated approach by international governments . . . but historically agreement with more than two countries is difficult.”

Apple is due to file its 2012 NZ result with the Companies Office.

Last year, Apple said it had revenue of $413.5 million in NZ. It paid tax of $5.14 million and reported an after-tax profit of $9.27 million.

Last week, Apple reported record global revenue of $US54 billion for its fourth quarter of 2012, and a record profit of  $US13.5 billion for the period.

Google and Facebook's NZ operations both reported a loss last year. The companies both book some NZ revenue to subsidiaries incorporated in Ireland.

Apple has released iOS 6.1, the latest free upgrade to the software that runs iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Its headline features - wider support for LTE or 4G fast mobile connections, plus the ability to buy movie tickets via the Siri voice assistant - are not applicable to NZ, however. There is one universal tweak: iTunes Match subscribers can now download individual songs from iCloud.

The company has also made it easier to find the option to limit Ad Tracking - or how much information advertisers can collect about you as you use your iPhone (already limited to general, anonymous information rather than unique identifiers; see Ars Technica explanation here).

Whether it catches on for porn is a test of whether any new technology passes muster.

Necomer Vine lets you post six second videos to Twitter or Facebook (as with the Twitter 140 character limit, six seconds is all you're allowed - although you can loop footage).

Given that brevity, NBR did not think Vine porn would appeal to even the most previous of gentlemen.

And yet, Vine porn has emerged - as highlighted by The Verge after an X-rated clip was given an "Editor's Choice." Vine is now restricting searches.

Meanwhile, Facebook has responded to Vine (recently bought by Twitter) by adding video updates to the Facebook iOS app.

Looking at the new iOS 6.1 (above) 9to5 Mac says its likely a 128GB iPad is on the way; that is, an Apple tablet that's more-or-less the same as the current model but offers twice the storage as the current top model.

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2 Comments & Questions

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Apple only ever cares about Apple. Minimise tax, maximise profits. Have a think about when was the last time (or even the first time!) that you saw Apple sponsor an event. Anything? I watch plenty of sport, with Samsung sponsorship evident at tennis, motorsport, multisport, etc. Support the companies that support your community and interests!

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Apple is no different than any other global corporate out there when it comes to minimising their tax burden. They like many other companies simply do what the various country taxation laws allow them to do.

Btw...Not sure what that has to do with sponsoring any sort of event though...?

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