Google and Microsoft

I spent most of the weekend reading up on the “fiscal cliff” situation in Congress right now. It amazes me how countless hours of media coverage are devoted to an issue which can be summed up fairly succinctly: corporations need to pay more taxes. But probably won’t because, unlike people, they play golf and fuck hookers with our elected officials. Yeah, they’re buddies.

American news coverage is distinctly oblivious to everything going on outside this country. We act like we’re the only ones dealing with this situation. In fact we should be paying very close attention to what’s going on financially in other countries. Take Britain for example. Because, if we don’t force them to pay more they won’t. In fact they’ll probably get away with paying less or nothing. Like fucking Google.

“The American internet giant, whose company motto is “Don’t be Evil”, swept $9.8bn of revenues from international subsidiaries into Bermuda last year. The figure, which is equates to around 80pc of its total pre-tax profits, is nearly twice as big as it was three years ago,according to Bloomberg.

The documents, filed last month in the Netherlands, show that Britain is Google’s second biggest market generating 11pc of its sales, or $4.1bn last year. But the company paid just £6m in corporation tax. Overall, Google paid a rate of 3.2pc on its overseas earnings, despite generating most of its revenues in high-tax jurisdictions in Europe.

The company reportedly uses complex tax schemes called the Double Irish and Dutch Sandwich, which take large royalty payments from international subsidiaries and pay tax in low rate regimes.“ – THE TELEGRAPH

If I don’t pay my taxes I get the working end of a shit sandwich shoved down my throat. I don’t have any Double Irishmen or Dutch Sandwiches… whatever the hell those are. Just call them what they are: Lies and Sneakiness. Of course it would help if I had an army of lawyers and accountants working for me day and night looking for ways to get away with shit. And a catchy motto that gives the impression I’m somehow benign. “Don’t be evil” indeed. Hey, my own personal motto is “Don’t drink, illegally download movies or engage in acts of depravity”. And nobody buys that one either.

But, in the business world it’s a different culture than the one you and I live in. There, getting away with shit is up there with fooling people into buying crap they don’t need as legitimate marks of success. The people at Google are probably toasting each other with champagne and high-fiving. Of course if they’re happy at Google then they must be downright semen-spewingly ecstatic over at Microsoft.

“At the weekend it emerged that Microsoft pays no UK tax on £1.7bn of online revenues. Although it pays full corporation tax on its other units, the US technology group is understood to be channelling online payments for its Windows 8 operating system and other downloads of software through Luxembourg and Ireland, where corporation tax is lower than the UK.

As a result, Microsoft’s Irish registered company, Microsoft Ireland Operations Ltd, reported £1.7bn of revenues from the UK on which the company has paid no UK corporation tax.

Microsoft has denied any wrongdoing in the US and said that it complies with tax laws.”

Oh, I’m sure Microsoft denied any wrongdoing. What are they going to do? Put out a press release with a picture of a middle finger on it? With the caption “Ha ha ha! Fuck you, limey idiots!” Of course not. Although let’s face it, we’d probably get a good chuckle if they did. And the honesty would be refreshing. Just like that year all my Christmas cards featured a photo of me with a hooker and the caption which said “Thanks for all the shit you gave me that I turned around and hocked so I could get laid!”

Truth be told, nobody chuckled. And I can tell you that none of my family members found my honesty refreshing. Which, in turn, completes my entire argument that it really kind of blows to be a person and not a corporation.



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