Apple is once again under fire in the UK for paying no taxes last year, even though the company earned £68 million (US$103 million) in the country. Apple got around paying UK taxes by offering employees £40 million worth of stock, which the company could then write off as a business expense, thus lowering its taxable income. The company has also carried a £3.8 million tax deduction forward for next year. It should be noted that Apple's tax activities are entirely legal, even though its moral and ethical implications leave a bad taste in the mouth.
Multinational corporations have increasingly come under fire in the UK and the rest of the EU. Companies like Starbucks, Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple are now receiving extreme scrutiny from government regulators over their unscrupulous, but apparently legal, tax practices. Many feel (including myself) that in an age of austerity where public budgets are being cut from almost every facet, it is not fair that companies are avoiding paying taxes on an estimated $21 to $32 trillion a year -- an amount that could effectively wipe out global poverty, global hunger and provide free education for every person on earth. Apple may make great products, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be held to the same standards as the individuals who buy its products.