Monday, April 30, 2012

Smart Business, Poor PR 

The New York Times published an article yesterday on Apple's payment of taxes -- non-payment, that is.  It is summarized here.    From a business perspective, what Apple is doing is smart.  No business should pay one dollar more of taxes than it must.  Its fiduciary duty to shareholders is to earn income, not pay taxes that reduce it.  So, Apple's accountants have found a number of legitimate ways to avoid taxation.  Bully for them.  On the other hand, at a time of constrained Federal and state revenues, avoiding taxation looks bad.  Citizens who are not shareholders, employees or vendors of Apple demand that Apple pay its fair share.  There is no middle ground between these views.  Corporations as economic entities are not patriotic.  They don't owe allegiance to any country or political system.  They go where they can conduct economic exchanges and produce revenue.  From a PR perspective, they look selfish.  And, they are, but that is what they are supposed to be.  They just have to get used to articles like that in yesterday's Times.


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