Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Says Tech Giant Should Pay 50% Tax

Apple tax steve wozniak
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak speaks during the South Summit in Madrid, Spain, October 7. Wozniak believes Apple should be paying the same tax rates as individuals. REUTERS/ Juan Medina

Apple is not paying its fair share of tax, according to the company's co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Apple and other major technology firms—including Google, Amazon and Facebook—have faced criticism for using tax shelters to avoid paying high rates of tax.

In an interview with the BBC, Wozniak said Apple should be paying the same tax rate as high-earning individuals. The U.S. technology giant was recently ordered to pay $348 million to Italian tax authorities following a two-year fraud investigation. Prosecutors in the case said it highlighted the issue of corporate tax avoidance and could form an important precedent in other E.U. countries.

"I don't like the idea that Apple might be unfair—not paying taxes the way I do as a person," Wozniak said. "I do a lot of work, I do a lot of travel and I pay over 50 percent of anything I make in taxes and I believe that's part of life and you should do it.

"Any company that is a public company, its shareholders are going to force it to be as profitable as possible and that means financial people studying all the laws of the world and figuring out all the schemes that work that are technically legal. They're technically legal and it bothers me and I would not live my life that way."

Wozniak, who founded Apple with Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne in 1976, levelled criticism against the company last month, saying he did not recognize the company he had built.

In a Reddit AMA (ask me anything), Wozniak said the Apple Watch had taken Apple away from technology and into jewelry in the way it has been launched and marketed.

Wozniak said: "I worry a little bit about—I mean I love my Apple Watch, but—it's taken us into a jewelry market where you're going to buy a watch between $500 or $1,000 based on how important you think you are as a person."