Thursday, August 16, 2018

Who wants to be Apple's landlord?

If you've got $200, that's all it takes:
US tech giant Apple became the first company to reach an historic $1 trillion in market capitalization recently, but it still doesn’t like paying more taxes, according to recent reports. Apple has been at odds with California’s Santa Clara County over the value of its property. As the local newspaper San Francisco Chronicle reports, Apple evaluates a cluster of properties around its brand-new Apple Park at just $200. Santa Clara County's tax assessor says the properties are worth $1 billion.

In California, businesses and individuals pay a property tax. It is calculated according to the value of the land and the buildings on it. Since 2004, Apple has appealed tax assessments in Santa Clara County 489 times. In total, according to the newspaper’s report, the tech giant has disputed taxes on $8.5 billion in property value. Apple is the largest taxpayer in the county, paying $56 million in tax year 2017-18.
It's a problem that is easily solved with a state law. If a publicly traded corporation values its property at a certain amount, then anyone can purchase it for three times that amount.

Apple really is an awful company.



Blogger Al K. Annossow August 16, 2018 6:14 PM  

Tech calling in its markers from the Lefties?

Blogger S1AL August 16, 2018 6:25 PM  

Teddy was right.

Blogger Pierre August 16, 2018 6:27 PM  

If the whole thing were to, say, burn down to the ground, insurance would only pay Apple $200?

Blogger Unknown August 16, 2018 6:28 PM  

Apple and Google are always swapping the lead for worst tech company.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash August 16, 2018 6:34 PM  

I believe the property is undeveloped.

Blogger Daniel Babylon August 16, 2018 6:39 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Nate73 August 16, 2018 7:00 PM  

I was just thinking today about that quote, not sure who said it, that Apple made Jail cool!

Blogger Dark Herald August 16, 2018 7:02 PM  

Hell, I wish my property was being assessed at $200.

Blogger tz August 16, 2018 7:12 PM  

Eminent Domain.
Seize the land for a minature golf course (think CAddy Shack 2), and send Apple a check for $200, and they can build their Mordor spaceship elsewhere.

Blogger tz August 16, 2018 7:16 PM  

Make sure which buildings then go Molotov on them and let their insurance issue a check for $200.

Blogger tz August 16, 2018 7:19 PM  

Are they using green energy by putting big magnets on Steve Jobs corpse while he turns in his grave?

There is a worm in the Apple, but it will take time to turn.

Too many cooks spoil the broth, in this case Tim is one too many.

Blogger Unknown August 16, 2018 7:32 PM  

I think the process should work like this:

The property's value is estimated for tax purposes by the government. After that, the property owner either pays the tax based on estimated value, or returns a counter-valuation, which it agrees to sell at. If a third party offers to buy at that value, they can choose to sell or not, but whoever owns the property going forward must pay taxes based on that valuation.

Blogger Josh (the sexiest thing here) August 16, 2018 7:36 PM  

Taxation is theft

Blogger Ominous Cowherd August 16, 2018 7:37 PM  

@12 Mace, I like your proposal, but would add that any tax assessment should be treated as a binding offer to purchase.

Blogger Unknown August 16, 2018 7:45 PM  

@13 There's some case to be made along those lines. Why should someone who builds a factory be taxed for adding value to the community? For providing opportunity? But what about the land? The value of the land comes from the community. The privilege of monopolizing the land should be compensated to the community that has to forego it as a result.

Property taxes in California are all fucked up due to Proposition 13, which was passed (supposedly) to give relief to California property owners. The result is a byzantine system that offers huge payouts to long-time owners, and all sorts of perverse incentives. What they should have done, and what everyone in fact should do everywhere is gradually remove the portion of the tax that falls on improvements, and increase the portion that falls on land as close as practically possible to 100%.

Blogger Feather Blade August 16, 2018 7:47 PM  

And here I didn't realize you could appeal a tax valuation. I thought the assessment was made by how many square feet you owned and how it was zoned.

Learn something new every day. /sarc

Blogger tz August 16, 2018 7:55 PM  

Taxation is rent.
People have spent their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor. Their blood sweat and tears. Their time talent and treasure. Just to make a NATION have liberty. I'm prefectly happy to give those, or their estates ALLODIAL title to the land - why do you think that planting a vegetable garden superceeds leaving your blood or body parts in a fight against the barbarians even in the Lockean sense?

To the victor goes the spoils, and those who have lost lives, limbs, fortunes, and/or blood in the battle for a piece of land own it in a way you can't imagine, much less think of participating in.

THEY own the land, and if you wish to rent it, you must pay the rent. We use the word "taxes" to describe what you owe to those who fought for your life and liberty and the very property you claim.

Blogger tz August 16, 2018 7:56 PM  

People who live in glass corporate headquarters shouldn't annoy those who would throw more than stones.

Blogger Brett baker August 16, 2018 8:21 PM  

Music, Video games, SFF, book publishing, comics, and now land reform. Is there any field the SDL won't dominate?

Blogger Brett baker August 16, 2018 8:21 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Josh (the sexiest thing here) August 16, 2018 8:29 PM  

THEY own the land, and if you wish to rent it, you must pay the rent. We use the word "taxes" to describe what you owe to those who fought for your life and liberty and the very property you claim.

All of those people are long dead.

Also, you're a communist.

Blogger Quadko August 16, 2018 8:38 PM  

Eminent domain made us laugh at work. Or how about SEC and responsibility to shareholders? If someone offered 400 or 2000 or 20000, when does not taking the offer count as actionable negligence to turn 200 into 10x etc profit?

Blogger Servant August 16, 2018 8:46 PM  

Property tax is an insidious evil as all taxes on wealth are. I get where you're coming from and your point but I just can't be bothered about a Californian government getting bent over. Anything tipping the scales towards local government collapse is a net positive.

But yeah fuck apple too.

Blogger Guitar Man August 16, 2018 8:58 PM  

Apple sucks. California sucks. And they are both gay.

Blogger Gen. Kong August 16, 2018 9:02 PM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:


I believe the property is undeveloped.

Since it's just undeveloped wasteland, perhaps Santa Clara Country can make a deal with the nearby city of San Franshitsko to construct some nice open-air latrines for all the homeless opiodpods to come and take a collective dump. Wonder what Timmy would think of that on a nice balmy day?

Blogger Robert What? August 16, 2018 9:03 PM  

Converged companies like Apple think that Americans need to pay more taxes. Not Apple of course, just us.

Blogger David The Good August 16, 2018 9:03 PM  

They really mucked up the 2017 laptop keyboards - I still do much of my writing on my older model despite owning a newer one. They also screwed up by switching to USB/c. All your external USB stuff now needs an adapter. Just leave good enough alone - and please give me a nice, clicky keyboard over a super-breakable silent one.

Blogger S1AL August 16, 2018 9:06 PM  

"All of those people are long dead.

Also, you're a communist."

Now, now, that's just uncalled-for...

I'm fairly certain he's a *national* socialist.

Blogger Josh (the sexiest thing here) August 16, 2018 9:30 PM  

I'm fairly certain he's a *national* socialist.

Socialism in one country?

Blogger Mr. Bee August 16, 2018 9:33 PM  

Apple and the rest of the digital robber barons could have diversified their company's locations, like big companies used to do, instead of concentrating the lion's share on the central Californian coast. That, however, wouldn't served the ego and control tendencies of it's corporate management. Subsequently, the San Francisco to San Jose strip is pretty much the most expensive real estate in the country - excepting the small enclaves of the super rich. When, not if, the software technology curve flatlines there's going to be a real estate bust there which will make 2008 look like hiccup.

Blogger Ken Prescott August 16, 2018 10:41 PM  

When, not if, the software technology curve flatlines there's going to be a real estate bust there which will make 2008 look like hiccup.

California's real estate moguls (the REAL power in Sacramento) slagged the entire S&L business sector nationwide in the 1982-1996 period to prevent that.

They rode out 2008 just fine because they passed the problem on to everyone else.

If tech implodes, they'll kick off the Greatest Depression--worldwide--before they give up one cent of asset valuation.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine August 16, 2018 10:46 PM  

"Socialism in one country?"

Exactly, all the better to group-hug their neighbors into oblivion in proper imperial style.

Blogger Expendable Faceless Minion August 16, 2018 10:58 PM  

Property taxes are Rent. Pay your rent on time or the real owner (gov't) will evict you and lease the land/buildings to someone else.

Blogger tz August 16, 2018 11:08 PM  

The Apple HQ is in the shape of a ring and I so want to see if there are "fire runes".

Blogger Lurker August 16, 2018 11:37 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Lurker August 16, 2018 11:40 PM  

"All your external USB stuff now needs an adapter."

Speaking of which...

Blogger Sherwood family August 17, 2018 12:32 AM  

OT: Maybe I missed it but what is up with the Castalia House blog? I have not been able to access it for 10 days. Maybe my browser is out of date or something?

Blogger Lance E August 17, 2018 12:46 AM  

Why three times? I've always thought that individuals and corporations should be able to assign valuations to their own property for tax purposes, with said valuation also counting as an offer to sell at that exact price. Really, really like your house? That's fine, just overvalue it and pay a little extra tax.

It would also help solve a lot of the bullshit housing bubbles where competing buyers bid up prices to obscene amounts. If market price were pegged to list price, most of the parasitism in the industry would disappear overnight.

Blogger SciVo August 17, 2018 1:43 AM  

OT(?): Don Surber explains why China's retaliatory tariffs didn't work: "Here's the problem, we buy roughly $500 billion of their stuff. They buy only $125 billion or so of our stuff. We have four times as much to tariff as they do."

It really isn't rocket surgery.

Blogger Unknown August 17, 2018 1:52 AM  

Taxation is theft

Blogger Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. August 17, 2018 2:45 AM  

voice of god WTF

Blogger Ron August 17, 2018 3:53 AM  

Faggotry, like women, ruins everything

Blogger dvdivx August 17, 2018 11:36 AM  

If they are wanting more tax then just take the property using eminent domain, pay Apple $200 then charge rent
Considering the massive bill for retired government workers they may have to get more aggressive. Only an idiot would live there or have a business there.

Blogger Anthony August 17, 2018 11:57 AM  

So all y'all talking about California property tax need to understand how we do it here. Since Prop 13 forty-some years ago, when property is sold, it reassesses to the sale price when the sale is recorded. The maximum allowed reassessment is 2% per year above the sale price.

If you improve the property, the money you spent on the improvements is added to the assessment. If something let's the value of the property, like a fire, a landslide, etc it's reassessed for the value after the loss. If the market price falls below the assessed value, it's reassessed. However, it's rare that market conditions will do that, because real estate generally rises faster than 2% per year.

Mostly true example: last I meet bought a house in Oakland for $200k. Six years later, it's worth $500k. But the assessed value is only $225, so her property taxes after the crash only go down if there assessor thinks it's worth less than $225k.

San Francisco county saw its total property tax assessment and revenue go *up* in 2008-9 because so many properties had low assessments. It also means Grandma doesn't get forced out of her house because she can't afford the property taxes - prices can double or more over a few years, which would clobber most people.

That said, there's no way that Apple bought any parcel in Santa Clara County for $200 since Apple was founded. They're probably playing some accounting scas where they bought a bundle of assets and put fake values on the individual bits for tax reasons.

Trivia - the average single family house in SCCo *increased in value* $200k last year. That's more than most people make, even in silicon valley.

Blogger RobertT August 17, 2018 12:34 PM  

"Apple really is an awful company."

I don't think avoiding tax legally makes a company awful. That's SJW territory. If it's not illegal, it's legal. If our government is stupid enough to create tax law that is easily avoided, that's the government's problem, not the taxpayer's. And the legislatures do that every day of the week. The issue is long solved (Judge Learned Hand) that everyone has the right to arrange his affairs to pay the least amount of income tax (or other) tax possible. The tax code all by itself is reportedly 77,000 pages long. Add in litigated results, revprocs, etc. and you are probably up to 250,000 pages. In the resulting matrix, there are hundreds of thousands of anomalies, differences, inconsistencies, yadda, yadda, that an accomplished tax strategist can farm for tax strategies that cut tax way beyond what the average business taxpayer pays. That accomplished professional has an obligation to insure clients don't pay more tax than the law requires. This is beyond the skills of most tax professionals, but if you are capable, that's where you have to go.

Blogger Lance E August 17, 2018 1:33 PM  

RobertT wrote:I don't think avoiding tax legally makes a company awful.

Really? So as long as you follow the letter of the law, you're automatically a good person/company? If you exploit loopholes with intent to flim-flam the local communities, that's clearly the government's fault?

Blogger Jeremiah Alphonsus August 17, 2018 2:03 PM  

The Apple iPhone calendar helpfully informs me that August 20 is a holiday called Aid al-Adha, September 10 is Rosh Hashanah, September 19 is Yom Kippur, September 20 is Ashura, November 7 is Diwali, December 3 is Hanukkah, and December 26 is Kwanzaa.

Yet it said nothing about August 15, for example, being the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin.

We still get a mention of Christmas, however. But, as the foreign invasion continues, for how much longer?

Blogger Unknown August 17, 2018 11:11 PM  

Property taxes are MOB payments. Not only do you not own your own property, you pay for the property that you’ll never own under the false advertisement of ownership, and then pay the MOB just for the privilege to dwell on the property that you’ll never own that you paid for under the false advertisement of ownership. And if you don’t pay, they use the threat of violence to kidnap you and/or collect from you.

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