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Microsoft Avoids Washington State Taxes, Gives Nevada Schoolkid A Surface Laptop (seattletimes.com) 72

theodp writes: The Official Microsoft Blog hopes a letter from a Nevada middle schooler advising Microsoft President Brad Smith to "keep up the good work running that company" will "inspire you like it did us." Penned as part of a math teacher's assignment to write letters to the businesses that they like, Microsoft says the letter prompted Smith to visit the Nevada school to meet 7th-grader Sky Yi in person as part of the company's effort to draw attention to the importance of math and encourage students and teachers who are passionate about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. In an accompanying video of the surprise meeting, Smith presents Yi with a new Surface Laptop that comes with Windows 10 S, a version of the OS that has been streamlined with schools in mind. "Not bad for a little letter," the Microsoft exec says.

Speaking of Microsoft, Nevada, and education, Bing Maps coincidentally shows the school Smith visited is just a 43-minute drive from the software giant's Reno-based Americas Operations Center. According to the Seattle Times, routing sales through the Reno software-licensing office helps Microsoft minimize its tax bills (NV doesn't tax business income) to the detriment, some say, of Washington State public schools.

Microsoft's state and local taxes will drop to just $30 million for the last year (from an average of $214 milion over the previous 14 years) according to the Seattle Times. "A Microsoft spokesman said the decline in 2017 was caused by the company's deferring taxes on some income to future years and the winding down of the company's smartphone business."
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Microsoft Avoids Washington State Taxes, Gives Nevada Schoolkid A Surface Laptop

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  • ... for a personal income tax on everyone else in Washington State, so the rest of us can pick up the slack dropped by his former company.

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Saturday August 19, 2017 @06:14PM (#55049637)

      ... for a personal income tax on everyone else in Washington State, so the rest of us can pick up the slack dropped by his former company.

      Wrong Bill Gates. It was his dad, Bill Senior, that was behind the income tax initiative.

      Even though the tax fell only on people making $200k or more, it was voted down, because voters (likely correctly) figured that, once in place, it would eventually be extended to tax many more.

      • Wrong Bill Gates. It was his dad, Bill Senior, that was behind the income tax initiative.

        Confusing post. Do you mean his grandfather, Bill Senior, or his father, Bill Junior? The father of William Gates III is not William Gates Senior.

  • by mfh ( 56 ) on Saturday August 19, 2017 @05:58PM (#55049577) Homepage Journal

    Hey Tesla! Great work on pushing the electric car mandate forward like you have. Please continue to do awesome stuff.

    ((Crosses fingers))

  • by MangoCats ( 2757129 ) on Saturday August 19, 2017 @06:00PM (#55049587)

    Hell, sounds like a great strategy... I'll pay all my taxes starting in 2100, you can even accrue penalties and interest if you like, just let me continue about my business unimpeded in the meantime. I promise, I'm good for the balloon payment.

  • Next you'll expect them to be good citizens...

  • Except... (Score:3, Informative)

    by xlsior ( 524145 ) on Saturday August 19, 2017 @06:11PM (#55049623) Homepage
    ...Windows 10 S is not "a version of the OS that has been streamlined with schools in mind", it's really "a version of the OS that is artificially restricted from installing 'normal' windows programs outside the windows app store, forcing misguided customers who didn't know any better to shell out an additional $100 after the fact to upgrade to a 'normal' version of windows that's half-way usable"

    Windows 10S is Microsoft's attempt at becoming a walled garden gatekeeper like apple, skimming 30% of the top of any application purchase. They do NOT have your best interest at heart, not even in the slightest.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Because the ability to run software just slows down an ad platform.

  • Smith presents Yi with a new Surface Laptop

    Microsoft Surface Laptops and Tablets Not Recommended by Consumer Reports [consumerreports.org]

    The four laptops losing their previous recommended status are the Microsoft Surface Laptop (128GB and 256GB versions) and Microsoft Surface Book (128GB and 512GB versions). Microsoft is relatively new to the hardware business, and this is the first year CR had enough data to estimate predicted reliability for the company’s laptops.

    Microsoft’s estimated breakage rate for its laptops and tablets was higher than most other brands’. The differences were statistically significant, which is why Microsoft doesn’t meet CR’s standards for recommended products. The surveys are conducted annually.

    • Awesome idea! Avoid paying your taxes by disposing of hundreds upon hundreds of tons of toxic E-waste by giving it to children in Nevada to play with.
    • And? Still recommended by many others. The problem with the recommendation based only on breakage is that it ignores a very streamlined system for replacing broken items.

      *Posted from my second Surface Pro 3.

      • The problem with the recommendation based only on breakage is that it ignores a very streamlined system for replacing broken items.

        Who pays for e-waste disposal? I mean the whole cost.

        • Who cares about e-waste disposal?

          FTFY. Unless you're an employee of Greenpeace the odds of you actually looking up on e-waste policies or giving enough of a crap to even type e-waste into Google is close to 0%.

          But FYI, Surfaces devices are refurbished and either used in fast trades to replace other broken devices or sold through the Microsoft store at a discount. ... Depending on the level of damage of course.

  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Saturday August 19, 2017 @07:09PM (#55049839)
    The problem is the tax laws, not the companies taking advantage of them. Do you claim every and all deduction you can? Guess what, companies do the same. Do you pay an accountant $300 to convert your $2400 tax bill to $1200? Guess what, this is what companies do on a much larger scale.

    The solution is streamlining the tax laws to make it clear who pays and who doesn't.

    My solution? Members of congress, the president, and congressional staffers are not allowed to use any outside tax service to figure out their taxes. No Turbotax, no tax accountants. These assholes get to do their taxes, by hand, on paper. That will simplify the tax code overnight in under a year.

    Don't even get me started on Wisconsin and Foxconn. That right there is some truly retarded bullshit.
    • by JBMcB ( 73720 )

      How about this, charge corporate tax at the point of use instead of the point of production, which can be moved nearly anywhere. This is, essentially, what VAT is. A lot of people don't like it but it's really the only way to prevent these kinds of shenanigans. Get rid of corporate and personal income tax, do a reverse income tax for the poor, and slap a VAT on everything sold. It would be a pain to set up, but once done it would be *far* easier to maintain than the convoluted mess we have now.

      • By "pain", you mean "illegal under the terms of the Constitution". I quite agree that something approximating a federal sales tax would greatly simplify matters, but such a thing isn't possible without both amending the Constitution and substantially changing the relationship between the federal and state governments.

        • Why wouldn't a national sales tax fall under "regulating interstate commerce" like pretty much everything else the federal government does?

          • Because all of those other areas have at least a pretense of interstate activity. With product sales, however, too many of them are done entirely intrastate, particularly once you start getting to the places like California, Florida, and Texas that can grow their own food and have fairly self-sufficient markets. There's no way to establish a pretense of intrastate activity with those sorts of things.

      • by Koby77 ( 992785 )
        I thought most of Europe was operating from a VAT tax, and yet several EU countries are complaining that several tech companies are avoiding taxes?

        Examples:
        https://9to5mac.com/2017/07/04... [9to5mac.com]
        https://www.nytimes.com/2017/0... [nytimes.com]

        It seems to me that even if you introduce a VAT tax, that the government can't resist other forms of taxation as well. A VAT tax just becomes a second tax, and the complaints continue. I would personally like to see a switch to a consumption-based VAT tax if all other forms of taxa
        • by JBMcB ( 73720 )

          Because they have a VAT AND a relatively high corporate income tax. The Scandinavian countries, which generally don't have this problem, have a corporate income tax in the mid 20% range. France, which DOES have this problem, has a corporate income tax rate of 33%. For comparison, the top US corporate income tax rate is 39%.

  • "...Gives Nevada Schoolkid A Surface Laptop"

    Who the fuck cares except the MS shill who posted this?

  • "Hang onto that laptop kid. That's the very one that Bill Belichik threw in the garbage during an NFL game. Should be worth a tidy sum one day."
  • Reminds me of the beater I used to drive.

    (Oblig. bad car analogy)

  • > new Surface Laptop that comes with Windows 10 S

    He should have kept the piece of paper, at least it doesn't require that you buy a pen from Microsoft to write on it.

  • Tax individuals who make up the company. People choose to live in a place for many reasons besides taxes, so mass evasion is less likely. See how many choose to in CA? If you use money wisely and create a nice place to live, that's more important than take home pay to many.

    For companies it's just business. They shift operations in whichever way is optimum for shareholders. But the process is wasteful and hurts economy / employment in general and in US in particular.

  • Why would Microsoft do that to the poor kid?

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.

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