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Comment: Re:Good for them (Score 4, Interesting) 158

by skegg (#48363805) Attached to: Apple's Luxembourg Tax Deals

Up until about a decade or so ago in Australia, some clever private individuals established companies and worked their 9 - 5 job through the company, enjoying much lower tax rates and other such benefits of corporate law (shifting losses to other years, etc).

The Australian Tax Office stepped-in and declared if you look like a private individual, walk like a private individual and quack like a private individual ... you're a private individual and will pay tax at the appropriate rate. You'll also receive a fine for trying to be clever.

So clearly, the government is able to crack down on those who try to be clever and follow the LETTER of the law but not the SPIRIT of the law. Unfortunately, the government is very SELECTIVE when deciding where to act.

Comment: Re:Simple fix (Score 1) 158

by skegg (#48363711) Attached to: Apple's Luxembourg Tax Deals

Knowing that the tax laws allow large corporations to get a refund of prior year taxes when they have a loss I asked my accountant about it. His response was that it would cost far more to file the paperwork than what the refund would be.

This here is the real zinger.

Almost everything that these large corporations do which results in them realising such lower effective tax rates -- lower than small businesses, and lower than even lowly paid employees -- is LEGAL, however EXPENSIVE to achieve.

Let's say the professional advice, off-shore entities, and expenses for submitting paperwork to government departments costs a million dollars a year (I plucked that number out of the air): a company would need revenue many times that to make it worth all the effort. So existing laws -- which make such behaviour legal -- favour larger corporations.

It's the same with family trusts in Australia: they're legal financial instruments that "coincidentally" allow people to decimate their income tax obligations. Unfortunately, they're also a little costly to establish and maintain, so only wealthy people end-up using them.

NONE of these laws are by chance ... I believe they're DELIBERATELY DESIGNED to benefit the wealthy.

Comment: Re:Welcome to 1970, China! (Score 1) 109

by skegg (#48285995) Attached to: China Completes Its First Lunar Return Mission

Wrong: the specs are still present, and much of the institutional knowledge is still present.

What the US lacks is the financial will however, rest-assured that both the US and Russia could hop back into the space race whenever they chose. It would hurt financially, but they could do it.

These countries are choosing not to spend as much on space programmes as they once did. Back against the wall, they could switch priorities.

I wish people would stop playing-out their fantasy that former world leaders (US, UK, Russia, France) are wounded giants with buzzards surrounding them ... they pack a mean punch and will continue to for some time.

Comment: Re:It's sad (Score 1) 427

by skegg (#48023287) Attached to: Google To Require As Many As 20 of Its Apps Preinstalled On Android Devices

I agree: Google is outright "aggressive" when attempting to capture user data.

And they employ numerous techniques:
    - persistent nagging - incessantly asking for additional data/permissions despite consistently declined in the past
    - trying to capitalise on user error - making it easy to sign-up for services you don't actually want (convert to Google+)
    - and now, forcing manufacturers to add services many people don't actually want (why do we have app stores, anyway, if apps are pre-loaded?)
    - making permissions generic - allowing more aggressive apps to be waved through
    - not allowing granular permissions - anyone remember this?

Comment: Re:Sure (Score 4, Insightful) 500

by skegg (#46350659) Attached to: Supreme Court Ruling Relaxes Warrant Requirements For Home Searches

Good point. And thankfully, litigation is completely free and fair.

You don't need to spend thousands on a lawyer. Nor do you have to take time off work to meet with said lawyer and go to court.
Plus, you're guaranteed to get an equitable judge; one who isn't on a first-name-basis with representatives of the police department.

I wish I lived in your world ...

Comment: Re:Sensitive information? (Score 1) 152

As for the other info, I fail to see how my wedding date, educational history, etc. would be particularly useful to a killer.

The day after your wedding anniversary, your assassin could ask your wife what type of flowers you bought her and where you took her for dinner.

She'd become so irate that you forgot the anniversary that she'd do the job for him.

Comment: Re:Well yeah (Score 3, Insightful) 127

by skegg (#45911381) Attached to: Pirate Bay Founder's Custody Extended to February 5th

no, they just locked him up alone

And you're being particularly obtuse. Solitary confinement has historically been used as a way of punishing prisoners, and only ever for short periods.
X0563511 is correct: the state should foot the bill of posting a guard at his door.

Further reading: Solitary Confinement
The opening paragraph says it all.

Comment: Re:There must be a very good reason... (Score 1) 579

by skegg (#45792115) Attached to: Utilities Fight Back Against Solar Energy

As a Sydney (NSW, Australia) resident, I wish our electricity prices ONLY rose 33% over 3 years.
Electricity prices here have DOUBLED in the past 5 years.

"Electricity prices have more than doubled over the past five years according to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal"

Comment: Re:From Italy, yes, otherwise... (Score 1) 236

by skegg (#45784005) Attached to: Italy Approves 'Google Tax' On Internet Companies

I don't think the distinction between avoidance & evasion is lost on most of us here on Slashdot.

However, what we ARE is pleased that Google "avoiding" paying tax on billions of Euro will now be considered Google "evading" paying tax on billions of Euro.

As was summed-up so nicely by First Post: loophole closed.
(After too many years !)

Save gas, don't use the shell.