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Taxes Lead Angry Birds Maker Rovio To Consider Move To Ireland

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the actually-it's-the-delicious-green-weather dept.

Businesses 626

jones_supa writes with this news, straight from The Irish Times: "Rovio, the Finnish company behind Angry Birds, is considering moving its headquarters to Ireland, chief executive Mikael Hed has said. Rovio employs approximately 400 people, mostly in Finland, but Rovio is in contact with IDA Ireland about establishing headquarters here. The reason for the move would be corporation tax rate, which in Finland is 24.5%, while Ireland's rate is 12.5%. Companies such as Google and Facebook have also set up European headquarter operations in Dublin for the same reason. Hed said that if the decision was made to move to Ireland, the company would then decide exactly what elements of its operations would move. 'If we did make that decision then it would be a natural thing to do to have some production [in Ireland] also.'"

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626 comments

Bono would agree. U2 is Irish... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275145)

...after having him suck his sticky semen off his wang. That man is smug. And U2 is Irish. Hardly counts as more than glam rock.

Re:Bono would agree. U2 is Irish... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275409)

Agreed, but Marilyn Manson is the only music star who can suck the semen off his wang. He had some ribs removed for this. If you have never tried sucking semen off your wang, give it a shot. It's not as easy as you think unless you have a large wang. And believe me, I know that Bono does not have a large wang. Trust me on this one.

MODERATORS! TERRORIST ATTACK!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275825)

mod parent up

What will the complaints be... (4, Interesting)

QQBoss (2527196) | about 2 years ago | (#40275157)

I wonder if they will approach the level of condemnation that Saverin received for giving up his USA citizenship first before the IPO?

Re:What will the complaints be... (2, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#40275535)

Well, the consumer will see the savings... I mean that is what the argument has been.
Except, I dont see the "savings". Hell, when oil goes down on the stock market, it has to be down for 2-3 days before we see the change at the pump.
Trickle down economics in deed...

Re:What will the complaints be... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275649)

" Hell, when oil goes down on the stock market, it has to be down for 2-3 days before we see the change at the pump.
Trickle down economics in deed..."

So you are saying you have no idea what the bolded part means.

Re:What will the complaints be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275707)

cost reductions *rarely* result in lower retail prices -- they *always* increase profits, though.

even drops in crude oil prices do not directly translate to lower prices at the pump. you first have to have one company decide to try to make quick profits by slightly undercutting their competition but that doesn't always happen or takes so long to come about that crude prices go back up

Re:What will the complaints be... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275755)

cost reductions *rarely* result in lower retail prices -- they *always* increase profits, though.

Increased profits result in increased competition.

Increased competition results in lower retail prices.

Re:What will the complaints be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275859)

That mechanism is incredibly slow and in most industries could only ever operate on a scale of many years. In infrastructure heavy industries like energy, it could take decades.

Rich people are most dependent on government (5, Insightful)

mozumder (178398) | about 2 years ago | (#40275619)

What is it with people that take advantage of the high social development afforded by higher tax rates only to run off to a low tax rate area when they become rich?

We really need to make sure people understand that ALL wealth comes from government. Government makes sure your employees are educated instead of brain-dead religious morons, that roads/trains/airports exist to deliver your products to customers, that the banks holding your money don't have disappearing bank accounts, and on and on.

None of this would have been possible without a government paid for by taxes.

The richer you are, the more dependent you are on government, as a larger portion of your wealth came about because government made it possible for you to be wealthy. You can't be rich in a libertarian paradise like Ireland or Somalia. Does anyone even know any rich Irishman? Do they even exist?

It seems people become libertarian AFTER they become rich, as they have the mistaken belief that they somehow made their wealth themselves. They have no idea the kind of infrastructure and work government put in to get that one dollar to travel into their hands in the first place. No, the wealthy didn't magically conjure up that dollar into their pockets.

People do what you incite them to do (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275161)

For better or for worse, betting on self-interest over altruism usually wins.

Re:People do what you incite them to do (5, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 2 years ago | (#40275345)

For better or for worse, betting on self-interest over altruism usually wins.

Don't bet on it yet. The government sponsored benefits in Finland are much better than in Ireland. If management (and possibly staff) move to Ireland with their families they'll be giving up things they take for granted at the moment. This could result in higher salaries and benefit costs. It may not rise to the 12.5% they'll be saving on corporate taxes on profits, but it will surely eat into it ... and affect their quality of life.

Re:People do what you incite them to do (5, Informative)

Shienarier (185368) | about 2 years ago | (#40275433)

I can attest to that. I lived in Ireland for six years. I'm now back in Scandinavia and is more then happy to pay my tax here again.

Re:People do what you incite them to do (1)

Jessified (1150003) | about 2 years ago | (#40275791)

Amen. Lower taxes often means lower services. I bet Nigeria has fairly low taxes, but I also bet most US companies wouldn't want to move there. Tax brackets are not the only factor affecting business profits, lets not forget that.

Re:People do what you incite them to do (4, Insightful)

pnewhook (788591) | about 2 years ago | (#40275861)

Canada has 15% corporate tax rate (http://www.canadabusinesstax.com/corporate-income-tax-rates/), 52 week combined maternity/parental leave, free health care, and federal pension plan.

There is no reason the US cannot provide the same level of benefits except for political bickering and the close to 2 billion *per day* the US spends on its military.

Re:People do what you incite them to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275807)

They probably do what the most outsourcing companies do and fire all the employees responsible for creating the product, move the headquarters to get the tax benefits, make convenient agreements with the local officials and politicians supporting the local football team or renovating of a church ceiling in return of an easier building permit process, and then hire new local employees on a half salary. You don't need innovation when you have IP.

Re:People do what you incite them to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275827)

Don't be a fool. They said "headquarters". That means a post office box in Dublin. Nothing more.

I work for a "Delaware" company, yet we have no offices, employees nor anything else there.

Re:People do what you incite them to do (2)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | about 2 years ago | (#40275873)

That does not work this way. They will not move, they will create a subsidary in Ireland (a "ghost company").

The Finnish company will sell Angry Birds and whatever they produce to the Irish ghost company, to the point of getting no profits (or even getting loses, if that gives them any advantage). The Irish ghost will then resell to the real customers, getting a tax cut.

Meanwhile the management of the company keeps enjoying finish welfare, at the expenses of their compatriotes.

Later on, probably they will complain about their country public deficit and how "politicians have ruined it".

Same problem here in the US (5, Insightful)

guises (2423402) | about 2 years ago | (#40275211)

State governments here in the US try to raise revenue by luring companies to set up shop in their states using tax incentives. The net result is a sort of tragedy of the commons - overall tax revenue is lower and even though politicians try and claim they're "creating jobs" they're really just stealing them from other states.

When governments (collective entities) try to act like businesses (competitive entities) it seldom works out. Usually only a few who are able to take advantage of the situation benefit.

Re:Same problem here in the US (4, Insightful)

SniperJoe (1984152) | about 2 years ago | (#40275333)

I would respectfully disagree. In certain cases, such as some of new automobile manufacturing facilities (Volkswagen in Chattanooga, TN, Kia in Georgia, etc.) they aren't causing a plant to move from one state to another, but encouraging the building of a new facility that wasn't previously existing in the US. Now, the potential argument could be that if they didn't build it in one state, they would simply build it in another, thus you wouldn't have a net increase overall, as it would be built regardless. However, the counterargument to the previous statement is that competition between states is providing a more attractive locale to building a manufacturing facility overall. Frankly, I'd rather have them say, "which state" than "which country." End result being more jobs for Americans.

Re:Same problem here in the US (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 2 years ago | (#40275585)

Jobs for Americans mean nothing if it's not a job for you and your friends. The US has added something like 2-3 million jobs in the last 3 years, but unless you go to the towns where those jobs were added, most people will say that there are no jobs to be had.

Re:Same problem here in the US (3, Informative)

Dynedain (141758) | about 2 years ago | (#40275789)

I'm glad you brought up automotive plants because there's a perfect example going on right now in that sector.

Chrysler is trying to close down plants in the steel belt and build new ones in South Carolina. South Carolina doesn't put them in a better position for acquiring materials, and it doesn't put them in a better place for delivering their product to the consumer. The reasons for the move are simple: 1) lower business taxes, fees, etc. 2) it lets GM break out of existing labor contracts with expensive tenured employees, replacing them with cheaper new-hires.

Another problem with your choice of example: those overseas manufacturers creating plants here for the US market are actually just brining back jobs we lost to them in the past as Americans started favoring foreign cars over domestic.

(speaking as an American with a 2-German-car household)

Re:Same problem here in the US (5, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | about 2 years ago | (#40275339)

Just another race to the bottom. Corporations are going to end up tax-exempt and we're all going to end up living in a Neo-Feudalistic society where instead of an aristocracy we've got C-levels and their retinues while national governments sputter out with less and less tax revenue coming in and become more and more irrelevant.

The saddest thing in all of this is, though, that there will be a sizable number of middle- and lower-class people out there cheering the shit, even as their own well-being is threatened directly by it. When you've got people in trailer parks arguing that taxes do nothing but punish success and cheering on the dismantling of the social programs they're actively using (such as Medicaid, welfare, public schools), you know that we're fucking doomed...

Re:Same problem here in the US (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 years ago | (#40275617)

The problem for you is that you want to tax corporations for no other reason to raise revenue for government tyrants, who then benefit you with their blessings in the form of things you should be willing and have to work for. Government cannot create private sector jobs. Period. They only thing government can do is take from the productive and give it to those that are not productive. And as nice as that sounds, it does nobody any good, other than career politicians who increase the public benefits and raise taxes to keep getting elected. Both the (R) and (D) do this, and I"m sure that other countries have their variations of the same thing.

If I had one opportunity to make a constitutional amendment, it would be to limit politicians to no more than 20 years of elected office, all levels combined (local, county, state, national), for their entire life. Anyone that has 20 years (or more) of elected office, cannot run or hold any elected office, ever. By eliminating career politicians, perhaps we might start looking at statesmen for public elected office.

Taxes are regressive, and politicians use them to curry favor and pay out benefits to keep getting elected.

Re:Same problem here in the US (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275745)

"Government cannot create private sector jobs" the military industrial complex disrespectfully disagrees.

Re:Same problem here in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275761)

If I were a special interest, I'd start a training program for "politicians" who would train for X years, then go for elected office hopefully for the full 20 years, after which they would come back to us with a cushy salary to train the next batch.

As for corporations, they don't pay taxes. Their customers and employees pay the taxes.

Re:Same problem here in the US (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about 2 years ago | (#40275793)

The problem for you is that you want to tax corporations for no other reason to raise revenue for government tyrants

Then be a goddamn citizen and start keeping tabs on your government.

who then benefit you with their blessings in the form of things you should be willing and have to work for.

Well, that's why we pay taxes, right? Or are you suggesting something else?

They only thing government can do is take from the productive and give it to those that are not productive.

Bullshit. You're saying the only purpose of government is to give money to the lazy?

What about public infrastructure?

Don't quite agree (4, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | about 2 years ago | (#40275347)

The real issue with states giving tax breaks to entice companies to move there isn't simply them "stealing jobs from other states rather than creating them".
The reason such measures usually fail is a state's failure to demand specific goals as part of the deal.

Time and time again, companies took advantage of huge tax breaks only to plunk down some sort of office or warehouse that doesn't actually hire more than a few dozen employees. That, or they may only stay as long as the tax break continues, uprooting the whole operation after the 3 or 5 year deal ends.

IMO, there's nothing inherently wrong with state trying to encourage businesses to set up shop within their borders. Even though we're a group of 50 United States, each one still competes with each other internally, much like corporations with multiple divisions often operate each division so it competes with the others.

The PROBLEM is, states need to get a clue about such deals, ensuring it's beneficial for both parties. (Most likely, corrupt politicians simply don't care, because they're getting some kind of kickback or garnering support they need by making the deals happen, at any cost to the citizenry of the state.) Any such arrangement should include contingencies, such as "You will lose the tax break AND owe back taxes from the time you moved here if you don't consistently keep X number of people employed, at wages no less than $Y per year." and "Moving out of the state for a period of 10 years from the time this tax break expires constitutes breach of contract, and again, is subject to back taxes."

A company who genuinely has a desire to move to the state (with a belief it really benefits them in the long-haul) would still gladly accept such an arrangement, IMO. The ones who complain it's too restrictive were likely just trying to milk the system to the state's detriment anyway.

Re:Don't quite agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275457)

Well put. The practice of tax competition should be illegal in the first place, but failing that it should be illegal for states to make deals with tax revenue that aren't in the state's best interest financially JUST AS, thanks to the Supreme Court, corporations are required by law to maximize profits.

Also, turnabout being fair play and all, there should be CRIMINAL penalties for corporations and, in particular personal criminal liability for officers and executives, where evasion of these agreements is deliberate and pre-meditated rather than merely technical fine-print stuff. Before anybody points out that this is a civil matter, I would ask that you consider that corporations want criminal penalties for copyright violation among other things.

Finally, and this is the hard part because politicians these days are as unethical and as much of a useless waste of oxygen as CEOs, the proper response to a company threatening to move over tax issues should be to not let the door hit you on the way out. It is time to end corporate bullying and these tax breaks that end up costing the public a ridiculous amount of money per "job created"--in a lot of cases far exceeding what those workers get paid.

Re:Don't quite agree (1)

ifwm (687373) | about 2 years ago | (#40275705)

JUST AS, thanks to the Supreme Court, corporations are required by law to maximize profits.

That's wrong.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the business has to act in the best interest of the shareholder which has been interpreted to mean, in general, pursuing profit, since profit is an easy proxy for business success. There has not ever been any SC ruling stating that a company MUST pursue profit above all else, and if your company could forward a legitimate argument that profit was not your primary goal as a company, you may have a case.

Re:Don't quite agree (5, Interesting)

Bill Dimm (463823) | about 2 years ago | (#40275555)

The PROBLEM is, states need to get a clue about such deals, ensuring it's beneficial for both parties.

No, that's not the real problem, either. The problem is that they are, as you put it, deals. Instead of having a set of tax rules that are applied uniformly to everyone, some companies get special deals. Since those deals are done at the discretion of some politician or appointee, the politician is given more power to toss tax breaks and unfair advantage to his/her friends or people that will contribute the most money/votes to his/her re-election. The deal is beneficial for both parties -- the politician and the company. Like much of modern politics, it is all about amassing power to take money from one group of people and give it to another, rather than benefiting society overall. How many times have you heard that small companies are the real job creators? How many times have you heard of these deals going to small companies?

Re:Don't quite agree (5, Interesting)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | about 2 years ago | (#40275651)

The entire process is rife with opportunity to rip off taxpayers. Here in Madison, WI, a locally based company, Spectrum Brands, hired a Florida firm to make overtures to the state government for tax breaks in consideration for "moving their business to Madison" [madison.com] . Yes, a company that was already located here had a firm from another state negotiate for a 7-figure forgivable loan to move where they were already located.

Then, when the Madison public got wind of it, they moved to Middleton, anyway [madison.com] . With their loan, of course.

Gotta love corporate extortion and the transfer of public funds to private corporations. Oh yeah, plus the CEO of Spectrum Brands received a compensation package last year worth 13.7 million dollars [madison.com] . He couldn't take a little bit of a pay cut rather than bilking the government out of 4 million bucks? Heavens, no! That's just punishing success, right?!

And these are the "job creators" we're supposed to bend over for and throw money at for the privilege of working for them (which obviously generates them more revenue then it costs otherwise the job wouldn't exist in the first place)? America! Fuck Yeah!!

Re:Same problem here in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275387)

The Irish government is very costly to the EU, 77 billion bailout package and countless financial aid. If the EU allows the P.I.G.S. to run themselves in a way that is only sustainable with the charity of others then we're all in for a choppy ride (including the US).

Re:Same problem here in the US (4, Insightful)

Teun (17872) | about 2 years ago | (#40275495)

Indeed, and Finland is compared to the size of it's economy one of the largest contributors to the EU rescue package for Ireland.

It is indeed time for the EU to further level the playing field and make countries like Ireland adjust their taxes to the expenditures they have.

Re:Same problem here in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275389)

State governments here in the US try to raise revenue by luring companies to set up shop in their states using tax incentives. The net result is a sort of tragedy of the commons - overall tax revenue is lower and even though politicians try and claim they're "creating jobs" they're really just stealing them from other states.

Of course the companies may be getting tax breaks, but companies employ people in state and they get taxed at the usual rates.

Whether that makes up for giving a particular company the tax break to begin with depends on the type of company, how many people they employ, whether they buy any other goods or services in state, etc.

Just sayin'.

Re:Same problem here in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275499)

but companies employ people in state and they get taxed at the usual rates.

And 95% of something is downright oppressive compared to 100% of nothing.

Re:Same problem here in the US (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | about 2 years ago | (#40275537)

NOPE.
these deals also include allowing the company to keep what would normally be given to the state as 'state taxes on earnings' to add to their profits. while thankfully right now allowing it to be considered 'payed taxes for the wage earner'.
I don't expect that last part to last very long.

Re:Same problem here in the US (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about 2 years ago | (#40275603)

But a company only needs a few employees in the tax haven, then it will move most of it's income there. Suddenly you have a corporation making a ton of money that is paying little taxes and employing a few part-time workers. Sure it's better then nothing, but it won't let you run a country.

Re:Same problem here in the US (5, Interesting)

SilenceBE (1439827) | about 2 years ago | (#40275411)

The funny thing is that the low tax rates for some is the reason why Ireland had a deficit crisis [irishexaminer.com] .

And ironically it is then those countries that they are trying to undercut that needs to bail them out.

The problem with a lot of corporations is that they are narrow minded. They want to have a healthy and educated workforce. Companies like Rovio have benefit by being situated in a country where (I presume is like the average European country) where good education and healthcare is quite accessible. And the fact that is very accessible and like in this country is not because those things are heavily privatized.

Re:Same problem here in the US (0)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 years ago | (#40275511)

Is it the role of government to raise taxes or to provide essential services that CANNOT be provided any other way? The problem with most government structures, is that they think they are in the role of raising taxes so that they can give people what the people should be getting from the private sector.

My point, all taxes are regressive. IF we assume this position then it becomes clear that the people are willing to endure taxes for things like education, police and fire, roads and other infrastructure. However people are not willing to pay extreme taxes, and will avoid paying them whenever possible by moving to lower taxed areas.

It is the role of government to guide society, not force society towards the common good, and deal with the assholes who violate the public trust. The problem here is that many (if not most) politicians are the very same people who should NOT be guiding society, as they are the very assholes government should be dealing with.

So, you have assholes who see their role as ever expanding the role of government force, and needing to raise taxes to fund their tyranny. Taxes are a form of necessary evil, and should be as low as possible, to provide just the basics that government should be providing. Any other policy, no matter how well intentioned, is just foolish naivete.

Too little competition is also bad ... (3, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | about 2 years ago | (#40275523)

U.S. States that are currently a hub/center for some particular industry were not alway so. American history is full of migrations from one state to another to follow jobs. Why is it all of sudden wrong to do so?

I am not sure your tragedy of the commons argument applies here. Some state governments have become terribly inefficient and somewhat parasitic of their traditional industries, California may be an example. Why should some company or industry be forced to stay put to prop up such a mismanaged local government? Implicit in your argument is the "all other things being equal" caveat, but things are not equal. Some states will have an inherent advantage due to access to transportation and distribution systems, access to natural resources, access to energy sources, access to a trained work force, access to universities, an appealing climate, etc.

Good government seems to rely on a system of checks and balances. I think we need to have company mobility to some degree as a check/balance against the mismanagement of local government. A lack of competition between states may be just as bad as too much competition.

Re:Too little competition is also bad ... (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#40275753)

Finland's taxes are high, but then again by most measures it is a country that uses those taxes to fund a very comprehensive social benefits system.

Ireland, on the other hand, is a basket case economy that became attractive in no small part by funding its low corporate taxes by irresponsible borrowing, which now means the rest of the Eurozone has to bail it out.

By most American measures, Finland is an overtaxed Socialist wasteland, and Ireland's low corporate rates make it a responsible government.

Re:Same problem here in the US (4, Interesting)

xelah (176252) | about 2 years ago | (#40275539)

Why tax corporate profits in the first place? Their taxed when they become someone's income. Wouldn't it be fairer, cost less in administration and drastically reduce the number of tax games people waste resources on playing, if corporate taxes and labour taxes were abolished, and if the tax on all kinds of income and capital gains was equalized at a level which raises the same revenue? There's been a big public argument here (the UK) over the reduction of the top rate of income tax from 50% to 45%....but most people seem to remain unaware that salary is one of the most highly taxed forms of income, and that those who can manipulate how they receive their income or can receive it through dividends, royalties or capital gains can do much more than that to reduce their tax burden.

Re:Same problem here in the US (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#40275785)

That statement ignores NET GAIN vs. "no jobs". Companies spend money on a vast range of goods and services which ARE taxed.

"even though politicians try and claim they're "creating jobs" they're really just stealing them from other states."

That's COMPETITION, not theft. Just as when foreign countries try to land businesses with incentive, States do so too.

What is Antartica's effective tax rate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275227)

I think that Antartica could have the lowest of tax rates. Wouldn't it be funny to see MS, Google, Apple, and all the fortune 500's fighting over HQ space in Antartica.
We should also move Washington D.C. to Antartica. Who is with me.

Re:What is Antartica's effective tax rate? (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 2 years ago | (#40275319)

While Antartica has the lowest tax rate they have not signed any tax treates, so the local goverment could charge full taxes.

That being siad, I don't like corporate taxes for interantional companies. There are too many source (where is the corporation located) / residence (where is the corporation making money) issues, they are easy to game, etc.

I think the world would be a better place if more of the corporate taxes were shifted to a source only method. USA would get a cut of the corporate profits when I bought a Angry Birds games - not sure why Finland should have a cut. The profits would then float to corporate headquaters and paid out to the employees / shareholders - which I am assuming are Finish. Then Finland could charge a income / dividend tax and get it's cut. Much simplier.

Re:What is Antartica's effective tax rate? (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | about 2 years ago | (#40275571)

This is where a world government would make sense. then you would have a flat tax no matter 'where' the company is set up. they can set up where ever they want to get the best workforce, not to just get the best rate depriving people of jobs in some cases.

Re:What is Antartica's effective tax rate? (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 years ago | (#40275727)

Want to fix the problem with international corporations? Easy, tax wealth transfers between legal entities. It is easy to calculate, audit, etc, and you'll end up with tax structure that has almost no way of being anything but transparent.

Here's how it would work. First, we eliminate ALL corporate income taxes, as they are too easy to avoid (e.g. GE). Then we set up a system where wealth transfers by corporations to other corporations are taxed, perhaps at %.5 (half percent). Then when Entity A transfer wealth (payment for services, products or licensing) to Entity B the transfer is taxed. This will eliminate the need for shell corporations used to avoid paying taxes. Basically, you'll be taxing the velocity of capitalism. This will cause the government to support all sorts of reforms designed to increase the velocity of wealth so that they will increase revenue in the process. This will in turn get the economy rolling to maximum efficiency and there is no penalty for success, nor reward for failure.

Government should have no role in the economy, it is too easy for politicians to curry favor via tax policy and economic incentives (Solyndra) to garner campaign contributions.

I thought all their production was Chinese already (2, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 years ago | (#40275229)

Every store I go in to seems to have Angry Birds figures, cereal, watches, and adult toys. They are all made in China already. Why not just finish it off and move the whole company over their if that is their top brand?

Seems fair to me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275241)

My country has done pretty much nothing for me. They tax the heck out of anything I make and the government wants to basically strip-search me anytime, anywhere without a warrant or explanation. If I every made it rich I'd be out of here. Strike that - I'd be gone if I ever made enough to move to another country. Loyalty. It works both ways.

Re:Seems fair to me (4, Insightful)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | about 2 years ago | (#40275379)

I don't know where you live, but Finland is not the same as the US. Like in all Nordic countries, the taxes are actually used for something other than military ventures - namely providing education and healthcare for everyone and a stable society with functioning infrastructure. The authors of Angry Birds have benefited from free education at the Helsinki University of Technology, free healthcare all their lives, etc.
Is it not reasonable that when they become successful, they too should pay into the system in order to pay for the education and health of the current generation just as others paid into the system to provide these services to them, providing an educated and healthy workforce for the benefit of among others their own company?

Re:Seems fair to me (4, Insightful)

Teun (17872) | about 2 years ago | (#40275577)

Is it not reasonable that when they become successful, they too should pay into the system in order to pay for the education and health of the current generation just as others paid into the system to provide these services to them, providing an educated and healthy workforce for the benefit of among others their own company?

That's only reasonable when your view of the future reaches beyond the quarterly results your bonuses depend on.
Caring for the educating your future employees and consumers is not part of the Anglo-Saxon company moral.

Oops, I used company and moral in one sentence...

Re:Seems fair to me (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 2 years ago | (#40275857)

It used to be a moral position ; companies used to build whole towns, complete with schools, churches, etc. See Port Sunlight [wikipedia.org]

Lever's aims were "to socialise and Christianise business relations and get back to that close family brotherhood that existed in the good old days of hand labour." He claimed that Port Sunlight was an exercise in profit sharing, but rather than share profits directly, he invested them in the village. He said, "It would not do you much good if you send it down your throats in the form of bottles of whisky, bags of sweets, or fat geese at Christmas. On the other hand, if you leave the money with me, I shall use it to provide for you everything that makes life pleasant – nice houses, comfortable homes, and healthy recreation."

While it seems patronizing and regimented to us upper-middle class whiteys, we're the same demographic that probably moan about the wasteful excesses of the lower classes ; the "demon" drink, cigarettes, and more recently, junk-food and soda-pop have all come up for attack.

It wouldn't work today though. It only got done by Lever Brothers because the company was ruled by an oligarchy of owners. Publicly owned companies are deprived of strong leadership in the most part by having stockholders ; they have to go the way of the sheep, or the lemming.

Re:Seems fair to me (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#40275805)

If you were serious you'd be gone already.

Volunteer for the Peace Corps etc, become an expat, then finish the move later in life.

Plenty of Americans DO move overseas, but few because their wittle feewings are hurt.

Every body wants to take, not contribute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275243)

The march of the greedy, take, take, take. Benefit from an educated healthy work force and strong legal protections, But as soon as the tax man comes you threaten to leave.

One thing I've learned from the years is that rich people and corporations think that they are special, and that by their very existence benefits humanity. But they are just takers, taking advantage of the fruits of society and burning all the ladders to the top.

Anti-corp but what corps to stay? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275549)

The march of the greedy, take, take, take. Benefit from an educated healthy work force and strong legal protections, But as soon as the tax man comes you threaten to leave.

One thing I've learned from the years is that rich people and corporations think that they are special, and that by their very existence benefits humanity. But they are just takers, taking advantage of the fruits of society and burning all the ladders to the top.

If corporations provide no benefits and are merely takers why are you complaining when one leaves?

Benefit only available to corporations (1)

Stiletto (12066) | about 2 years ago | (#40275247)

This is an example of a benefit that only goes to corporations and the very rich, one not available to us regular suckers.

I wish I could simply declare that I live in Florida or some other state with no income tax, and still keep my same job/income/benefits/lifestyle, but I can't. But society has decided that it's OK to allow corporations to do exactly this.

Greed (5, Insightful)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | about 2 years ago | (#40275287)

They benefited from the system all their lives but when it's their turn to pay in, they leave. For what? A 10% reduction on taxes on profits? Currently, Rovio has a net income of 48 million Euros according to Wikipedia (for how long is anybody's guess, Angry Birds won't stay popular forever and that's the only game for modern phones that they have, the rest appears to be old J2ME games, none of which gained any real popularity), so that means saving about 4 million euros in taxes, while at the same time dealing with both a perception of greed which can certainly hurt them among conscious consumers as well as the costs associated with moving the operation to Ireland.

Re:Greed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275435)

Playing devil's advocate.

It's 12% which would make their tax almost half as much as they are currently paying now. At 24.5% tax of 48mil, that's 11.76 mil vs 5.76 mil at 12% so it's 6 million in difference every year which is actually quite noticeable.

Also, this move will be extremely unlikely to affect sales. How many people actually know much about the companies when they buy games (especially for casual gamer which is the main market for angry birds)? Thing like these are often too separate from the product that it's effect on sales are minimal at best.

Yes, Angry Bird won't stay popular forever but that extra money can mean greater freedom to spend money on other experimental games.

But yes, since most of their operations are in Finland, it's easy to see that they have a moral obligation to pay taxes there since they benefit from the countries infrastructure and government. I don't see the problem however if they manage to move most of everything to a different country (seems unlikely however, more likely just a small portion).

Re:Greed (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 2 years ago | (#40275503)

They benefited from the system all their lives but when it's their turn to pay in, they leave.

The counter point to this is that as long as what they do is legal, then they should be free to do it - implying that they have a moral obligation ("when it's their turn to pay") does't really cut it. I'm sure that they have thought about how this will be perceived as a dick move (albeit probably briefly), yet they are still choosing to do so.
 
But how do you stop people from following their own self interest without resorting to stringent or totalitarian-like restrictions?

Re:Greed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275505)

A 10% reduction on taxes on profits?

Well, it's 50% less taxes.

Re:Greed (4, Informative)

Kymermosst (33885) | about 2 years ago | (#40275529)

A 10% reduction on taxes on profits

Nice try. There is a difference of 12 percentage points (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percentage_point).

The reduction in taxes is nearly 50%.

Re:Greed (2)

JamesP (688957) | about 2 years ago | (#40275557)

They benefited from the system all their lives but when it's their turn to pay in, they leave.

Please, what system? Workers are mobile inside Europe. Social security and welfare is more or less equal inside Europe as well.

so that means saving about 4 million euros in taxes, while at the same time dealing with both a perception of greed which can certainly hurt them among conscious consumers as well as the costs associated with moving the operation to Ireland.

Their workers will probably make up for the 4Mi to the Irish government since income tax is higher on Ireland. Still
"perception of greed" yes, sorry, it's a crime to be profitable, I forgot.
"which can certainly hurt them among conscious consumers" yeah, right
"costs associated" I'm not sure, they certainly can move some of production to Ireland, but maybe if it's done slowly it's not complicated

More power to Ireland, they can use the extra taxes.

Re:Greed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275561)

,,,dealing with both a perception of greed which can certainly hurt them among conscious consumers,,,

I live in Finland. To me, anyone who manages to escape this tax hell is not greedy, just simply sane. I would flee in a heartbeat if I had the money to do so. You can't understand the government mentality of hugging everyone to death unless you have suffered living under it.

Re:Greed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275595)

There's no perception of greed problem. 99.9% of their customers, past, present, and future, will never know about this.

Of the remaining few that do, more than half think it's fine.

Re:Greed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275779)

Everyone loves the system until they're the ones who end up paying far more into it than they will get out of it.

ok but (4, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#40275289)

how do you pronounce Hämäläinen , Räikkönen , or Jääskeläinen in Gaelic?

will you assholes in the rest of the world just speak the American language please?

it's like a goddamn Lord of the Rings movie in here

Re:ok but (2)

durrr (1316311) | about 2 years ago | (#40275419)

LOTR actually have some relevance to Finland as Tolkien essentially picked Waelish worlds and mutilated them with Finnish grammar to create the elven language.

Re:ok but (2)

hydrofix (1253498) | about 2 years ago | (#40275493)

Well, very funny indeed.

It's not Gaelic but Finnish. The pronounciation of Finnish is actually massively more regular than English, and you can easily learn it (although learning to understand Finnish is a different deal.) Here's the approximate pronounciations of those family names in the Wikipedia spelling key [wikipedia.org] with approx. translations:

  • Hämäläinen: ham-ah-lai-nen (trans. Tavastian [wikipedia.org] )
  • Räikkönen: reye-kE-nen (trans. Ratchetman)
  • Jääskeläinen: yaas-ke-lai-nen (untranslateable)

E = upside-down e, like a in about. For some reason, Slashdot does not allow this letter in comments.

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275297)

Rovio employs approximately 400 people

Okay, so you've got a few guys working on Angry Birds and someone to make the tea. Plus maybe 50 managers. What's everyone else doing?

400 people? (1)

jgfenix (2584513) | about 2 years ago | (#40275303)

And they only have two games (three with the space version), and one of them was bought.

Re:400 people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275417)

And they only have two games (three with the space version), and one of them was bought.

yep, but the more people you employ the bigger state kickbacks you can get for r&d in Finland. it doesn't matter if the actual r&d needs 100 people doing shit surveys or not.

12.5% Corporate tax? (3, Interesting)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | about 2 years ago | (#40275315)

And people wonder why Ireland has become the basket case of Europe.

The EU is very fond of harmonising the pain to its citizens. It should have a minimum corporate tax rate to ensure that companies pay their dues...

Re:12.5% Corporate tax? (2, Insightful)

varargs (2260180) | about 2 years ago | (#40275369)

Their "dues?" The way governments piss away money, I'd say it's better to give citizens jobs and starve the government beast.

Re:12.5% Corporate tax? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#40275787)

We are doing that in the UK right now and it is a complete disaster. Millions unemployed and private businesses are not taking up the slack. Safe government contracts have dried up, government spending has gone up as unemployment benefits rise, confidence is low and there is no hope of recovery until the next election which is still three years away.

In times like these we need more government more than ever, not less.

Corporate tax... not sure. (1)

billcopc (196330) | about 2 years ago | (#40275343)

I'm on the fence about corporate tax, because I consider it triple dipping. After all, people buying Rovio's products are spending their post-tax income. Rovio's employees pay income tax. Why should that same money be taxed yet again at the corporate level ? Does the Finnish gov't do anything of value with those taxes ? Mine does not (Canada).

On the other hand, I loathe any modern corporation that amasses vast amounts of wealth and doesn't create jobs to spend it. We see far too much of this happening in North America, with the wealthiest companies playing investment games and showing growth on paper, but never feeding any of that wealth back into the system. That numbers game drives up inflation as stagnant wealth does not serve anyone.

I still don't think corporate tax is the solution. It is clearly a stop-gap measure that has proven ineffective at stimulating societal growth.

Re:Corporate tax... not sure. (4, Insightful)

GuldKalle (1065310) | about 2 years ago | (#40275479)

Why should that same money be taxed yet again at the corporate level ? Does the Finnish gov't do anything of value with those taxes ? Mine does not (Canada).

Depends what you consider value. Some things that might be worth the extra tax rate: Infrastructure, public healthcare, well educated workforce.

Re:Corporate tax... not sure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275551)

May as well just eliminate the corporate tax and change income taxes to make up the difference. With so many different forms of taxes, it's difficult for the average person to understand exactly what the total cost of their government and society actually is. Having no corporate income tax will encourage jobs to move back to the U.S. and allow for a system where we can see exactly what we're getting costs.

Re:Corporate tax... not sure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275661)

Why would no corporate income tax bring jobs back to the US? This article is the perfect example of how such a move would work in practice. Rovio wants its HQ in Dublin but very few actual development positions. That means, very few jobs will actually come to Ireland. Most will stay in Finland. Cut to US, we put a 0% tax rate on businesses, the rich elite move their HQ to the US and leave all the jobs you want in China. How does that help anything? You really want a bunch of Chinese billionaires moving to the US? Remember, money is speech so I'd like to see how we fare after heavy Chinese money moves in. And it's not hard for the rich to get a visa. There is a specific B visa that only requires either 1) a promise to hire a certain number of Americans or 2) a bond of something around 10 million. So we'll get a bunch of rich Chinese people and the government gets 10 million a pop but China keeps all the jobs and we get even more China favorable legislation.

I wouldn't mind a 0% corporate tax rate, but it's not as simple as just removing it. Ireland isn't doing well with a low tax rate because jobs don't come there. Same with Antigua and other tax shelters. The money flows through in binary and the business location is just paper. No jobs to be had.

Re:Corporate tax... not sure. (2)

djmurdoch (306849) | about 2 years ago | (#40275547)

Corporations have many of the same rights as citizens. Why shouldn't they have some of the obligations?

You say your government does nothing of value with the taxes it collects. Do you ever use the health care system, the legal system, the education system or the transportation system? Those are paid for mostly by taxes at various levels. Most research in Canada is funded from taxes, because the corporations won't. The government does a lot of things with my money that I don't like, but in the main, they are reasonably well spent.

Re:Corporate tax... not sure. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#40275563)

After all, people buying Rovio's products are spending their post-tax income. Rovio's employees pay income tax. Why should that same money be taxed yet again at the corporate level ?

If you employ a plumber does he not have to pay tax on his fee because you already paid it on your salary?

One man's spending is another man's income. The same money isn't being taxed again. A new transaction is.

Re:Corporate tax... not sure. (1)

rbrander (73222) | about 2 years ago | (#40275673)

It's only "double taxation" if they double the tax rate. Government has to take in enough money to provide the services people democratically asked for (maybe they shouldn't have, but that's a different argument). Whether they tap the economy at one location, or two, or three, is just spreading around where the "damage" is done - income taxes, sales taxes (general, on all sales, or special taxes on gasoline, etc), user fees, inheritance taxes, financial-transaction taxes ... it all has to add up to the total money needed. Some get hit with more - progressive income tax hits on higher incomes more; sales taxes hit on people who buy more stuff rather than saving, and inheritance taxes hit people with rich Dads. Corporate taxes just hit at the production part of the cycle rather than the income phase; no different than tapping your left arm for blood rather than right.

You can tell that corporate taxes aren't doing much damage, in an economy where almost all economic production is through bodies corporate, because individuals that don't *have* to incorporate to make money, do so anyway ... for the tax BENEFITS. Your dentist is probably a "professional corporation", and these days your private electrician is probably losing business to the corporation that employs ten electricians and has one phone number and ad campaign.

Ireland's low corporate taxes made it a conservative darling, the country that was doing everything Right - and it crashed anyway. Now it's had over 2 years of the harshest austerity measures - and hasn't revived. If it gets this head office, yay, but it's still in for years of high unemployment and pain. Clearly, low corporate taxes are no panacea.

Re:Corporate tax == Hidden Tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275711)

Corporate taxes are simply hidden taxes on the consumer. Corporations (businesses run by ordinary people) see "profit" as post tax as that is what they have to spend at the end of the day. (Government sees profit as pre-tax btw). Businesses calculate the prices that they will sell their services for by calculating how much money they need after taxes are paid. Raising taxes on businesses cause them to in turn raise their prices to consumers. This raises prices on consumers dramatically since any middlemen such as distributors and retailers calculate their prices based on multiples of their cost. (Distributors charge 20-30% of wholesale. Retailers for my product typically will double their wholesale price.

This means that a product that generates $0.10 of additional tax will cost the consumer an additional $0.26

So why do politicians like corporate taxes? Simply because corporations can't vote (taxation without representation) and the publics misguided belief that somebody else is paying their taxes. Additionally, the public by and large do not have any idea what percentage of their products prices are due to taxes, tariffs and fees making these hidden taxes.

In the end, every business puts all its profits to work. They don't "enjoy" money as an end. They can only:

-Put it in the bank or investments (creating lower interest rates which helps people to buy / build houses etc. Or provide capitol to other businesses or projects). This is good for the economy.

-Hire people ( who pay income taxes) which is good for you and me.

-Buy stuff (which takes people to build or make). This hires people (who pay taxes) and is good for the economy and you and me.

Re:Corporate tax... not sure. (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 2 years ago | (#40275751)

Taxes are infinitely dipped. You get paid, and 1/3 goes to taxes, then you buy a car and (aside from paying sales and registration taxes) the dealership pays taxes, then the dealership owner gets his profits and pays 1/3 of that in taxes and then buys a boat and (aside from paying the luxury tax and sales tax) the boat salesman gets his commission and pays taxes, then buys dinner and (aside from liquor and sales and meals taxes) the server gets a tip (and won't claim it, so won't pay taxes) and the restaurant makes money, and the restaurant owner gets his profit and pays 1/3 of that in taxes...

The taxes on a single dollar could, taken this logic, cost $10 in taxes for a year. The point is that for every transaction, someone has benefitted from the protections and advantages afforded by the programs which are government funded. It might be safety from invasion (military), or maybe the person spending the money is on welfare (money straight from the gov't), or the land you own is protected through zoning laws from being used in a way that is incompatible with your business, or the item you sell (like a car) would be useless without government-maintained roads, or you sell American Widgets, which are protected from foreign competition by the Widget Importation Limitation Act.

Every time you buy or sell stock, or a home, or anything that uses a broker, the people who made that transaction possible get paid. Twice, actually, since the buyer and the seller pay their brokers respectively for the same transaction, even if that broker is the same person/entity. The government works the same way, after a fashion. The idea being that if you are benefiting from the governments services, and you have the resources to pay (i.e. you make money), you are expected to put a certain percentage back in the master kitty.

Re:Corporate tax... not sure. (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#40275815)

Does the Finnish gov't do anything of value with those taxes ? Mine does not (Canada).

Really? Roads, policing, rubbish collection, the legal system, the military, healthcare etc. are all worthless?

Re:Corporate tax... not sure. (1)

ductonius (705942) | about 2 years ago | (#40275849)

Your first paragraph could easily be reworded to show that personal income tax of the employees would be the "triple dip". This would make more sense since people have physical bodies with physical needs and thus taxing them hurts the whole socioeconomic system more than taking the money of a bodiless, nebulous entity that can exist on unicorn dreams and pixie dust.

You say you loath corporations that amass wealth without giving back, but that's exactly what a corporation is for. The entire idea of the limited liability corporation is to create an entity that functions to realize far more wealth than it produces while shielding it's owners from any loss it might incur if what it does turns out to be a bad idea.

The crux of the problem with corporations is that everyone and everything exists inside a economic system which requires constant maintenance, both in the form of policy shifts to take into account changing conditions, and in the physical form with the maintenance of infrastructure (transportation, communication etc). Governments at various levels generally perform this maintenance and need funds to do so. Taxes are how these funds are raised and as such function as a fee on participation in the system that enabled profit in the first place.

A properly functioning corporation will never voluntary give up wealth. At the same time, maintenance of the economic system needs money.

Taxes on corporations need to be strictly enforced and extensive enough to ensure corporations pay for what they've benefited from. The alternative is exactly what you loathe: giant corporations that exist simply to capture and hold as much wealth as possible.

Low corp taxes? (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | about 2 years ago | (#40275401)

Come to the US and buy some congresscritters. Ask GE and the lot..hell.. if you play the game right theyll pay you to be here and even give your employees revolving jobs in the administration making laws for yourself.

shows its just about money making (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275575)

shows its just about money making...nuff said not gonna bother ever commenting on it more.

yep (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#40275591)

Fire 400 workers, move headquarters, save what 4-6 mil? get new workers, new office space, move all your shit, dwindle savings down to about 1 mil then watch your one and only hit fasty fade away into fad history

sounds like a bunch of effort for little reward, and honestly your a 1 hit wonder, there is no long term benefit

ok - bye! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275653)

A firm producing unnecessary time-wasting crap threatens to move to a country which has alerady bankrupted itself once (had we not entered a "banks are not allowed to fail" philosophy) by having little to offer beyond ephemeral labour contracts and tax breaks.

This is about as bothersome as an article announcing that Britney Spears - or whoever is the latest pop sensation since I stopped being a teenager - has moved herself and her staff to Ireland.

In spite of popular wisdom re high corporate taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275685)

Which says that high corporate taxes causes corporations to flee the country which weakens the economy which is bad for everyone.

Yet Finland is quite wealthy and has one of the highest living standards in the world. There certainly is a lot less poverty in Finland than there is in the US.
Although the current crisis is felt in Finland it is not being hit nearly as hard as many other European countries.

Tax rates are even lower in Somalia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275783)

And no Big Gubmint telling you want to do, so why not move there?

Silly question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40275843)

Why didn't they start the company in Ireland to begin with?

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