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Apple Says it’s $1 Billion Building is Only Worth $200

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Plus a List of Apple Products you can buy for Less Than $200

“round black and white building during daytime” by Carles Rabada on Unsplash

Why Everyone Hates Property Tax

Ask nearly any homeowner if they are happy with the amount of property tax they pay, almost everyone will reply “no”. Property tax might be the most disputed and universally disliked forms of taxation, primarily because of how visible it is to the taxpayer.

When it comes to income tax, if you are a salaried employee you might feel like you pay too much in tax, but you probably would not be able to tell me how much you paid in income tax last year. You certainly would not be able to tell me how much your neighbor paid in income tax last year. Income tax is not visible. For salaried employees, it is taken off your paycheck and most of us think of our paycheck as out “net” and don’t look as hard at the “gross” (before tax) amount. Add on top of that all of the deductions and credits we can apply against income tax and it becomes very muddled very quickly. You and your neighbor might both make $75,000 per year but one of you could end up paying completely different amounts in income tax.

Property Tax 101

Property tax on the other hand is extremely visible, in most cases you receive a letter from the municipality that says “you owe $2,000” in property tax this year.

Many countries around the world have some form of property tax, and nearly all of them follow the same process. An assessor places a value on your property and the municipality collects tax based off the type of property you own (residential, commercial etc..) and the value placed on the property.

Another (nearly) universal feature of property tax is that the taxpayer has the right to appeal the value placed on the property. If the assessor says your home is worth $200,000 you can argue that your home is only worth $170,000.

Or if you have a cluster of buildings assessed at $1 billion, apparently you can argue those buildings are worth only $200.

Apples Appeals $1 Billion Assessment, Says Buildings Worth $200

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, in 2015 Apple appealed the $1 billion valuation given to a cluster of its buildings around Apple Park in Cupertino, arguing the buildings should be valued at $200.

This might be the most extreme version of “low ball negotiating” I have ever come across. I’ll spare you the editorial of how a corporation valued at more than $1 trillion, can’t pay its local property tax. The truth is that point is a much more nuanced and complex than it seems. Apple pays incredible amounts in property tax each year and they are within their legal right to challenge the assessment placed on their buildings. The goal of any business is to maximize profit, to do that they must minimize expenses such as property tax. I won’t provide any judgment or opinions on how much Apple “should” pay.

Apple Products you can buy for Less Than $200

Instead, I think I thought it would be more fun to list the number of Apple products I found for sale on their website for under $200. Here’s what I found, in no particular order (this won’t take long). There may be more items under $200 but this is what I found.

  1. Apple 4K TV with 32GB ($179) and 64GB ($199)
  2. A list of accessories which include HDMI cord ($29.95), wireless gaming controller ($49.95), AirPod earphones ($159), Siri remote ($59),
  3. 20 months subscription to Apple Music for individual ($199.8) or 40 months for student subscription ($199.6)
  4. A band for your Apple Watch (not the watch itself) from $49, a magnetic charging dock for your Apple Watch ($79) or the cord ($29)
  5. IPhone cases (from $39 up) and IPad cases (from $49 up)
  6. Apple Pencil ($99)
  7. Smart Keyboard for $159
  8. 13 inch Leather sleeve for your Mac for $179

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