Uber? Should Taiwan allow Uber to operate?


#202

Civil Code Art. 29
The domicile of a juridical person is the location of its principal office.

Yubo is a juridical person. As far as we know, its principal office is on Guangfu Nanlu.


#203

If we let Uber come in and not pay taxes and social contributions why should any company or individual do it?
Uber are being asked to pay tax and insurance etc, not a big ask is it?

We and Taiwanese corporations should pay for the roads and the car insurance coverage and the traffic enforcement and the health insurance and labour contributions and they should just make money and pay for nothing…don’t think so!!!


#204

I am extremely happy this evil corporation has suspended their services


#205

Brian, think of it this way. Imagine a bunch of 10,000 people (the number of Uber drivers in Taiwan) got together and informally developed an app to do what Uber’s app does, and stuck it up there on Google Play.

Imagine that, of those 10,000 people, a dozen of them were experienced Web programmers and just got the job done, all by themselves, perhaps with some informal support from the others: pizzas, cola, the usual programmer requirements.

Imagine, in other words, that there was no Uber, just a load of drivers, all out there on the road, working for themselves.

Now, who are you going to tax? Who is going to pay for accident insurance? Who is going to make labour insurance premiums? Who takes the rap when (inevitably) there are crashes and Bad Apples?

Don’t tell me, “that’s different”, because it totally isn’t. All it demonstrates is that Uber actually has nothing to do with driving, as they’ve asserted all along.


#206

Emm…nothing to do with driving as in McDonalds has nothing to do with good food? :slight_smile:

Ubers plan is to remove the drivers altogether and operate fleets of automated transport vehicles.

Uber currently helps to finance drivers with cars as well.

I think they are just using this ‘hands-off’ approach to avoid regulations and taxes that’s all.

It’s worked in some countries but not here. They should have done things like McDobalds, help the local community, sponsor some homeless people or whatever and yeah and pay some taxes. Make a contribution to the place you are making money from!
There’ll be other companies along who are willing to pay some tax and sign up to the amended regulations. Not a biggie.

I agree Taiwan needs to change the way it does things, however I don’t think letting Uber steamroll all over the system (and therefore encouraging everybody else to incorporate overseas and pay no tax whatsoever) would be a good thing. It simply wouldn’t work.


#207

I notice you had no answer to my questions.

So? Is there any law against that? I’m working on a similar project myself. If it ever gets off the ground, I imagine there will be lots of people trying to shut me down.

I fervently look forward to the day there are no human drivers on the roads. I’ve done rants about vehicle-related carnage before: I’m sure you’re aware that it’s one of the top three causes of accidental death and life-altering injuries in the under-50 agegroup, in most countries. We don’t need people sitting behind steering wheels any more than we need boys climbing up chimneys.

So? We’re just going around in circles here. There are plenty of perfectly good regulations about income tax, safe road usage, accident insurance, and so on. Those regulations don’t need to touch everyone even tangentially concerned with vehicles. Following your logic, you could argue that car manufacturers can and should be held responsible for traffic deaths. Maybe that would actually be a good idea.

You mean, engage in cynical PR stunts to hide the fact that (a) you’re making people fat and ill and (b) directly contributing to all kinds of environmental wrongdoing?

Oil companies do similar things to stave off government oversight. Very effective it is too.

So basically you’re saying it’s better to do harmful things and pretend you’re not, than to do something useful and try to avoid being scalped?


#208

My point about their plans to operate automated fleets is that they are very much a transport focused company.

Basically I’m saying make an attempt to play by the existing rules , pay tax according to the law, act like a good guy, don’t try to lecture foreign governments what’s right or wrong (especially if you are a multi billion Wall Street backed company) and yeah you’ll have a chance to make some money as a law abiding corporation.

Is this somehow difficult to do? Why can’t they do this?
Why does an elected government have to make exceptions for them?


#209

Precisely my complaint. The government changed the law specifically to make an exception - ie, to make an example of - Uber, pour encourager les autres.


#210

They don’t have to, but have they even considered whether it would be in their long-term interest to do it anyway?

Do you know how Ireland solved their economic troubles in recent years? Now I’m not saying that’s the perfect model, but maybe Taiwan’s focus shouldn’t shift to taxes and regulations right now, but rather to: how can we make it easy for progress that is going to happen anyway to happen in Taiwan first? How can we be relevant in the future?

The focus of attention of pretty much everyone is on the wrong stuff. The taxi drivers complain that they can’t compete, but have they even tried? What have they done and improved in their service? Will they be able to compete when another competitor shows up? I’m guessing no.


#211

It’s interesting you brought up landlord tax evasion. Even the tax office here helps facilitate blatant landlord tax evasion.

A year ago at tax time I brought all my rent receipts for the tax deduction for rent as I had done every year without an issue.
The woman behind the counter said that in order to write off the rent receipts, I needed a copy of my landlords ID card to prove they were aware I was going to write off the rent

I said excuse me, first of all no landlord is going to give me their ID card, secondly if the landlord is not declaring the tax that isn’t my problem, it’s your office that needs to crosscheck and go after the tax evading landlord. She wouldn’t budge so I called Taipei who agreed with me, placed a call to them, and magically they accepted my receipts.

Then today I see the local constabulary writing a ticket for an old man selling a few apples at a roadside stand. What a joke the regulations here are,


#212

Ireland’s didn’t solve its economic problems when it opened its financial system to large scale fraud and ‘anything goes’. There’s a massive debt to be taken care of in that regard.
Apple are being pushed by the EU now to pay their back taxes, ironically that will be a sweet chunk of change when it comes in!

Ireland does have the enormous benefit of belonging to the EU and yes it has opened up the economy and done well out of it along with instituting low taxes.

Taiwan should definitely work hard at encouraging more investors but not predatory companies who just want to extract income but not invest or contribute to tax base.


#213

Dan: what makes me laugh about the whole brouhaha is the trivial amount of (theoretical) public cost involved. Apparently Uber offered about one million rides in the short time it was operating here. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, each ride consumed NT$20 worth of public resource (in terms of road surfacing, air and runoff pollution, etc); call it 10-20% of the fare. So that’s NT$20m that should have gone into the public purse from somewhere or other. Half a million euros.

I mean really? There are probably individual government lawyers earning that much. It’s a safe bet the gubmint wasted WAY more than NT$20m on legal action against Uber. A single trucking company running 40-tonne containers up and down the highway will cause more roadway damage than that (and probably pays a couple of million in tax). A couple of thousand tax-dodging landlords could contribute NT$20m to public coffers, but they don’t. A sense of perspective is missing from the debate, methinks.

Uber would have pocketed NT$40m. A million euros. That’s enough to fund a small office, and a staff of 12, with about $20m left over to buy a smallish yacht. Those moneygrubbing bastards!


#214

Yup I agree, it’s like taking a sledgehammer to a fly. As with all things Taiwan. The fines for the individual uber drivers were insanely high, even a company polluting the river in Kaohsiung didn’t even pay that much in the end.

Priorities people


#215

Before last month they weren’t high enough if they didn’t pull out after 2+ years. I am happy Uber is suspended.


#216

Show me on the doll where the bad uber driver touched you.


#217

New tech will rarely fit neatly into existing regulations.

I don’t think emotional language like “predatory” is a good basis for decision-making.
Even if you think they’re not handling things properly, instead of thinking “they’re exploiting our infrastructure”, you could frame it as “we’re investing in an environment that fosters the presence of new tech, and the eventual payoff will likely outweigh whatever this costs now”. Did anyone make such a calculation, and if so, did they really consider the full impact of either decision, beyond direct and secondary effects?
This is not just about Uber.

You’re asserting that Uber’s presence in Taiwan results in a net negative for Taiwan, but I’m not sure of that, and such an assertion should not be made without careful analysis.

The thing is, in order to be more attractive for investments, you have to give something. If you’re stuck in “they’re taking from us”, then you’ll just compound the problem that is plaguing Taiwan already - people are afraid and try to protect what they have at all cost. This is not the way forward, this leads directly into oblivion.


#218

It’s not me you need to argue with but Taiwan government.
Uber came across as tax avoiding , arrogant and lecturing and threatening the Taiwan government all the time not paying its fines or contributing much if anything to Taiwan.
Dumb,dumb,dumb.
We NEED tax revenue in Taiwan to function. Pay taxes owed period.
Yes there are some sectors like rental sector that don’t pay much but I can tell you from personal experience revenue are very insistent about getting tax from Taiwan corporations and salaried individuals.


#219

[quote=“finley, post:199, topic:154722, full:true”]
The Finance Ministry’s National Taxation Bureau of Taipei (NTBT, 台北國稅局) said Thursday it had evidence showing ride-hailing service Uber evaded tax payments in Taiwan. The agency said it had “taken action” in response to the findings, but declined to reveal further details. …

The officials said they aim to close loopholes that have enabled Uber to avoid tax payments.[/quote]

Uber had not previously been liable for the tax, but regulators have reworked the tax structure for foreign online businesses, and now say Uber is on the hook.

Refresh my memory: which article is this from?

Brian, think of it this way. Imagine a bunch of 10,000 people (the number of Uber drivers in Taiwan) got together and informally developed an app to do what Uber’s app does, and stuck it up there on Google Play.

Imagine that, of those 10,000 people, a dozen of them were experienced Web programmers and just got the job done, all by themselves, perhaps with some informal support from the others: pizzas, cola, the usual programmer requirements.

Imagine, in other words, that there was no Uber, just a load of drivers, all out there on the road, working for themselves.

Now, who are you going to tax? Who is going to pay for accident insurance? Who is going to make labour insurance premiums? Who takes the rap when (inevitably) there are crashes and Bad Apples?

Don’t tell me, “that’s different”, because it totally isn’t. All it demonstrates is that Uber actually has nothing to do with driving, as they’ve asserted all along.

Self employed workers are obligated to pay income tax, and the rates and deductions are different. Labor insurance is compulsory for self-employed members of a union, optional for those without a union. I assume there’s a similar rule for NHI and jiubao.

But if they really did that, who would control it? Would it be a self-sustaining app floating through the cloud, with no usage fee and no human oversight?

How would those innovative investors in the Netherlands (or the Cayman Islands, or Wall Street, or wherever they are) react? :ponder:


#220

Bingo.

While Brian et al are moaning about Uber not paying any tax out of their 25% cut (despite the fact that they do … to a foreign government), nobody is really interested in chasing the drivers, who are taking 75%. Oh, wait … could this be because it’s easier to chase one foreign corporation with scant protection under the law than to go after 10,000 Taiwanese voters?

As I said earlier, the logical way to get car owners, private or commercial, to pay for their use of infrastructure would be to impose an appropriate fuel tax. It matters not one jot whether they are organised, who organises them, or whether there are foreigners involved. The net financial result remains the same.

Income tax is a different issue, but again, as long as the money flows in, who cares exactly where it’s flowing from?

Like I said, there’s always a Lawyer somewhere trying to make things complicated :wink:

I’ve no idea. I guess so. It happens. It was just a thought experiment to illustrate that such a thing would be possible, and that Uber really are doing what they say they’re doing: licensing some IP, and/or providing digital infrastructure. Apparently, their registration as such has never been contested, except by the NTB. In other words, the NTB are overreaching their jurisdiction.

Incidentally, I notice nobody has responded to my fagpacket calculation suggesting that Uber are probably making a million or two euros a year in Taiwan, net. There are probably famous noodle shops earning more than that. For all the talk of Uber taking over the world, five minutes with a calculator suggests that 25% of a lot of small numbers doesn’t add up to an outrageous fortune; certainly not one worthy of special government attention.


#221

[quote=“finley, post:220, topic:154722, full:true”]
Uber really are doing what they say they’re doing: licensing some IP, and/or providing digital infrastructure. Apparently, their registration as such has never been contested, except by the NTB. In other words, the NTB are overreaching their jurisdiction.[/quote]

This goes back to the question of employment vs. independent contracting and the degree of control & supervision Uber has over the drivers. They are on shaky ground as far as labor law goes.

Their court battles so far in Taiwan are mainly (or entirely?) with the MOTC, not the MOF/NTB. I haven’t had time to read the details.

I am interested in your claim that the NTB is rewriting the law just to take down Uber (or rather Yubo). Could you please provide a link?

Edit:


They said they “aim to close loopholes”. The person talking about going to court was from a labor union.

Do you have evidence that the government actually created ex postfacto law? They amended the Highway Act, yes, but the higher penalty can’t be applied retroactively. It’s because Uber was content to continue violating the Act that they decided a higher penalty would be needed going forward.