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Apple has no tax shame

by on22 May 2013

US Congress meets Apple arrogance

The US Congress had its first significant brush with Apple arrogance and smugness when it tried to grill CEO Tim Cook over his dodgy tax bill.

Cook made no apology saying his company saved billions of dollars in US taxes by funnelling the business through Irish subsidiaries. The only concession he seemed to make was to tell lawmakers that his company backs corporate tax reform, even though it may end up paying more.

Cook’s view appears to be that once the US lowers its corporate tax regime and closed loopholes then Apple will bring its money back. Until the government did what it was told, it would not see much dosh. Cook, in his first congressional testimony since becoming Apple CEO in 2011, said his company is a major taxpayer, handing over nearly $6 billion in cash to the US government in 2012. This sounds a lot, but is actually a tiny percentage of what the government should be expecting from the successful toymaker.

Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the subcommittee said Apple used Ireland as a base for a web of offshore holding companies and negotiated a deal with the Irish government for a tax rate of less than two percent. The top U.S. corporate tax rate is 35 percent.

Cook more or less said “so what” it was all perfectly legal and Apple did not depend on tax gimmicks. Apple does not stash money on some Caribbean island, he said. We guess it does not need too if it has a respectable country like Ireland sitting on its cash pile.

Senator John McCain praised Apple as a success story, but he said the company's tax strategy reflected a "flawed" tax system.

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