Apple’s tax dodge is so genius there should be an app for that

Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook told a Senate committee looking at its tax payments that "We not only comply with the laws, but we comply with the spirit of the laws."
(Los Angeles Times)

If Apple execs are so adept at avoiding taxes, shouldn’t they at least offer an app so the rest of us can get in on the deal?

Apple CEO Tim Cook, in an appearance before the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, testified today that everything’s on the up-and-up.

“We not only comply with the laws, but we comply with the spirit of the laws,” Cook said.

If so, the laws are too lax.


The Senate subcommittee found that Apple managed to dodge $9 billion in taxes in 2012 alone, and, like other multinational corporations, tries to shift profits to countries with lower tax rates, including Ireland.

“Apple executives want the public to focus on the U.S. taxes the company has paid,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), “but the real issue is the billions in taxes it has not paid, thanks to offshore tax strategies whose purpose is tax avoidance, pure and simple.”

Levin’s committee also found that Apple Operations International reported $30 billion in income over four years but didn’t file an income-tax return in any country for the last five years.

“To our knowledge,” Cook told the subcommittee, “Apple is the largest corporate taxpayer in America. We paid $6 billion in cash to the U.S. Treasury -- that’s $16 million each day. And we expect to pay even more this year.”


Cry me a river, Tim. I don’t care what you pay, I care what you’d owe if you didn’t exploit every tax loophole in the book, even if doing so is legal.

Cook argued that corporate tax codes need simplification, and he said the system handicaps American corporations “in relation to our foreign competitors.”

While that may be true, the more we learn about Apple’s true colors, the less the company resembles the clean image it works so hard to cultivate while creating a culture of essentiality around its overpriced products.

Last year the New York Times reported that by opening an office in Reno, Nev., with just a handful of employees collecting and investing the company’s massive profits, Apple managed to avoid millions in taxes to California and other states. California’s corporate tax rate is 8.4%, Nevada’s is zero.


Apple may make great products, but it also excels at tax avoidance and chasing cheap foreign labor. And now the company, which avoided taxes in California as the financially strapped state was forced to make huge cuts in public education, wants to sell iPads to our schools.

I have two thoughts here.

Either Apple should donate the tablets to every school in California.

Or California schools should shop elsewhere.


What do you think?


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