News Column

Apple Ducked $1 Million an Hour in U.S. Taxes

May 22, 2013

Nikhil Kumar

apple money

Apple "avoided" more than $1 million (Pounds 650,000) in US taxes every hour last year, a senior Washington lawmaker said yesterday as the tech giant found itself the centre of the debate over loopholes in international tax laws.

Known worldwide for its innovative gadgets, the business was criticised for employing a fiendish corporate structure that, according to Carl Levin, the Democratic head of the US Senate''s Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations, included three "ghost companies" that "exist nowhere" for tax purposes -- "not in Ireland, where they are incorporated, and not in the US, where the Apple executives are located".

Apple was also accused of using other methods to cut its tax bill, and of keeping billions of dollars worth of profits outside the US.

Tim Cook, who succeeded the late Steve Jobs as Apple''s CEO in 2011 and who is more accustomed to being celebrated for the success of the products, was forced to defend the business at a hearing before Senator Levin''s subcommittee, saying: "We pay all the taxes we owe -- every single dollar. We not only comply with the laws, but we comply with the spirit of the laws." The Apple boss recommended, however, that Washington reform the tax code, arguing that the county''s corporate tax rate of 35% should be reduced.

He also proposed the introduction of a more "reasonable" tax on foreign earnings. Although the company is not accused of doing anything illegal, a sub-committee memorandum published ahead of the hearing claimed that Apple had exploited loopholes to "avoid US taxes on $44bn in otherwise taxable offshore income over the past four years" -- or about $10bn per year.

The spotlight on Apple''s finances comes as lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic probe the way large multinational corporations manage their tax liabilities. In the US, the Senate panel has in the past looked into both Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard. British MPs, meanwhile, have over the past year grilled executives from Starbucks, Amazon and Google. Last week, Margaret Hodge accused Google of "in my view, unethical behaviour in deliberately manipulating the reality of your business in order to avoid paying your fair share of tax."

Originally published by FROM NIKHIL KUMAR IN NEW YORK.

(c) 2013 Belfast Telegraph. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

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Source: Copyright Belfast Telegraph 2013

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