Tim Cook Defends Apple's Tax Record Ahead of Senate Committee Appearance [Updated]
Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a break from his predecessor, is giving a number of interviews to Washington press outlets ahead of his appearance in front of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation next week.
Washington newspaper Politico spoke to Cook about Apple's offshore cash pile -- which the company has thus far refused to repatriate to the United States because of the significant tax burden that would result -- and Apple's political activities.
"We don't have a large presence in Washington, as you probably know, but we care deeply about public policy and believe creative policy can be a huge catalyst for a better society and a stronger economy," Cook said in the interview.
He also defended his company's conduct. “I can tell you unequivocally Apple does not funnel its domestic profits overseas. We don't do that. We pay taxes on all the products we sell in the U.S., and we pay every dollar that we owe. And so I'd like to be really clear on that,” Cook said.
Cook has agreed to appear in front of the subcommittee on Tuesday morning personally, instead of sending a more junior executive to testify in front of the committee. His predecessor as CEO, Steve Jobs, agreed to very few interviews and tended to stay out of politics entirely.
Apple recently borrowed $17 billion in a bond offering, in part to return cash to shareholders without bringing some of its $100 billion overseas cash pile to the United States. If it were to repatriate that cash to the U.S., it would need to pay a more than $13 billion tax bill.
Update: In an interview with The Washington Post, Cook says he plans to present specific proposals at the Senate hearing to overhaul the U.S. corporate tax system.
"If you look at it today, to repatriate cash to the U.S., you need to pay 35 percent of that cash. And that is a very high number," Cook said in an interview Thursday. "We are not proposing that it be zero. I know many of our peers believe that. But I don’t view that. But I think it has to be reasonable."
Cook also pointed out that if state and federal taxes are combined, Apple pays roughly $1 million per hour in taxes, possibly making Apple the largest corporate taxpayer in the country.
Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the comment thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All MacRumors forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.