U.S. Senators Claim Apple Has Avoided Paying Billions in U.S. Income Taxes Ahead of Tim Cook Testimony

A Senate subcommittee has released a 40-page memo accusing Apple of not paying billions of dollars in federal taxes through "extensive tax-avoidance strategies".

Apple CEO Tim Cook, CFO Peter Oppenheimer, and Apple's head of tax operations Phillip A. Bullock will appear in front of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation tomorrow. The company issued a statement earlier today in a preliminary defense against the Subcommittee's accusations.

Subcommittee

The subcommittee, which previously explored tax avoidance by other multinational corporations using offshore subsidiaries, found similar practices at Apple. In addition, the subcommittee review discovered an unusual tax scheme: Apple’s claim that two key offshore companies are not tax residents of Ireland, where they are incorporated, or of the United States, where Apple executives manage and control the companies. One of those Irish subsidiaries has paid no income taxes to any national tax authority for the past five years.

"Apple wasn’t satisfied with shifting its profits to a low-tax offshore tax haven," said Sen. Levin. "Apple sought the Holy Grail of tax avoidance. It has created offshore entities holding tens of billions of dollars, while claiming to be tax resident nowhere. We intend to highlight that gimmick and other Apple offshore tax avoidance tactics so that American working families who pay their share of taxes understand how offshore tax loopholes raise their tax burden, add to the federal deficit and ought to be closed."

The full forty-page memorandum (PDF) goes into some detail on the company's tax strategies, and we will likely hear much more about this at tomorrow's hearing.

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.

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Top Rated Comments

japanime Avatar
144 months ago
Note to senators: Do your job first. Close the loopholes that Apple and the others are LEGALLY using to their advantage. Until then, you haven't earned the right to whine and moan.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hobo.hopkins Avatar
144 months ago
The investigators are still not claiming that Apple broke any laws - just that they took advantage of tax loopholes. There's an easy way to "fix" this problem: fix the tax code. Expecting companies to not take advantage of loopholes and blaming them for exploiting them is just ridiculous and doesn't actually solve anything.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RBMaraman Avatar
144 months ago
Meet Apple's new CEO: Tim Crook.

Seriously, there are really two major issues here: The US tax code is in need of a serious overhaul to close loopholes and align practices, and Apple's practices need to be further investigated globally for any potential illegal activities. Yes, Apple appears to have broken no laws here, while doing an excellent job of showing how greedy, unethical and dishonest a company can be and still be loved by the consumer.

I spent almost four years working at Apple, watching as the company moved from a customer focused culture under Steve Jobs to a focus on reduction in quality, cutbacks on customer service and anyways that can be thought of to increase profits under Tim Cook.

I love my Apple products enough to voice my concerns with Apple's current leadership.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
roland.g Avatar
144 months ago
So Obama and the U.S government are so broke, have spent all of our tax dollars, don't like the sequester, and can't wrap their heads around the idea of cutbacks rather than increased spending, and have somehow come up with the brainchild that their easy out solution is to target the one company with the largest cash reserves in an effort to win their own Powerball. Sadly enough even if they charge Apple with tax evasion and force them to pay these "billions" they owe, they'll be broke again in no time cause all Obama wants to do is spend spend spend!!
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Four oF NINE Avatar
144 months ago
This corporate tax avoidance by the biggest FORTUNE 500 corporations has got to stop. Figure it out, Washington!
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
burnside Avatar
144 months ago
We all gotta pay taxes. If Apple doesn't want to pay them to the Feds, then maybe they should setup shop next door to Foxconn and not in Cupertino.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)