Apple Has Been Pioneer in Developing Ways on Taxes

on 04 29, 2012

The New York Times publishes a piece that claims Apple has been a pioneer in developing ways to sidestep taxes.
The New York Times is once again putting Apple under the microscope, with a new, in-depth report about the tactics the company uses to cut its global tax bill by billions of dollars every year.
Almost every major corporation tries to minimize its taxes. Apple serves as a window on how technology giants have taken advantage of tax codes written for an industrial age and ill-suited to today’s digital economy.
The report claims Apple has been a pioneer in developing ways to sidestep taxes and that companies seeking to do the same have used its methods as templates.
Apple, for instance, was among the first tech companies to designate overseas salespeople in high-tax countries in a manner that allowed them to sell on behalf of low-tax subsidiaries on other continents, sidestepping income taxes, according to former executives. Apple was a pioneer of an accounting technique known as the “Double Irish With a Dutch Sandwich,” which reduces taxes by routing profits through Irish subsidiaries and the Netherlands and then to the Caribbean. Today, that tactic is used by hundreds of other corporations — some of which directly imitated Apple’s methods, say accountants at those companies.

Citing government and corporate data, is that tech companies — including Apple, Google, Yahoo, and Dell — are among the least taxed, paying worldwide cash taxes in the last two years that were a third less than those paid by other companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index.
Apple provided the Times with a statement that says, among other things, that the company “has conducted all of its business with the highest of ethical standards, complying with applicable laws and accounting rules,” that the company is “incredibly proud of all of Apple’s contributions,” and that Apple “pays an enormous amount of taxes, which help our local, state and federal governments.”

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    Greed feeds on greed, but those steeped in it are too self-absorbed to take such notice.
    The states, therefore, should impose a minimum corporate tax against companies like Apple that have gotten too clever for our own good. If Apple does business in the United States, then it should pay a minimum state tax to be shared by all the state where it actually does business. And if Nevada does not want the tax, it should be shared by the states that do. Either way, the company pays an overall state minimum tax. This should discourage the bogus operation centers now set up in places like Reno.
    And if Apple decides to pack up and go altogether to Ireland or the Netherlands, the states should deem such move to be an effort to skirt state tax laws — with stiff penalties ready to be imposed.
    A corporate minimum tax is not a new idea in federal taxation. The states should find a way to implement it as well. Waiting for the free market to fix the problem is not only naive, but also foolish.

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