All eyes were on Apple CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday, but not because he was rolling out a new product.
Instead he was in Washington before Congress doing what the heads of billion dollar corporations usually do, defending their ability to pay as little tax as possible.
Apple, apparently, is able to do what you and I can’t – shift two-thirds of its profits offshore, where U.S. corporate taxes don’t apply.
As many observers point out, what Apple does is perfectly legal and falls under tax avoidance, as opposed to tax evasion.
For some good background, Tim Worstall in Forbes sums it up well: Apple makes a lot of money outside the U.S. and doesn’t bring it into the country, where it could be taxed. It does pay full corporate taxes on the money it makes within the U.S.
Predictably, commentators spilled no end of digital ink over the hearing.
Richard Levick, who heads a PR firm representing companies in crisis, wrote in Forbes that it’s surprising consumer ire has been somewhat limited. Robert Preston, business editor of BBC News opined that for Apple to be seen as a huge accumulator of cash may not add lustre to its image.Meanwhile many U.S. senators express outrage.
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