Date
23 March 2017
Tim Cook says the US tax code was made for the Industrial Age, not the digital age, and should have been fixed years ago. Photo: Reuters
Tim Cook says the US tax code was made for the Industrial Age, not the digital age, and should have been fixed years ago. Photo: Reuters

Tim Cook: Claims Apple is avoiding taxes political crap

Apple Inc. chief executive Tim Cook says the notion that the tech giant is avoiding taxes is “political crap”.

“Apple pays every tax dollar we owe,” Cook told 60 Minutes’ Charlie Rose, Reuters reports, citing excerpts from an interview released on Friday. 

The remarks come amid a debate in the United States over corporations avoiding taxes through techniques such as so-called inversion deals, where a company redomiciles its tax base to another country.

Apple saves billions of dollars in taxes through subsidiaries in Ireland where it declares much of its overseas profit.

Cook said bringing profits back to the US would cost him 40 percent.

“I don’t think that’s a reasonable thing to do,” he said.

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations probed Apple’s tax strategies and found that Apple in 2012 alone avoided paying US$9 billion in US taxes, using a strategy involving three offshore units with no discernible tax home, or “residence”.

The press office of the subcommittee did not immediately return a request for comment on Cook’s remarks.

Apple holds US$181.1 billion in offshore profits, more than any other US company and would owe an estimated US$59.2 billion in taxes if it tried to bring the money back to the United States, a recent study based on SEC filings showed.

The current tax code was made for the Industrial Age, and not the “digital age”, Cook said.

“It’s backwards. It’s awful for America. It should have been fixed many years ago.”

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