Apple's Tim Cook: We Pay Every Dollar in Taxes Owed

Apple's CEO disputes claims that his company evades billions of dollars in U.S. taxes by shifting profits off shore

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    Apple's CEO disputes claims that his company evades billions of dollars in U.S. taxes by shifting profits off shore (Published Tuesday, May 21, 2013)

    Apple's CEO is disputing assertions by a Senate panel that the company avoids billions of dollars in U.S. taxes by shifting profits to foreign affiliates.

    Tim Cook testified at a hearing Tuesday by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which released a damning report Monday on Apple's tax practices.

    "We pay all the taxes we owe every single dollar,'' Cook said. "We don't depend on tax gimmicks.''

    Cook, who is more accustomed to commanding a stage in front of investors and techies than facing a congressional committee, took a defensive tone with his opening statement.

    He punched out words when stressing the 600,000 jobs that the company supports and noting that Apple is the nation's largest corporate taxpayer.

     Apple's enormous, iPhone-fueled profits mean that it has more cash stashed overseas than any other company: $102 billion.

    Cook reaffirmed Apple's position that given the current U.S. tax rate, it has no intention of bringing that cash back to the U.S. Like other companies, it has a responsibility to shareholders to pay as little as possible in taxes.
     
    In effect, Apple is holding out for a lower corporate tax rate, and Cook spent some of his time in the spotlight to advocate for one, accompanied by a streamlining of the tax code to eliminate deductions and credits.
     
     Cook, who is more accustomed to commanding a stage in front of investors and techies than facing a congressional committee, took a defensive tone with his opening statement. He punched out words when stressing the 600,000 jobs that the company supports while adding that Apple is the nation's largest corporate taxpayer.

    At the same time, Cook said he was happy to appear to be able to give Apple's side of the story.

    "I'm saying it's who we are as people. ... Wherever we are, we're an American company,'' Cook insisted when asked about Apple's use of affiliate companies in Ireland.
     
    It was the first time an Apple CEO testified before Congress. Cook did so voluntarily. He appeared with Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer and Head of Tax Operations Phillip Bullock.

    Sen. John McCain praised Apple as a success story but called its tax strategy "reflects a flawed corporate tax system."

    The former Republican presidential nominee said, "It is a system that allows large multinational corporations to shift profits offshore to low-tax jurisdictions. For years, Apple has opted to forgo fully contributing to the U.S. Treasury and to American society by shifting profits and circumventing U.S. taxes."