Senator John McCain eyes Apple’s $54 billion overseas cash pile

“Some $54bn of the lucre Apple’s reaped from its iPods, iPhones and iPads is outside the US,” Richard Blackden reports for The Telegraph.

“Apple’s pile is a mere fraction of the $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion of profits that JPMorgan Chase estimates US companies have locked away overseas,” Blackden reports. “As the US recovery stumbles, this wall of cash is becoming an increasing source of agitation to some in Congress. And it revolves around the hottest political and economic subject in America at the moment: tax reform.”

“Senator John McCain last month became the latest, and certainly highest-profile politician, to push for a plan to get the money back. He wants the tax that companies pay when they repatriate their cash to be cut to 8.75% [from 35%] for one year – a tax holiday that supporters insist will unleash a wave of money that will roll into America and create jobs,” Blackden reports. “Dave Camp, the Republican chairman of the influential House Ways and Means Committee, is also pushing a similar plan.”

Blackden reports, “There’s no mystery why its appeal sharpens as weeks go by. The economy mustered growth of just 0.6pc last quarter and there’s little immediate reason for optimism in 2012. Any stimulus based on government spending will be stamped DOA – Dead on Arrival – a nasty little acronym much used in the US. That’s before politicians begin tackling the more than $14 trillion of national debt, creating another headwind for the economy. Those companies with the biggest foreign cash piles have sensed that momentum is shifting and are lobbying vigorously. ‘We’re better off with these dollars inside the country,’ says Dean Garfield, chief executive of the Information Technology Industry Council, a group whose members include Microsoft, Google and Apple.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Google joins Apple in push for U.S. repatriation tax holiday – October 3, 2011
Apple lobbies Obama for tax holiday, wants to bring overseas bounty home – August 24, 2011
U.S Senate Democrat Schumer allies with Apple, other multinationals on repatriation tax talks – June 21, 2011
U.S. companies push for tax break on foreign cash – June 20, 2011
Apple, Oracle, Duke Energy, others organize lobbying blitz for tax holiday – February 17, 2011


      1. I didn’t read the whole article, I see he wants them to bring it home at the lower rate.
        I quickly skimmed through it thinking it was the typical money grab by congress to money that’s not theirs, but they want to tax and spend it..
        Which is the main reason companies keep it overseas to begin with.

      2. Why haven’t Apple been paying taxes on those billions anyway? Surely they’ve been declared on their profit statements.

        Or is this yet another ridiculous tax loophole in the US that Apple are just taking advantage of? Surely if the US government mandated that all profits declared by US companies have to be taxed as if they were in the US they could dramatically cut the corporation tax for all businesses across the country? Think of the effect that would have on the US economy.

        1. Nope. Completely off track. Money earned overseas is taxed by the countries it is earned in. Bringing it back here means that Apple has to pay taxes on it twice.

        2. Well I fail to see how suggesting ways to mitigate such a ridiculous system can be described as “commie” especially when the result of said suggestion benefits small and medium sized US businesses and their owners.

          Unless of course the commentator is completely ignorant of what “commie” actually refers to 😉

        3. Apple and all the other companies made this money in other countries and already paid taxes on that money in those countries. For instance, do you really think it makes sense that Apple Japan should have to pay taxes to Japan for money they earned in Japan and then pay the US for that same money they earned in Japan if that money stays in Japan? To me that sounds ridiculous. If they money never comes back to the US then the US should not get any of it.

        4. And WHY did they GO to those countries in the first place? Tax breaks and low wages. Just because they paid a few bucks in taxes to that country doesn’t mean that they “really” paid tax.

          Anyway, that’s a side point. The reality is… imposing an import tax is the same thing.

        5. Actually, no taxes have been paid on the overseas profits – that’s why they are overseas; they pay no taxes until the money comes home. Ask Google, they were just busted by the IRS for booking domestic profits to overseas operations to avoid taxes. The money needs to taxed at normal income rates with credit given for taxes paid. Just like every other “citizen”.

        6. According to a recent report that tries to expose companies that don’t pay taxes, Apple pays 31.3% on its US income, over the last 3 years, or about $4.4 BILLION.

          The question is why you presume Apple is not paying taxes?

          Now, Apple PAYS taxes on income earned overseas, already. It pays what those foreign countries require. The question is why the US, requires US companies to pay again, as if those products were sold in the US, when those products were not? Most other developed countries do not tax income a 2nd time if the relevant taxes have been paid in the country of sale. It’d be like California applying sales tax to a product sold in Maine, just because the company was based in California, even though sales tax had already been paid in Maine.

        7. If YOU work overseas, or have investment income overseas, the IRS WILL make you pay US taxes on it. If you don’t, and they find out, then you will face the same penalties you would as if you earned it here.

          If corporations don’t have to pay it, then they should be happy. But I see no reason why they shouldn’t pay the 35% tax if they want to bring it back.

          Our jobs issue is NOT how much money companies have in the US – many US companies have posted record profits in the last two years – THE ISSUE IS A LACK OF DEMAND.

          It doesn’t matter how much of this hoard they bring back, it won’t create a single job, period!

        8. Yes, but the US is the only major developed country that does this.

          And, this creates an incentive for US corps with foreign profits to reinvest those profits overseas, rather than bring them back to get taxed further.

        9. No, actually you do not pay taxes on money you earn working overseas unless you make more than $96,000. You earn that first $96,000 free of US taxes, and only pay tax on what you earn above that. Get your facts straight before you spout off…

        10. MisterME is correct.
          I lived and worked overseas for 26 years and was funded by an American organization with US dollars. I paid INCOME taxes there but Social Security was paid for the US. Under $96,000 was not taxed in the US.

          One thing NOT mentioned so far, maybe below is that in some countries, they charge from minimal to 80% to repatriate that in-country profit back to the US. Each country is different and exceptions are made in most cases.

        11. They don’t technically “pay again.” What the story fails to mention is companies get a 100% credit of any taxes they paid to a foreign government on the money they repatriate. So if they made $100 and paid yourgovernmenthere $20. Then they pay the US the balance of $15 for a _combined_ tax rate of 35%

        12. Correct, they’re not paying more than 35% in aggregate. However, the notion is one of tax sovereignty. If your subsidiary does business in a country, respecting all of its tax laws, then why should it be penalized for bringing those funds back? Those funds weren’t earned here. The additional US repatriation taxes paid do not result in any additional benefits received. The net result is that companies keep that cash where it was earned.

        13. Dave, grow a brain. Please. Think about it: if you had a choice of bending over, grabbing your ankles and being taxed at a rate of 35% on every penny you save, or having the chance to park it offshore without taxes, what would you do?

          On second thought, you might like the pain.

          It’s our government’s fault for creating the disincentive for companies like Apple to park money offshore. Thanks to our geniuses in the House and Senate, you have this situation. Of course, to those camping out and banging the drum all day, any business large or small that makes even a penny of profit is evil. The State should take all money from businesses, make them beholden to unions and the Socialist State and have all business owners submit for daily flogging and be volunteer to be sent to Socialist people’s re-education and labor camps.

          But then, these trust-fund children demanding all this can always book a limo back to the Hamptons when it gets too cold or boring to raise hell in a park in the south end of Manhattan, and never mind that they’re suckling on the teats of a father who is probably a Wall Street Hedge Fund partner anyway.

          Classic “do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do” mentality.

      3. Actually, you don’t know what Apple “wants”, nor does anyone know whether Apple has been “lobbying for it”. Of all the large companies with large amounts of profits overseas, Apple spends the least on “lobbying”. Now, it stands to reason that any company, including Apple, would not like to be taxed again on its profits earned overseas. If you sell a product in a foreign country and pay taxes in that foreign country, why should you have to pay more taxes in the US?

        1. Actually it’s based on this story I read on MDN :

          Apparently Apple has been pushing the government to allow them to repatriate the money. I can assume that Apple “wants” this based on the fact they asked for it or do you think Apple doesn’t actually want this and is just asking to be a pest? Maybe it’s a big joke and Apple just wants to see if the government will say yes. Then Apple will scamper off giggling.

        2. Yes, but if you read that story carefully, there was no actual evidence of Apple doing anything. Apple is part of a group that is pushing for tax reform. Apple spends very little on lobbying, much less than virtually every other company, and yet this article makes Apple seem like a ringleader. They don’t know diddly. I wrote the editor, and they altered the headline over the video that accompanies the article to make it less inflammatory. There’s no doubt that any company would like to see lower taxes, but the notion that Apple is the ringleader is just hearsay.

    1. I am all for companies bringing the $$$ home but:
      1. Was the money shoveled offshore to avoid taxes in the first place?
      2. Was the profit already taxed by foreign governments?
      3. Is this really a problem with ridiculous tax loopholes or absurd tax rates in the U.S or idiotic, convoluted U.S. tax code?

      I have pretty good faith that Apple will do very smart stuff with its money, but I afraid other companies will waste it on undeserved bonuses, stupid acquisitions and unnecessary corporate jets, wasting their stockholders investments.

      If there is a way to make sure that companies invest in new jobs, this idea would be fantastic, but I don’t see how the government can do that without wasting even more money.

      1. It wasn’t shoveled there, it was earned there. Apple earns massive profits in other countries by selling things, like…I don’t know, phones maybe or computers (they sell those right?) or maybe Apple branded slurpee machines or something.

      2. Answers:
        1) Yes, by some companies, like Google, who moved their search algorithm IP offshore for tax reasons.
        2) Yes, the income was already taxed by foreign governments.
        3) No, nothing to do with tax loopholes or absurd rates, it’s just a question of sovereignty. Very few countries tax a company’s profits a 2nd time if they have already paid the relevant taxes in the original country of sale. As I noted in another post, it’s like California applying sales tax to a product sold in Maine, even though Maine sales tax was paid, just because the company is based in California.

        As for wasting the money, it won’t be wasted on “bonuses”, as this is declared income. Bonuses have already been subtracted.

        I have proposed that for every 1000 jobs created in the US, over the last 5 years, the company can bring back $1B tax-free. For a company like Apple that has probably created over 30,000 US jobs in the last 5 years, that would mean being able to bring about half of that cash back.

        1. This is a pretty complicated issue and I think your answers point to that. I really like your idea about tying repatriation of profits to job creation. Helps to separate the wheat from the chafe.

        2. It has everything to do with tax loopholes. Almost all large companies in the early 90’s (remember when the budget balanced under Clinton?) moved all of their Intellectual Property (IP) to offshore to tax havens and low tax rate countries. To do that, companies had to fair value the IP, and paid a one time tax on that value (hence the budget balanced for a few years). Since then, those same companies have been charging royalties (off shore income) to use the IP, (now owned by tax haven off shore companies) against the US operations (tax deduction). This is a significant portion of the proceeds these companies want to now return without tax!

    2. If you do an EGG graph with LATTE curves adjusted for PBAJ, showing overall cash based on repatriation and tax fluctuation over time, Apple saved a cool 20 billion by waiting for a tax holiday that will likely come.

    3. @ FTB : perhaps you are unaware of the legal concepts at play here. Let me refresh you:

      In the USA, the people are sovereign. The people elect representatives to effectively manage the workings of society (government). These representatives can be replaced if they do not act in good faith to accomplish what the majority of people wish.

      State governments grant charters for the creation of legal business entities: Sole Proprietorships, Cooperatives, Limited Liability Corporations, and so forth. If these business entities break laws or do not act in good faith within the bounds granted in the charter, or simply no longer act in the best interest of the sovereign people, then THE SOVEREIGN CAN REVOKE THE CHARTER.

      I think we all agree that Apple does more good than evil. However, don’t forget that the existence of Apple to conduct its business is granted by the people — not by Apple’s board of directors, by Apple’s management, or by Apple’s employees. The people of the state of California hold sovereignty. If Californians aren’t happy with Apple or any business in their state for any legitimate reason, they can and do revoke business charters. It is not outside of the realm of reality that offshoring corporate profits into tax havens is against the interests of the sovereign people in the state which grants Apple the right to exist.

      Now if you believe that American democracy is old-fashioned and that multinational corporations should be able to do whatever they want, wherever they want, trodding over national sovereignties with impunity, then we have another discussion.

      1. 1. I’m not sure but Apple is likely incorporated in Delaware as most C Corps are due to delaware’s insanely flexible corporate code and experience specialized corporate law court.

        2. Corporations are generally held to only have a fiduciary duty to its shareholders. US corporate statutes including California’s require little of a corporation but to adhere to the minimal corporate formaltities ( annual meeting, centralized power separate from shareholder etc.), to pursue lawfully making money and paying taxes. As long as no laws are violated then there is no issue no matter how to the line a corp may tread.

        3. Even if California citizens decided to alter the state corporate statute to be more burdensome and create a new affirmative duty in regards to taxing money made oversees it would simple spurr and exodus of businesses out of Ca to more business friendly states. A business can incorporate and operate in any state it wishes to. There is nothing geographically specially about silicon valley. Those corporations would just move out and create a new one somewhere else.

        1. @jlamb:

          1) surprisingly no – Apple is incorporated in CA

          2) not quite. corporations must also act within the charter specifically granted to them. as you noted, most US corporations go to Delaware, which offers amongst the least restrictive charters on the planet. however, the professional MANAGERS of said corporation are indeed bound by interpretation of several different corporate laws that they must execute their contractual purpose: to provide maximum fiscal returns to investors.

          3) this is exactly why corporations hold the upper hand: they play states off one another, and they play countries off of one another. and now, with their multinational size, they are “too big to fail”. No single government is willing to exercise authority over them. Or, as in the case of the USA, the government representatives are now effectively puppets for them, so corporations are now writing their own regulations and electing their own puppets — directly undermining the sovereign rights of the people and the democracy that our forefathers put in place.

          As Jamie Dimon actually admitted, the 99% protestors actually have good points. Corporatocracy that was spread under the guise of “free market” and “free trade” has yielded an unbalanced playing field exploited by the few. Commerce has been corrupted to disproportionately reward the leaders of the corporation, not the sovereign people. Worse, corporate leaders have crushed the very democracy they claim to love by essentially buying elections and commanding the lobbying process such that no sovereign person has a legitimate voice in his own government.

          People, wake up and question the system we have, and realize that it needs reform. Corporations are not people, they are supposed to serve people. ALL people, not just shareholders or executives or employees.

  1. So the companies want to bring the money back, congress wants to bring the money back and I’m sure everyday joe wouldn’t argue against it. So why don’t they get off their arses and do it?

    1. Any repatriation tax whatsoever is considered too much by most large corporations. Lower it to 0.001% and you’d still have multi-millionaire CEOs balking at it.

      And many politicians would refuse to lower it in the first place because they want that sweet 35% for themselves.

      But it’s all moot anyway. Tax money collected by the government goes largely towards private jets and luxury yachts for Sentor Douchebag, not fixing the economy.

      Likewise, profits collected by big business largely go towards private jets and luxury yachts for CEO Turdy McTurd, and do nothing whatsoever to fix the economy either.

      So actual problem is with all the douches and turds in politics and in the boardroom. Until that’s addressed, raising taxes, lowering taxes, repatriation… Ha! None of it makes a damned bit of difference.

      1. We always get back to capital for investment. You can hang the so-called fatcats if you want, but the wealth of the country comes from investment- if Apple or anyone else think they can profit from expanding business here, they will do it. If they can do better somewhere else, the money will go there. It’s global competition for investment money- and if you take their toys away they will move- rich people can live anywhere- and of you make doing business harder here than anywhere else, well, good luck with your increased share of nothing 😉

  2. McCain is on Apple’s side and he is on the right side of the issue, as is the case, more often than not.

    Obama, of course, opposes it, because his ultimate goal is instability in order to create the impression that people need massive government intervention into citizens’ daily lives in order to survive.

    1. You seriously believe a presidents goal is instability?!? That is ridiculous. I personally agree with McCain on this but I don’t think any president wants instability, thats verging on paranoia.
      People tend to disagree with things because they think they’re right. Obviously Obama thinks he’s right. I think he’s wrong but I don’t think he’s actually trying to destabilize the country.

      1. Implementing “Fundamental Transformation” can be destabilizing, or it can be achieved through destabilization of social norms.

        But really I think POTUS just believes that money belongs to the Gov and sees taxes as a means to get it.

      2. Haven’t you read Rules for Radicals? It’s basically the operating manual for implementing socialism into a country using the euphemistic term “community organizing.”

        The book was written by Saul Alinsky who was a mentor to Obama.

        1. Have you read the recent reports showing that upward mobility is much higher in socialist democracies than in the US? There’s smart socialism and dumb socialism, and there’s democratic socialism and totalitarian socialism. Just as there’s smart democracy and there’s “democracy” run by the people with the money, media, and power to shape public perception. I don’t think Obama is a socialist, but socialism isn’t the boogie-man anyway. Hyper-partisanship and an unbalanced economy based on greed is the enemy, not “socialism.”

      3. Communism is not a matter of one’s belief being right – it is an abomination to individual rights, period. Collectivism does not eliminate tyranny, it invites it, and the few dominate the many. It is not all for one, and one for all. It’s all for the guys at top and frack the rest. Wake up.

      4. In 2009, benefit of the doubt? Sure. In 2010, the argument was getting tougher. In 2011, there’s no doubt my friend.
        – Look at the industries he has targeted and in some cases shutting down.
        – Look at his stubborn insistence on repeating failed methods of economic stimulation, while ignoring the most simple answer, to trust the American people with their investments.
        – Look at the hatred he has verbalized against the success of this nation and the apologies he’s made to the world for it.
        – Look at the mentors he has studied, read THEIR literature on how to generate social instability and compare that with what is happening under his leadership.

        Oh and remember, the news is a product made for mass consumption. Don’t let them decide what you are permitted and not permitted to know.

    2. Wow. I believe that that is going to be too much truth for this group. Many years ago when the government believed that they should take their piece of the action (taxes), they created a wall blocking that money from being used on American soil. I believe that even the 8.75% is too much. Was that money already taxed in the country where the sale was made? Isn’t that double taxation? We are taxed at every step in each product or service. You are taxed in the phone, electric, gas, … bills. The real-estate tax. It goes on and on.

      It would be great if the government only did what they are suppose to in the founding documents and not what they created so they could get re-elected and gain power and wealth by playing the political system. If they did just that, would 1% to 5% create excess cash for them doing only what they were suppose to do and nothing else?

      Maybe it is time to hit the reset button before it locks up like Greece and many countries that came and went years ago.

      1. As Ken noted in a post above, if you paid taxes to the local foreign government when the money was made, you get a tax credit for that amount paid in taxes when you pay taxes here. So no, there’s no double taxation. If you paid higher taxes there, any tax owed here just might be zeroed out by that credit, but would almost certainly be greatly reduced.

        This is just a money grab by the Republicans, just as they always want to reduce taxes to corporations and the rich.

        Again, the problem we have today is NOT how much money the rich or corporations may have – both the top 1-2% and corporations have seen record profits and income in recent years. The problem is how much DEMAND companies see for their products – if there isn’t any demand, they won’t hire any more people, because they don’t need to produce any more goods! Why would they? The amount of money they have in the bank is not an issue in this situation because there is no reason to add to the workforce.

        If demand increases, they’ll need more workers to produce more goods. Simple, easy Economics 101.

    3. So you are saying that Obams created this recession that happened BEFORE was elected president and was caused by the Bush administration’s refusal to regulate the banks and stock brokers who destroyed this economy with the aid and assistance of the Republican administration?

        1. Educate yourself! The housing bubble was not the reason for the crash, but the bundling of subprime mortgages into “investment” packages, which were then sold to unwitting buyers, was. This whole thing blew up before Obama got into office and was caused because there were no regulations to prevent those “investment packages” from being created and sold.

          These aren’t “talking points”, for liberals or anybody else, but are well known and recognized by any reputable economist.

        2. OK, so the banks are required to give loans to people who can’t pay them back. Then from what you’re saying, they were supposed to just sit there and what, let themselves go bankrupt when these loans started defaulting en masse?
          Would it not have been better if the government left the proven housing mortgage system alone in the first place?
          How on EARTH can de-regulation be blamed for this mess? [face-palm]
          Like I said… talking points.

    1. Clearly America only taxes those profits if they reach US shores. As I posted above, apply it to all profits wherever they lay and massively drop the corporation taxes to compensate. Small businesses across the US would get one hell of a cash boost.

    1. Get a grip.

      Lucre is derived from the latin Lucrum which is gain or profit.

      It’s only when lucre became “filthy lucre” in Tyndale’s version of the Bible that its mainstream usage started to be used in a disparaging way.

      In and of itself, it’s a harmless word unless you’re a religious freak.

      1. You’re both right. I guess it depends on the dictionary you use. The New Oxford American Dictionary defines it as:

        lucre |ˈlo͞okər|
        money, esp. when regarded as sordid or distasteful or gained in a dishonorable way: officials getting their hands grubby with filthy lucre .

      2. Based on the article I’d say I nailed it. “Reaped” “Pile” “Locked Away” all make it sound [to me] like the writer thinks it’s ill gained and kept safely out of reach.

    1. What do you mean WHY businesses have been doing this? This is money legitimately made overseas by doing business–selling stuff to people outside the US. According to the rules, US taxes are not paid until the money is repatriated (brought back). The businesses do pay foreign taxes.

  3. Something is broken with tax code. Too many corporations and rich people have figured out how to legally not pay taxes. It should not be this complicated. It should not be so complicated and full of loopholes that allow the wealthy to use tricks to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

    1. The converse may also be true…too many poor people get away without paying their fair share as well. In my opinion, everyone should pay something. When nearly half of the people pay nothing they become consumers of government and will elect anyone who promised to give them more of the other people’s stuff. We all need skin in this game.

      1. Everyone should pay something. I wish we could throw out the entire tax code (over 80,000 pages) and replace with no more than three basic taxes that everyone sees.

        When taxes are visible, they are much harder to raise and force more fiscal discipline on gov’t. When the taxes are invisible, it’s far too easy to raise taxes.

        Gov’t can be just as much a entity of greed as as corporation.

      2. The “half the people pay nothing” is a red herring.

        Half the people pay little or no INCOME tax, because they make so little it’s like taking blood from a stone.

        They still pay sales tax on purchases, even if their “income” is in the form of welfare checks.

        1. If you pay sales taxes with money or the equivalent that you are given for just existing, you are not really out of pocket at all.

          You win the lottery and lose 25% to taxes, you didn’t really pay anything, did you.

      1. There are international treaties in place so that if taxes are levied in one signatory territory they will not be taxed again in a second. Whether the USA deems it too “communist” to sign such agreements I don’t know. I suspect they’re doing the usual thing and expecting the rest of the world to follow the US way, rather than falling in with other countries to the benefit of US citizens and businesses.

      2. It isn’t taxed twice, the US tax code allows for a tax credit on taxes paid to foreign governments. So any tax paid on that money overseas is credited to a tax bill here, so that bill is either smaller or even wiped out if enough was paid originally.

        1. Then can someone please explain what Apple and co. are complaining about here? Are these corporations pulling the usual rights without responsibilities crap they’ve been allowed to get away with for too long?

    2. Changing the tax code will not stimulate the economy. The flat tax, fair tax, whatever you want to call it. None of that fad talk does anything to improve the economy.

      The economy works when there are transactions. As long as govt discourages transactions by regulations, uncertainty, and fiscal irresponsibility, the economy will be stagnant.

      Let’s get some basics. If you or your company pays the government x% in taxes then they own you or your company by x% (just like an investor). If the govt rgulates you or your company then they own you (just like an investor). The problem is the govt is a forced investor (aka a parasite)

      The govt has become the owner of our souls the more it regulates and taxes. This is the premise used to say we lose our freedoms when the govt is too busy getting into our business, personal or otherwise.

      Once the transactions start then the govt will reap the increase in tax revenue. Taxes are paid on transactions. Taxes pay for common service so I am not advocating eliminating taxes, just minimizes them and regulation.

    3. Your comment has nothing to do with the quoted article.
      The money was already taxed by the foreign nations where it was earned. It’s not out of the country in some tax shelter.

      And what you call a loophole, I call a legal way to avoid having the government take what is mine.

      Let me ask you, when you do your taxes do you take the standard deduction or do you itemize in order to pay less? If you itemize and pay less, then you just used a ‘loophole’.

      I do agree that the tax code is needlessly complex and wastes billion/year supporting a tax prep industry that contributes nothing tangible to our economy except shifting wealth.
      That’s why I like the idea of a flat tax.

      1. ” … the tax code is needlessly complex and wastes billion/year …”

        It does not waste billions If it does anything it creates transactions (aka improve the economy) which generates more taxes to pay for govt services most of us dont use.

        BTW, what do you mean it shifts wealth?

  4. well duh…socialism does not work, every dollar in taxation by the Federal Government, regardless if its a corporation or the guy who picks up your trash on Tuesdays, has destroyed what was the once the economic envy of world history.

  5. This cash is left offshore due to the US’s antiquated tax code. Canada, UK and many other countries would allow these profits to be repatriated tax-free, and why shouldn’t they be? They were earned by an active business in a foreign jurisdiction (and already been taxed there) – why is the US trying to tax it?

    1. Itd,
      You are absolutely correct. The US had nothing to do with the income and would benefit greatly by having it reside in the US – the so-called foreign tax havens where US corporations allegedly “shelter” their cash are just the locations where the income was earned and the US tax code keeps it there by claiming a right to tax it at 35% if it is brought to the US. – McCain is fighting for Apple on this but 8% is still an exorbitant tax rate on money that has already been taxed. I’m sure Apple would pay a dividend to “investors in their success” , i.e.., shareholders, if they didn’t have to uselessly pay the US for the privilege of earning it elsewhere. A 0% rate on bring the money into the US is the only valid taxation rate. Conversely, for money earned in the US – okay, the going taxation rate is fair.

  6. Normally, I’m against giving tax breaks to big corporations. In this case, Apple is earning 2/3 of their money overseas. Not only is there a corporate tax, but the currency exchange hits them. Multinational corporations spend money overseas- There will always be people and factories to be built… If the money has to stay overseas, then the factories will be built with the foreign currency. It stands to reason that most of Apple’s factories will get built overseas then.
    The corporate tax McCain is trying to get rid of basically amounts to a subsidy for shipping jobs out of the country.

    1. Two issues. Apple probably hasn’t been agrressvie with dividends or share buybacks becasue the majority of the money is oversseas. Not such a good deal for investors if Apple brings back the money at 35% and then pays a dividend which is taxed at 15%. Taxes would suck up 50% of the amount remitted back and paid as a dividend. If used for share buybacks, the cost to buy a share at 400 is actually $615 because to buy a share at 400 Apple would have to bring back $615 and pay 35% in taxes. So for domestic uses Apple looks at the $27 billion currently held in the US – not a lot considering planned construction/store openings/R&D etc.

      1. No. And yet, this is exactly what the IRS is doing. They’ve already hit several dual-citizenship friends who haven’t lived in the US since they were like 5, have never earned money in the US, but the IRS wants a cut anyway. Assholes.

        This is also why for one couple I know, if they ever win the lottery it’s the Canadian wife who wins it, because the IRS would be all over the dual-citizenship husband for the winnings (that’s right, in Canada lottery winnings are NOT taxed).

        1. My understanding is that you can get a waiver, if you sign a document at the US embassy or consulate stating that you have no intention of setting foot in the US over the 12 month taxable period. Or at least that was the case in the 90s.

  7. I don’t get it. WHy would Apple want to bring that money back even at a reduced rate? If they paid tax on it already, and if they need it to continue to expand and flourish outside of the US, even at 1% I see no reason to bring it back. Does McCain just see a way to grab extra money. That makes him look like a tax and spend Democrat that the Republicans always seem to comment about.

  8. Fuck off McCain.

    These greedy politicians are fucking retards. This money is not the US’s money. It’s not from US citizens and you have no divine right to get your fat, slimy, arrogant fingers on it just because a company happens to be based in the US.

    IMO Apple shouldn’t even think about trying to bring this money to the US unless need to pool it to put it to direct use. Instead put that money back to use in those regions.

  9. here’s a simple economic reasoning to repatriate the money

    you inject 1 trillion back into the coffers of the US
    – the 8.75% tax – $87.5 billion into the IRS
    – the remaining 912.5 billion will return to the company

    of that 912 half will definitely not be spent and continued to be saved for rainy days…the rest will be invested and some will be doled out in bonus’s to the staff/executives/shareholders. The amount invested will depend on what the company could invest in. if it’s a mature company, then more will be doled out to staff/stockholders.

    But that’s not bad news…if all 500 million is given to staff/investors, that money will now be injected into the economy. MOre cars/houses/vacations/retail spending, which is it’s own stimulus. Of course gov’t isn’t that far away so there’s income tax/sales tax and stronger property values/taxes.

    IF the company has something to invest in, jobs will be created, which in turn provides more people with income which in turn is again going to stimulate car/house/retail shopping.

  10. Unfortunately, Obama (and Pelosi-Reid) won’t do this, even though Jobs had asked for this a long time ago, because it doesn’t fit with their narrative of being tough against evil business people who make too much money. They know it would help but they refuse to do it for political points. 2012 elections, please come quickly.

  11. Another political red herring. Businesses have $2.3 trillion in the bank. If they repatriate and reinvest it all, they get a tax break on it. They will pay higher dividends and bonuses which generate little income for the government. They are all welcome to move out of the USA. I did. If they want to stay, they have to pay. Why people are not willing to pay for the “greatest country on Earth” is beyond me.

    1. “Why people are not willing to pay for the “greatest country on Earth” is beyond me.”

      I dont mind paying for the greatest country on earth. I do mind paying for services I dont use and I do mind feeding the corruption.

      If you can find a way to avoid paying taxes, do it.

      1. @ pistotnik: your argument fails. First, you can’t identify the services you do and don’t use, or the benefits you enjoy in the USA that aren’t available elsewhere — i suspect this may be because you’ve never lived outside the USA I have. M. Lindley also walked the talk. If you live in the USA, you should know that you’re enjoying services that you haven’t even paid for — that’s why the fed is in debt up to its knees. yes, i wrote that correctly: up to its knees. We’re not near historical levels of debt as a fraction of GDP. What we are in is a period of slow growth and political gridlock, for which partisan politicians are blaming everyone but themselves.

        if you owe taxes, pay them. don’t wrap yourself in the flag and then tell us that a democratically-elected government is “the problem”. If your taxes are “too high”, find another nation that offers a better tax environment for you. good luck. Much as right-wingers bitch about corporate tax rates, i don’t see any of the Fortune 500 companies moving headquarters abroad. why would they? their puppet congressmen in DC will pass another tax loophole anytime they want it.

  12. It is like Nintendo years ago. They had almost no profit in the US as they made a deal elsewhere in the world to pay not taxes in that country for 10 years. Why not keep the cash in that country where there is no tax is. They would sell Nintedo US the boxes for almost the selling price so the profits are left in the another country. Now it seems in deals like this the cash just sits there as it cant be brought into the US without paying the additional taxes.

  13. Why bring back the money to the US to be unfairly double-taxed when politicians will squander it in no time at all? The money should stay put until the politicians come to their senses that this money should not be abused for their political chicanery.

    1. @vsp: you mean to say, ‘why bring back any more money than is necessary to grease the palms of our favorite corporate lackey representatives and fund lobbyist efforts required to write our own legislation’?

      no one here is naive. we know that corporations make money overseas, and they use capital to expand overseas. all that’s great. however, as we all know, corporations now are hindering the economy by hoarding cash overseas — profits earned from US citizens who are now struggling. profits earned by screwing workers in the 3rd world with horrid working conditions an ecological destruction. There is no morally defensible argument to support this kind of capitalism. Apple is far from the worst, but it’s still far from an upstanding ethical example of how one would want his neighbor to act.

      The system must be changed to disincentivize gold hoarding. gold hoarding is not “free market”. if our bastardized brand of capitalism doesn’t efficiently promote the free exchange of wealth, goods, and services to ALL people fairly, then we need to fix it. 6 billion people on a planet of 7 billion people would tell you that reform is long overdue. here’s a humble suggestion: how about a law that prevents any company from paying a compensation of any one employee more than 10 times that of any other person in the company? That means janitor to CEO, 10 times difference in total annual compensation. Everyone wins or everyone loses together. Or is that too little for Wall Street brokers to skim off of what they disingenuously call the “free market”?

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