Not in Taxes anymore: On site at Apple’s famous Irish ‘headquarters’

“The biggest technology company on Earth has a sizable portion of its operations here on the outskirts of Cork, a provincial town in southern Ireland, up a hill past a traffic circle marked with a large statue of Jesus Christ on the cross,” Vivienne Walt reports for Fortune. “In other words, this is about as far as one can get from Apple’s Silicon Valley base of Cupertino, more than five thousand miles away.”

MacDailyNews Take: Close. Only 7,400 miles off from as far as one can get from Cupertino.

“And yet Cork — population about 120,000 — is home to five of Apple’s global subsidiaries, including Apple Sales International, which manages the company’s gargantuan global distribution and sales of iPads, iPhones, computers, and its many other devices. (Also here are Apple Operations Europe, Apple Operations International, Apple Distribution International, and Apple Operations,)” Walt reports. “Yet there are no multi-lane highways across the street from its redbrick and glass building. Rather, a pair of horses munches on a rangy patch of grass, near to an empty soccer field, while a few miles away, dairy cows laze on the green fields of Blarney under a stormy sky — just as they did decades ago, when Steve Jobs flew into Cork in 1980 to open Apple’s overseas operation.”

MacDailyNews Take: That’s a football field, Viv. You know, the real football.

Walt reports, “From the front, Apple HQ could well be mistaken for a high school, bland and modern, and just three stories high. And foot traffic is thin enough that when Fortune wandered up to the entrance on Tuesday morning, security guards quickly took notice. Was there anyone we could say hello to, we asked? No, the nearest public-relations staffer was in London. Despite that, the activities inside this modest building have provoked a firestorm in Washington, which has now rippled all the way back to Ireland. In U.S. Senate hearings last May, Apple struggled to explain how it had managed to avoid an estimated $44 billion or so in U.S. taxes, by taking advantage of Ireland’s 12.5% corporate tax rate, as well as mechanisms that effectively rendered it stateless for tax purposes.”

MacDailyNews Take: If by “struggled,” you mean having U.S. Senators eating out of your hand, you’d be correct.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The U.S. corporate tax rate is way too high. Obviously.

Under the current U.S. corporate tax system, it would be very expensive to repatriate that cash. Unfortunately, the tax code has not kept up with the digital age. The tax system handicaps American corporations in relation to our foreign competitors who don’t have such constraints on the free flow of capital… Apple has always believed in the simple, not the complex. You can see it in our products and the way we conduct ourselves. It is in this spirit that we recommend a dramatic simplification of the corporate tax code. This reform should be revenue neutral, eliminate all corporate tax expenditures, lower corporate income tax rates and implement a reasonable tax on foreign earnings that allows the free flow of capital back to the U.S. We make this recommendation with our eyes wide open, realizing this would likely increase Apple’s U.S. taxes. But we strongly believe such comprehensive reform would be fair to all taxpayers, would keep America globally competitive and would promote U.S. economic growth.Apple CEO Tim Cook, May 21, 2013

Related articles:
Senators Levin, McCain say Ireland faces questions even as Apple tax loophole tightened – October 16, 2013
Ireland to close Apple’s tax loophole, but leave bigger one open – October 15, 2013
U.S. SEC ends review of Apple taxes, overseas cash – October 5, 2013
Obama, world leaders push big companies like Apple, Google to pay more taxes – September 6, 2013
G20 think tank OECD proposes blueprint for global crackdown on tax avoidance – July 19, 2013
Apple again faces scrutiny after paying no UK corporate taxes for 2012 – July 1, 2013
Bloomberg News’ awful reporting on Apple’s U.S. corporate taxes – May 30, 2013
Thomas Sowell on Apple, corporate taxes, and ‘the road to serfdom’ – May 28, 2013
Former Senator Sununu: Congress wrote the tax laws, so why blame Apple for obeying them? – May 28, 2013
Taxing Apple just taxes you – May 24, 2013
Don’t tax Apple, tax its shareholders – May 24, 2013
If Apple paid more tax, we might pay less or something – May 22, 2013
Apple CEO Tim Cook pounds another nail into the Keynesian coffin – May 22, 2013
Apple CEO Cook makes no apology for company’s tax strategy – May 22, 2013
Apple CEO Tim Cook charms Capitol Hill – May 22, 2013
Rush Limbaugh: ‘High-tech lynching: Senate attempts to crucify Apple’ – May 21, 2013
Nobody on U.S. Senate committee laid a glove on Apple CEO Tim Cook – May 21, 2013
Senator Rand Paul: Senate committee ‘should apologize to Apple for bullying one of America’s greatest success stories’ (with video) – May 21, 2013
Ireland: We have no special tax rate deal with Apple – May 21, 2013
Apple prepares for Washington onslaught: CEO Tim Cook isn’t taking any chances with senators looking to grandstand – May 21, 2013
Watch Apple CEO Tim Cook’s live testimony before U.S. Senate, starting at 9:30am EDT – May 21, 2013
U.S. Senate investigation found no evidence that Apple did anything illegal in avoiding taxes – May 20, 2013
Apple pays under 2% on overseas profits and it’s entirely legal – November 5, 2012
Google, Apple, eBay shouldn’t pay taxes – people should pay taxes – November 25, 2012
So how much did Apple really pay in taxes? – November 1, 2012
Apple’s showdown with the U.S. government over taxes on offshore cash – July 13, 2012
Apple‘s $74 billion tops list of U.S. tech companies’ overseas cash – July 9, 2012
Apple’s dividend move puts spotlight on foreign cash holdings, repatriation tax reform – March 20, 2012
Apple: Good start; and what about the overseas cash? – March 19, 2012
Apple’s foreign cash hoard piles up: $54 billion and rapidly growing – January 11, 2012
Senator John McCain eyes Apple’s $54 billion overseas cash pile – November 3, 2011
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

64 Comments

      1. I doubt this will get through that tin-foil hat you’re wearing–and even if it did, it’ll probably get drowned out by the other voices in your head–but not everything is Obama’s doing. So just shut up and stop making comments about Obama that have nothing to do with the article at hand. And, more accurately, comments that don’t have anything to do with anything, ever.

        Just. Shut. Up.

          1. “When it comes to Comrade Botvinnik, “shut up” is as articulate an argument as needs be presented because he seems incapable of comprehending anything more complex.” -Anonymous

            Look, Botvinnik is a troll who comes into articles and posts anti-Obama rants. The problem is, the articles he chooses usually have nothing to do with Obama, and his rants have nothing to do with the actual, legitimate gripes normal, rational people have with Obama, many of which could be grounds for impeachment proceedings. Instead, he relies on hyperbolic statements that come off as delusional–the kinds of things a conspiracy theorist would spout–and attempts to derail any meaningful discussion about the article at hand.

            So you’ll have to excuse me if my response to him is a form of “shut up!” Any other response would be giving him and his ludicrous worldview more credit than either deserves.

            1. I submit that the Jeffersonian constitutional “world view” is the philosophy that created the greatest republic in the history of men. The pinnacle of individual liberty and economic opportunity. I further submit if you’re so blind that you cannot see that is being destroyed by statist evil and refuse to fight that evil then you’re either in possession of a third-class mind or condone it.

            2. Or, I’m not a crackpot conspiracy theorist who links completely unconnected topics in a highly obnoxious fashion.

              Your bitching on an Apple fan site doesn’t do squat to save the country you so love. So either take real action like the patriot you claim to be, or shut up. Either way, keep it off MDN.

              (Also, holding up Jefferson as the bastion of constitutional values is laughable, considering he committed the most questionable (or blatantly unconstitutional) actions of any of our early presidents.)

            3. Wow, I’m surprised that you even allow for more than two choices in your reductive, close-minded view of the world. Keep up with the ignorant demagoguery and conspiracy theories, Rusty Shackleford. You’ll be left with a wasted and empty life at the end, while the rest of the world will forget you and keep on as it always has.

            4. Braver than a do-nothing fool raging against the machine on an Apple blog like you. You’re not opening anyone else up to your delusional viewpoint. Even those who want to see Obama held accountable for his actions, abuses, and failures wouldn’t side with filth like you.

            5. Thank you for the kind words, King George. I’ll continue to fight against tyranny and cowardice with every ounce of energy and intellect I possess along with the rest of my fellow colonial filth. You have inspired me to redouble my efforts. Thanks again.

        1. … have taken an Apple-related conversation directly into a non-Apple-related conversation – Off Topic – and, from there, into personal defamation.
          MDN: it is YOUR responsibility to smack this @$$ upside the head. Do NOT try to support his statements with the 1st Amendment, you are NOT the government and do NOT need to allow him to post libelous material.

          1. @ OK … that’s it!!! You …
            ‘now, little boy lost, he takes himself so seriously,
            he brags of his misery, he likes to live dangerously,
            and when bringing her name up, speaks of a farewell kiss to me.’ etc. etc.

            pearls before swine, botvinnik, they’re exclusively linear thinkers

    1. Saw this caption on a political cartoon yesterday (with apologies to the two cities cited as examples, for they are fine cities populated by good Americans):

      Limit all politicians to two terms.
      One in office.
      One in prison.
      Detroit and Chicago already do this.

  1. Without getting political, the government wants to bite off the hand that feeds it. The company that pays the most amount of tax in the world to America – they try to publicly humiliate. If they need to change the law… then do that. Clearly Apple, like every other big business will try to be as profitable as possible within the law. It’s illegal for them not to put shareholders first and be as tax efficient as possible.

    Instead of this, the government should be asking them for help as to how to run the country. It gets ridiculous – rather than focusing on leeching of success and wanting to waste more money, they should be learning from them and trying to invest wisely. Other companies in the world will be looking on and thinking it’s not a good idea to move to the U.S. (and add to the economy and pay taxes). They will be running scared as they’ll see the government wanting to take everything – even offshore profits. They are targeting Silicon Valley and if they persist, it will be a disaster.

    So shortsighted. So ignorant. So counterproductive.

    1. Isn’t this the other shoe dropping, though? First corporations said,”Why tax us on money we’re making overseas? We’re not using it in this country, it doesn’t make sense!” Plus, you end up getting taxed by that country PLUS the US.

      So, they lobbied government to change the rules so that it seems more fair. If you’re a global business and you’ve got an office in France that sells to the French, then you only pay their taxes as long as you don’t bring that money back to the US. In the event that you NEED to bring some of that money back, pay a one time tax at that point. The companies at the time that had the laws written couldn’t conceive of a time when they’d be able to make more profit than operating costs in other countries.

      Now, they’re saying,”Hey, we’ve got all this money overseas that we want to bring back.” Seems to me they should just write up a new law and submit it, and that’s that. 🙂 Seriously though, the companies had a hand in creating the law they’re complaining about now!

    1. Just google “Apple Distribution International, Cork, Ireland” or try this link:

      http://goo.gl/maps/rS08a

      Looks like a very large building to me. The parking lot appears to have spaces for north of 750 cars, with a very large shipping/receiving area. I’m just guessing, but it looks like it would take at least 10 or 15 minutes to walk around the perimeter of the building.

      If by some stretch it looks like a high school, then the writer must be accustomed to high schools with a lot more students than I’m used to seeing.

      What a BS article.

      1. botvinnik: noun, see Intellectual Bankruptcy 😆

        To keep inserting your extraordinarily biased, unrelated views in every article really does define intellectual bankruptcy.

    1. And Ireland will also be the first country that had to dip into that emergency fund to exit the Eurozone’s special measures programme, precisely because of policies such as their low corporation tax regime.

      Tax wasn’t the problem in Ireland, it was (as with all the economic problems across the West, USA included) that their banks got addicted to lending money they didn’t actually have to people who couldn’t pay it back, leading to a massive credit-fueled bubble underwritten by assets that weren’t actually there.

  2. There once was two cats of Kilkenny
    Each cat thought there was one cat too many
    So they fought and they fit
    And they scratched and they bit
    ‘Til instead of two cats there weren’t any.

  3. Ahh, Alinsky’s & Marx’s acolites are alive and well in WDC.

    Just wait until they attack, demonize, marginalize and punish the successful for the plight of the poor, and then … you can guess what happens next.

    1. There are many governments across the world that spend far less than they could support from their tax revenues. For example, Germany, Norway, and Switzerland are three European nations that all run budget surpluses as well as underpinning their citizen’s lives with social programmes and universal health care. Across the Americas there are countries that also run at a profit in the fiscal sense. Just because we can’t do it in the Anglosphere doesn’t mean that nobody can do it.

      1. @dave h- spending less than potential tax revenues is easier when have fewer poor. so is paying for universal healthcare and social programs. their social programs don’t approach 1/2 of the % of gdp that the US is facing. the US has indigenous poor (native americans) imported poor (slaves), and tolerated illegal immigration of one of the western hemisphere’s poorest nations own poor). northern european countries have much less of the poor burden than the US. i lived in heidelberg for 2 years. you have to be there to understand the difference. people comparing northern european social democracy to US entitlement programs without considering the difference in demographics are delusional.

        it is ironic that obama is asking germany to curb its export surpluses. this has as makes as much sense as telling apple to bring their offshore cash home to pay more taxes. i am not against paying taxes, just against paying them and seeing the $ wasted by people who can’t see past the next election or want to get elected to promote their ideology, but not worry about responsible governance.

        we need to do it differently than other first world countries. we already have a mountain of debt that we can’t repay. there are liberal leaning economists who argue that a small percentage of increase in tax revenues can start paying down the debt, but they don’t tell you that the debt you are paying off is from a budget that was a decade ago. today’s budget is twice that with demands from demographics to grow it even further moving forward. if you succeed in raising the taxes, what will you do in the future to pay down today’s debt?

        1. @ mcmalus I get what you’re saying, but remember that only two decades ago Germany annexed back and rebuilt the part of it that had been run as a failed Soviet state for 40 years. They didn’t need to import immigrant poor, the entire eastern half of their country provided that in spades. And yet here they are again, running with a budget surplus and a balance of payments that only China would look down on. The USA (and the UK) could learn a lot from the way the Germans do things.

          1. @dave h, thanks for expanding the discussion. so different than many of the dialogs here. you are correct. they got plenty of poor when they annexed east germany. big difference (and i get your point about learning something from the germans) is they annexed east germany because they wanted the labor pool. with hard working affluence comes a low rate. they had a labor shortage in spades and importing turks was turning out to be a bad solution that they and the UK are just learning now.

            the fundamental difference in their model and ours is theirs is based on private productivity. ours is headed towards everyone beholding to the government. the soviets didn’t loose the cold war, we have a cancer inside of us that would make karl marx smile.

            in germany, and to a large extent the UK, they hold nation over self. trend has been hard to find that ideology except under a rock here. another fundamental difference. nationalism in the US has become what can the government do for me. this is largely due to the lose of hope and aspiration for the future through self determination. hope and aspiration is today is about redistribution. pretty short sighted because if that happens what is the next generation’s hope and aspiration based on?

  4. This article is way off. Apple has been Cork City’s most significant employer since Ford closed down in the early eighties. There is nothing ‘mysterious’. On the contrary, Apple has shown a huge commitment and loyalty to the city and that loyalty has been returned by the workforce in spades. Because of that highly developed relationship which precedes any of the others quoted in the artice, Apple is now one of the most significant tech employers in the whole country. This is win-win: Apple gets a highly educated, skilled, English-speaking workforce, Ireland gets badly needed wages and other revenue.
    PS. It’s a Gaelic Football field.

  5. Most taxes on corporations are simply a hidden tax on you and me, the consumers. Corporations should not pay income taxes, but they should pay a “transfer tax” when paying money to foreign corporations (e.g., subsidiaries or parent companies) which are not subject to USA tax rules.

    I flat guarantee that if taxes were removed from corporations and instead levied through personal income taxes that taxes would go down. If people knew what they were REALLY paying in both overt and hidden (indirect) taxes, we’d have a tax revolt.

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