Apple needs more cash

“Chances are that you think Apple has more cash than it could possibly need,” Evan Niu writes for The Motley Fool. “In a way, you’d be absolutely right. In another way, you’d be dead wrong.”

“Since Apple can only use its domestic cash for dividends and share repurchases, its stateside coffers might actually be relatively light right about now compared to its historical horde over the past couple of years,” Niu writes. “At the end of 2013, Apple’s domestic cash position was $34.4 billion. The $14 billion that Apple just repurchased will take a notable chunk out of that total.”

“Apple just undoubtedly spent a sizable portion of its domestic cash and it still has $18 billion left on its current share repurchase authorization. Investors won’t know for sure how much domestic cash Apple has until next quarter,” Niu writes. “Looking farther out, Tim Cook has expressed his commitment to ongoing share repurchases in the long term. Investors should not only expect Apple to boost its repurchase authorization as it approaches the current limit, but also that Apple will inevitably need to issue more debt in order to fund said buybacks. It’s just a matter of when. Apple needs more (domestic) cash.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Or Apple needs a sane U.S. corporate tax policy, for a change.

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

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79 Comments

    1. This boils down to “we don’t want to pay for the services the gov’t provides us and our employees so we will hold the money oversea’s instead” The little people can pay for us instead.

      1. I don’t think so. Doesn’t it boil down to “We don’t want to pay tax on the same money twice”. I certainly wouldn’t want to, if I were individually earning money in another country. One or the other.

        1. Except they DON’T pay tax twice. For money from most countries, they get a tax credit for the taxes they paid in the foreign country. So if the foreign country taxes the money at, say, the same tax rate as the US, Apple would pay NO tax on that money.

          This is Apple not wanting to pay for the services they receive.

          1. Dave, that’s nonsense. Not only is there a major limitation on the amount of the tax credit that Apple can receive (the formula for the limit is (foreign income/domestic income) * total tax liability, which is figured before this credit is applied), but you say in the same sentence that Apple pays tax on the money (in the foreign country where it was earned), but then “would pay NO tax on that money,” presumably referring to US taxes.

            Doesn’t the foreign government have the same right as the US government to get Apple to pay for the services Apple receives there? And just how does the US government have a claim on that particular money, when it provided NO services in the earning of it?

          2. No, you are wrong. They would get a tax credit if they earned the money here and paid taxes there. . . payroll taxes etc. this is money that Apple has already earned and paid taxes on in the country where it was earned. The US now wants to tax it at US tax rates as well as if it were earned here. Only the United States taxes earning in such a manner. No other country does this. Tim Cook testified before Congress on this very set of facts. . . and every US company is complaining about the same thing. Many are re-incorporating outside of the US to avoid this double taxation. Apple has not.

          3. Except that Apple DOES pay US taxes. . . in fact Dave, Apple is indisputably the single largest Corporate Income tax payer in the United States. Tim Cook testified to that fact under oath before Congress last year. Apple pays more taxes than all other companies and you think they aren’t paying enough???? They paid an effective Federal tax rate of approximate 27% last fiscal year! not counting state and payroll taxes. . . and you want MORE???? Because they refused to repatriate the money earned overseas, they paid a US Federal tax rate of 1.9% on earnings overseas! But had they brought those profits to the US the US tax rate would be 35% on income they’ve already paid taxes on. . . for services they’ve already paid for!!!! That is truly an insane tax policy.

          4. Except fuck you for thinking any individual or corporation should pay one dime of US taxes for income made in another country. It is pure socialistic bullying for the US to think anything that occurs outside of its borders belongs to it. And fuck you for supporting this insanely intrusive and abusive system.

            Now find a bridge to jump off of.

      2. Except that cash was made overseas. The US doesn’t get to claim taxes on sales made overseas except for when that money is transferred home.

        Apple is in the same boat as everyone else when it comes to this situation.

      3. What services ? Roads, yes I agree that it’s good to maintain the roads. Gasoline and use taxes. In my area the biggest government “service” is the forest service. 3 guys driving pickups in the woods and 60 guys back in the office doing I don’t know what. When someone holds a gun to your head and says “you have to buy this service”, thats called a shakedown. Another word for it is theft.

        1. In civilised countries the government services include safety like law enforcement, fire prevention, building and environment inspection, health services, communication infrastructure etc etc all financed democratically by taxes. ✌️

  1. The sad fact is that neither Congress nor the President have the balls to make it simple. A simplified tax code has been in the political arena for as long as I can remember. And, to this day, nothing has been done about it. Nothing will ever be done about this mess until the people have the political will to remove these idiots in office: both Republicans and Democrats.

        1. There enormous range of political opinions besides “libturds” and “right wing scumbags”.

          In fact, I would propose that any THINKING person would be likely to have a range of opinions, depending on particular issues. But, then, you wouldn’t know about that. (Thinking, that is, in case you missed it.)

        1. Yea, the self proclaimed forth estate has been doing a bang up job huh. I don’t know if these guys are just plain stupid or they really are in the hooks of those in power, be they politicians or large corporations. Either way, they’ve clearly vacated their responsibilities.

          Instead of educating the masses they participate in obfuscation and misdirection. Intentionally? I don’t know. Maybe I should give them the benefit if the doubt. Maybe they are just stupid.

          1. The press – otherwise known historically as the FOURTH Estate (not “forth”; the first three being the clergy, the nobility and the commoners), rather than being “self-declared” as such – has no obligation to educate, but only to inform; therefore, even if responsibilities could be “vacated” (rather than abdicated, which is likely what you meant), they have not done so.

            Personally, I believe that the press has for at least the past 30 years abandoned its assumed role of impartial reporter, and has become overwhelmingly biased to the point where one must now assume that ANY “news story” one reads is mostly opinion, seasoned with a few facts here and there.

      1. Term limits do absolutely nothing on issues like these. Never have, never will. We experimented with term limits in the 90s. They were bullshit. Sure, long time legislators were booted from office and newbies were put in. The long time legislators were then hired by lobbying companies, where they continued to write the legislation they had been writing, only now they were directly on the special interests’ payrolls instead of only chasing after them for campaign cash. The now-lobbyist former congressmen handed their legislation to leadership, which then passed it. As for the wonderful, innocent, new citizen legislators brought in by term limits? They passed what leadership handed them.

        Term limits are nonsense.

      1. “Every dollar that is released from taxation that is spent or invested will help create a new job and a new salary. And these new jobs and new salaries and create other jobs and other salaries and more customers and more growth for an expanding American economy.”

        The exquisite power of the argument against the socialist state in a nutshell. Beautiful and articulate.

        1. Except it is complete nonsense, not supported by observation. In the past when taxes have been lowered for the ultrarich, they haven’t paid the serfs any more, nor created new jobs for more serfs.

            1. Ohhh noooooo! The bringer of the ultimate light and truth has engaged his final (and usual) method of “discussion”… he’s called me a name.

            2. Did you even listen to the JFK proposal, idiot? Do you know what “across the board tax cuts” mean, idiot? Were you even alive when these tax cuts and their resulting prosperity ensued*, idiot?

              *until arch-criminals Johnson & Nixon blew it and 55,000 American lives in Vietnam.

            3. Listen up, you poisonous little fuck… Supposing you have something valid to say — the fact that someone doesn’t know something, or misunderstands something, or disagrees with you doesn’t make them an idiot — unless, of course, you DO really think you are the one-hundred percent bringer of truth and light.

              Fuck off and take your meds. Then try just stating the facts and thoughts you want to state without name-calling, insult and obscenity.

  2. It really is no one’s business how much money Apple has stashed away anymore than how much money I have stashed away. Private companies, and individuals have a right to own and control property, and do with it anything they want as long as it does not harm others. I watched video of Tim Cook speaking in front of those hacks in Congress, and I knew that not a damn thing would done about corporate tax policy. Congress uses tax policy to buy off constituents and interest groups, and find ways to intimidate them into doing what they want. Why would they simplify the tax policy, and free up businesses to repatriate all of that money? The desire to use the policy for political control is too strong.

  3. Day after day after day we read an endless list of explanations from writers across the spectrum telling us what’s wrong with Apple and why the once great company has become just another one like all the others. There is really only ONE thing wrong with Apple and until that is death with, nothing is going to be any different than it is. Until the fat, lazy and wealthy members of Apple’s negligent board of directors are forced by shareholders to do their job, we will continue to see the company fading from sight in our rear view mirrors.

    1. When did these writers ever say Apple was great? Most of the time the stories are Apple is doomed and can’t grow anymore. At least that’s been the story the past 5 years.

        1. Actually for almost 33 years.

          The general belief in the general tech media has been that Apple has been doomed since the introduction of the first IBM PC. Before that time the general tech media treated Apple as just another micro computer builder among many.

          1. And thus, over time, the common people were transfixed, one by one, by the miraculous; and flocked to the new path. Pharisees holding the sceptres of wisdom and philistines in their crabbed ways mocked believers as sheep, pointing them out to passing centurions for malicious sport. Seeing success in transcendence, false prophets arose to claim a share of such beatific adulation, decrying those who had come before; but to no avail. The rose had bloomed, and its unforgettable fragrance put the sickly and rank odours of pretenders to shame. And it came to pass that true followers gained ascendency in the end. Even at this hour, though the brickbats and sour cant continue to issue from drooling jackals, excellence now shines through the gloom and despair, a beacon of hope for all.

    1. And the other small item that the clueless writer didn’t mention is that Apple’s cash hoard will continue to grow, even with the buybacks and dividend payments, by $10B each quarter. But then, that would obliterate the point he was trying to sell us, wouldn’t it?

  4. Corporations cry a lot about the taxes that have to be paid when bringing in corporate profits & taxes from overseas. It’s not that bad a deal for them – if a company had a US tax bill of $100 million from overseas operations and that company has paid $70 million to overseas tax offices then they have to pay $30 million to the US Treasury.

    In terms of a “simplified” tax, that cannot happen as long as lobbyists are paid big bucks by big companies and wealthy individuals. Do you really believe that the oil industry will give up that $40 BILLION cash hand out? Lobbyist become millionaires for a reason – they keep the loopholes coming and that won’t stop with a “simplified” tax.

    1. I’d rather see the money be put into the economy and stimulating more tax revenue that way instead of the endless & foolish spending maw of government. Like it or not we live in a capitalist country and Democrats have to recognize that fact and need to play ball in order to achieve prosperity for all. Business is not the bad guy, they make it possible for the American Way. Some would argue though the Demo’s disingenuously like their power base better when people are more beholden to government instead of self-sustaining. This is more the sure path to ultimate collapse.

      1. AAHH the predictable, yet tired GOP refrain of any government spending is bad spending. All despite that fact that the last Republican president (and the most celebrated of modern times:RR) were both big deficit building, government power grabbing, war mongering, record spenders.

        Is it any wonder we cannot have rational debate in this country when one side starts with: everything is bad and must be eliminated? How reasonable a response.

        I suppose then you will be the first to admit that our national coffer draining waste of US lives in Iraq was the endless & foolish folly of a moron prince trying to get payback for his daddy? Will you also stand up and proclaim too big to fail for what it was? a bunch of political cronyism, handing over the peoples money to a cabal of corrupt bankers?

        Our government needs to collect taxes to run everything from diplomacy, to energy, to agriculture, to the interior, to services for the poor, the military and on and on. We are a big nation with diverse needs. Get over it.

        Corporations pay a lower tax rate than you and I, I will not feel sorry for a company that makes record amounts of cash, but is too damn cheap to pay the tax on something it wants to do. Clearly they want to bring some cash to the US, time to pony up and pay the tax man.

        Your straw argument conflating the issues is crap. Spending does not dictate weather the policy is sound, it juste gives you an idealogical crutch with which to argue.

        1. I’m not a Republican. Both over-spending parties need to exit stage left & right. We still need a Balanced Budget Amendment. We need better choices in where we put the money we have as a nation.

          When you word the Iraq thing the way you do in childish fashion, you diminish your argument completely. Bush had to make at least appearances he was doing something and in fact this was supported by Congress and most Americans at the time. You are guilty of simple minded Bush-bashing and revisionist thinking with the benefit of subsequent history whereas Bush did not have that at the time this was happening. At the same time I agree Bush was not the sharpest President we’ve ever had.

          Bill Clinton, a Democrat, was responsible for setting into place the banking fiasco with the Glass-Steagall Act thing, not George Bush.

          I don’t need to get over anything, you need to get over the sound of your own cliche-driven strident voice. I am talking a sensibly run government as well.

          Nope it is not fair that Apple or others has already paid like 2-12.5% taxes elsewhere in the world and made the money there, not in the U.S. and when repatriated is expected to pay another 35%. That’s 37-47%! Ridiculous. Apple (and other companies) is not balking at paying SOME tax just not that much. So the U.S. is leaving money on the table not collecting some tax money (not earned here) and then letting Apple use the money here to generate more projects, yet more taxes and spur the economy – a triple loss. Brilliant.

          You are just one of those who feel entitled to other people’s money. The problem is you eventually run out of other people’s money to pilfer from. Apple already pays a whopping amount of U.S. tax- 30.5% on money earned here, Apple has paid every single dollar it legally owes. Apple pays $1 out of every $40 the government collects in the U.S.. How much extra cash have you donated to the IRS? Or wait maybe you do everything possible too to minimize your own tax liability? You ungrateful unpatriotic wretch!

          Business is not a “Kumbaya” entity and is not required to donate money to the U.S. economy out of the goodness of their hearts and does not do so. They owe it to their stockholders to hold on to every dollar they can, it’s their JOB. Apple’s tax structure is not dissimilar from that of the other tech giants and as far as the SEC is concerned, Apple’s doing nothing wrong at all. (Whatever your feelings about the SEC these days.) If the U.S. Congress doesn’t like the leeway businesses have worldwide they need to change the rules. It’s not incumbent for Apple, Exxon, Microsoft, Boeing, Google or others to do so. If it’s legal, well, end of the story and STFU.

          I think you should look up what a straw argument actually is. Your last sentence is pure nonsensical, craptastic logorrhea spew. Money should be spent wisely but in our heavily politicized & polarized country I’m not expecting that anytime soon.

    2. It is great to be the top rich who created the law and constitution, we are little people just have to obey the law or pay for the consequences. That’s it little people, stop complaining “OBEY THE LAW!”.

    3. This is exactly why I feel corporate lobbyists must be removed. Our government, wether Democrat or Republican, is under the control of companies who only look out for themselves. Apple seems to have some compassion seeing as they propose a tax simplification that would INCREASE their US tax payments. We don’t need a certain party in the government, we need the corporate lobbyists banned! They do no good for a free economy!

      1. Exactly, R & D two sides of a coin that is in the pocket of corporate power.

        The scariest thing is that one side of the coin convinces it’s followers of several fallacies:

        1. The myth of endless growth, fact is it simply isn’t sustainable.

        2. That by allowing tax breaks to corporations the people somehow benefit from more jobs, lower prices, when historically this has been proven false. The greed that is wall street demands overgrowing returns, it is never good enough (see apple stock price) How many companies have you seen get a TIF, only to run off when it expires or after they made a quick buck? Shorting the local tax coffers and schools?

        3. That an entire class of people is poor because they choose to be, after all it is as simple as deciding not to be poor that fixes this situation right?

        Sucking the corporate crank is good for politicians and corporations, not the people.

  5. On complaining about Democrats and Republicans… “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.” (Benjamin Franklin)

    It’s very, very easy to complain. Problem is, what do we do about it? “Remove them” means nothing. Then what happens? State government officials are no more noble than national, so please don’t give me “states’ rights”.

    I was in a business seminar once. A participant had just given a presentation. It was feedback time. About three quarters of the participants had hands up to give their opinion. Then the seminar leader said, “One rule – you can’t just say you don’t like their product, or their ideas for marketing, or the presentation itself. The acceptable feedback is simply how he can make his business plan better.” All hands except one went down. In other words, they had been just going to complain, with NOTHING positive to contribute.

    A lot of political complaining goes on here. I certainly don’t know the solution. I don’t think anyone else does either. Personally, I tend to think the solution is some kind of political scheme that has never yet existed or been thought of.

    One other word for the whiners and complainers — yes, much can be improved. But never forget, you ALL live like kings compared to much of the population of the planet and most people who have ever lived. Half empty or half full?

    1. My suggestion would be seat limits for each party so that two parties can’t consolidate the whole government between them. When their are only two major parties, neither party ever really feels any consequences of poor governance as they remain the only alternate choice when the other party also fails.

      In theory there could be more major parties and diversity of political views and candidates, but in practice power consolidates if not checked. This is why the Constitution has checks and balances on the three official branches of government. Unfortunately, the founders failed to limit the unofficial branches, i.e. parties. We are only one party away from totalitarianism, that is as limited of democracy as is possible.

    2. EXCELLENT commentary.

      The solution for tax reform is the FairTax. And if it weren’t for the weasels in the District of Corruption, that would be our tax system now and our country would be rocking!

      Please check it out at fairfax.org …and do yourself a favor and go there with an open mind and forget the propaganda you may have read or heard about it.

      FairTax would bring TRILLIONS flowing back into our economy, eliminates the IRS, no federal taxes taken out of your paycheck, is 100% fair and transparent, and would probably be the biggest boost our economy has ever seen.

      But we have to pressure Washington hard to get it because they resist it like crazy because for them it’s a huge loss of power for them…and you know that’s the last thing a politician wants to give up!

  6. It seems to me that if there is an Arabian Prince with just over 9% of Apple’s outstanding shares, he can get his cash for dividends off shore, just like every other non American.

    America is not the only country on earth.

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