Apple avoids $59.2 billion U.S. tax bill

“The 500 largest American companies hold more than $2.1 trillion in accumulated profits offshore to avoid U.S. taxes and would collectively owe an estimated $620 billion in U.S. taxes if they repatriated the funds, according to a study released on Tuesday,” David Alexander reports for Reuters.

“The study, by two left-leaning non-profit groups, found that nearly three-quarters of the firms on the Fortune 500 list of biggest American companies by gross revenue operate tax haven subsidiaries in countries like Bermuda, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands,” Alexander reports. “Citizens for Tax Justice and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund used the companies’ own financial filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission to reach their conclusions. Technology firm Apple was holding $181.1 billion offshore, more than any other U.S. company, and would owe an estimated $59.2 billion in U.S. taxes if it tried to bring the money back to the United States from its three overseas tax havens, the study said.”

Alexander reports, “Fifty-seven of the companies disclosed that they would expect to pay a combined $184.4 billion in additional U.S. taxes if their profits were not held offshore.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The usual notes apply:
• Tax avoidance is legal.
• 2015 U.S federal government spending totals $10.4109589 billion per day. The $184.4 billion in additional taxes extracted from the 57 companies discussed above would be gone in fewer than 18 days.
• As with U.S. federal spending, the U.S. corporate tax rate is far too high.

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

U.S. companies now have $2.1 trillion overseas to avoid corporate taxes – March 4, 2015
Intel CFO: Obama repatriation tax proposal ‘lipstick on a pig’ – February 4, 2015
U.S. Congress, Obama take Apple CEO Cook’s advice, eye corporate tax changes – February 3, 2015
Obama targets foreign profits with tax proposal, Republicans skeptical – February 2, 2015
Senator Rand Paul finds Democratic partner for tax repatriation holiday – January 30, 2015
Businesses hopeful Republican control of U.S. Congress will break tax-reform gridlock – November 5, 2014
Not in Taxes anymore: On site at Apple’s famous Irish ‘headquarters’ – November 2, 2013
Regan: U.S. tax code spurs loveless foreign corporate ‘marriages’ – May 13, 2014
Ireland to close Apple’s tax loophole, but leave bigger one open – October 15, 2013
G20 think tank OECD proposes blueprint for global crackdown on tax avoidance – July 19, 2013
Thomas Sowell on Apple, corporate taxes, and ‘the road to serfdom’ – 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


  1. Maybe the companies can repatriate the money if they made deals with congress to build/infrastructures, pay tuition or build schools, a decent transparent space program, or something good for the country with the tax money themselves.

    Maybe they’d be more inclined to repatriate the money if they have a say in how it’s being spent.

  2. Assuming MDN’s numbers are correct, I am sure there is no one on this board that would object to paying $10,500 per year for the roads and bridges they drive on. If you drive a minivan with two kids and a spouse you would only have a tax bill of $42,000 per year.

    Gee, if you can afford an iPhone then what is all the whining about? pay your taxes, dammit.

    Forcing corporations to pay taxes makes the corporations tax collectors for the government. Don’t you know corporations pay their taxes with YOUR money?

  3. Hey stop picking on Apple; it’s not the only company who has business all around the world. You want to blame anybody go to the Republican congress who won’t bring it to vote unless will it will end National health care at the same time and nobody will pass it or and that includes the President desk.

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