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Corporate Tax Cheats of the Day

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Apple.

I don’t think it’d be unreasonable to seize Apple’s assets until it came to a reasonable agreement on its tax bill.

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  • Malaclypse

    I don’t think it’d be unreasonable to seize Apple’s assets until it came to a reasonable agreement on its tax bill.

    Except (and this is the real scandal) they probably have not broken any actual laws.

    • JKTHs

      Well, yes, probably not but they sure went through a ridiculous Rube Goldberg way to avoid their taxes rather than the Romney method of having a low tax rate written into law.

      The solution is just to tax foreign income of US multinationals as it’s earned. Then, Apple can run their income through all the Irish subsidiaries they want and it won’t matter.

      • Malaclypse

        Define “US multi-national.” Do it in a way that a team of tax lawyers can’t drive a truck through. Do it such that Apple does not simply become a Bahamas-based company that happens to export some products to the US, where it sells them through its US retail branch outlets at a substantial loss, while accumulating some sweet, sweet NOL carryforwards.

        There is no one-sentence solution to this problem.

        • “Exterminate the brutes.”

        • Linnaeus

          “Aux armes, citoyens!”

        • JKTHs

          Well, that is an issue, but there already is a provision of the tax code that basically says “Fuck you” to companies that maintain their basic structure but invert so their HQ is in some foreign country and the former US HQ becomes a subsidiary. I’m not a tax expert so I don’t know how airtight this is but it’d be a key part of that as well.

          I’ll give it to you though that I was probably being too glib about the solution.

        • joe from Lowell

          “Nice operation you’ve got here.”

          I don’t even think you need the second sentence. They’ll get it.

        • calling all toasters

          “We stand them up against the wall and pop goes the weasel.”

        • the_melvinator

          “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”
          – Billy Wigglestick, Henry VI Part 2

      • cpinva

        “The solution is just to tax foreign income of US multinationals as it’s earned.”

        this is actually the present case. the US tax system is based on the “all world” theory of income: both domestic and foreign sourced income are required to be reported, and taxed, on your 1040, 1065, 1120S or 1120. to offset tax paid to a foreign country, the IRC provides for a (limited) Foreign Tax Credit (FTC). in the case of apple (and others), the question becomes: what is taxable income, vs loans/non-taxable intercompany dividends? apple claims some foreign subs have no tax residence, making them unique in the annals of tax law history. presumptively, they exist off planet.

        apple hasn’t simply stretched tax law, they’ve rendered it unrecognizable. they aren’t alone. as noted, they have good company, in the form of MS, HP and others, along with a compliant tax court. apple, by itself, has nearly the same amount of resources to bring to the fight, as the entire IRS has. the difference is that apple doesn’t need to spread those resources across the entire spectrum of the tax paying public, as the IRS does.

        • JKTHs

          That is the case for some foreign income but a lot of it isn’t taxed until it comes back to the US (although I don’t think this would be the case with a lot of Apple’s income) so it gives a huge incentive for tax shenanigans.

          Just like Mal, you got me. There are broader issues here that need to be dealt with as well.

        • This is part right, part wrong. The US taxes global income, but only of US citizens, permanent residents(*), and US corporations. The nationality of a corporation is sometimes complicated, but the general rule is that a subsidiary of a corporation is a national of the place of incorporation. In the Apple case, the issue is largely (though not only) about its foreign subsidiaries. These are owned by Apple, but are nationals of, say, Ireland. So, their profits are not taxed by the US unless they are returned to the US. If these were branches, they would be subject to US taxation. It’s a bit more complicated than this, but this is the basic rule.

          (It’s also worth noting that almost no other country, certainly not any major ones, do global taxation. This doesn’t mean the US is wrong to do it- I don’t know- but it’s certainly unusual.)

          (*)”permanent resident” is defined differently, and independently, for tax purposes than for immigration purposes.

    • R. Porrofatto

      Except (and this is the real scandal) they probably have not broken any actual laws.

      Exactly right. As documented in Perfectly Legal by David Cay Johnston, and sometimes it doesn’t even require legal loopholes, just endless delaying tactics. (A great book BTW for anyone looking to raise their blood pressure to to stroke inducing levels.)

    • Jon

      Apple paid $6 billion in U.S. federal income taxes, 1/40th of all corporate income taxes collected by U.S. government in 2012

      Yes, clearly an example needs to be made out of Apple. Is LGM affiliated with Bloomberg or something?

  • Marxist Professor

    Yes Professor Loonis, why don’t we nationalize the computer industry. Step one in the government appropriation of industry and downward spiral into socialism. Punish and resent success. Because the laziest layabout is “equal” to an innovator.

    • Sounds awesome. I look forward to providing you special treatment in the reeducation camps to follow the socialist revolution.

      • Reasonable 4ce

        Jennie really has too much free time on her hands.

      • Surreal American

        “Re”-education camps? You’re giving JenBob quite the benefit of the doubt here.

    • JKTHs

      47% of mostly low-income and elderly people who pay no federal income taxes but pay payroll, sales, and excise taxes=LAZY IRREDEEMABLE MOOCHERS.

      Huge multinational which pays no taxes to any government=INNOVATOR.

      • You think it’s easy to not pay taxes? I’m sure there was a whole lot of innovating going on in the accountants’ and lawyers’ offices.

    • wjts

      Agreed. If Apple had paid taxes on the 148 billion dollars in income it generated between 2009 and 2012 discussed in the linked articles, it would have been a crime somewhere in between Truman’s nationalization of the steel industry and the Khmer Rouge’s program of forced agrarianism but a billion times worse than both of them put together. Indeed, just this morning the City of Pittsburgh and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania colluded to nationalize me by charging me seven cents in sales tax when I bought a cup of coffee. Why am I, an innovator, being punished while lazy layabouts reap the reward of my hard work?

      • Jerry Vinokurov

        The bastards! I must forthwith relocate to a more entrepreneur-friendly climate!

        • null set. You’ll never find one with more complex tax laws and better lawyers. Best you can hope for is one with relatively low bribery costs, but that carries other risks.

        • wjts

          I propose forming a community of super-geniuses hidden somewhere in the Monongahela Valley. We could call it Cope’s Crick.

    • NickT

      Is Jennie claiming to be equal to an innovator again?

      • Lee Rudolph

        Isn’t the handle “Marxist Professor” an innovation? If not now, at some earlier date?? Hmm???

    • Hogan

      Step one in the government appropriation of industry

      TVA and Amtrak, motherfucker. The barbarians are already inside the gates. We will now give you ten minutes to change your underwear.

    • cpinva

      “Except (and this is the real scandal) they probably have not broken any actual laws.”

      I wouldn’t be too certain of this. one of the basic rules of tax law, is that a thing must be done for a legitimate business purpose, beyond simply reducing your tax liability. this is the essence of the rules against transactions entered in to, simply for the purpose of lowering the tax liability of the parties involved.

      it has been my professional experience, that the more convoluted a transaction is, the less likely it is to have an actual business purpose, other than to reduce the tax liability of the parties engaged in that transaction. an inverse relationship, if you will.

    • cpinva

      “Punish and resent success.”

      agreed. what’s needed is some heads on sticks.

    • Haystack

      With 0 being lazy, and 10 innovative, I have no choice but to award your trollery a 0.5.

    • Sharculese

      Nobody who uses the phrase ‘punish success’ has ever actually succeeded at anything

      • RedSquareBear

        Besides succeeding in shifting the blame for their failures on forces other than their stupefying inertia, you mean.

    • SeanH

      Yes, layabouts ARE equal to innovators. This is an ethical thesis that’s immediately obvious to most people if we’re not talking about our system of economic inequality.

  • Green Caboose

    Something weird is going on here because you KNOW that these practices are common amongst the Fortune 100. It’s kind of like when the Feds went after Microsoft for anti-trust in the mid-1990s. Yes, of course they broke the law, but what stuck out was so many others were NOT targeted.

    Now, I hate Microsoft as much as any other correct-thinking computer person, but it was interesting that prior to those lawsuits Microsoft basically ignored politics and their legal troubles sort of withered away after they became major contributors to both parties. Well, that plus Orrin Hatch was pushing hard against MSFT because they were a competitor to Salt Lake City-based Novell (anyone remember them?).

    I’m guessing that McCain and the others (of both parties) are actually outraged that a company as insanely profitable as Apple has been paying ridiculously tiny amounts of protection money to the parties. Once Apple rectifies this and their political contributions move into the range of, oh say, ExxonMobile, these troubles will, as did Microsofts, sort of wither away.

    • James Hare

      What’s wrong with Microsoft? It’s not like anyone else was trying to make a consumer-accessible operating system for x86 PCs before Apple moved to Intel. Microsoft has never been uniquely evil – they just happen to be one of the more successful companies in an industry that rewards evil.

      How are you going to make money selling intangible goods without doing a little evil?

      • the_melvinator

        How are you going to make money selling intangible goods without doing a little evil?

        I’m sure Red Hat and Canonical could offer some suggestions.

        • NonyNony

          Of course Red Hat and Canonical could not exist unless there were legions of geeks who in their spare time decided to put together an operating system and give it away for free.

          And if it weren’t for Richard Stallman getting righteously pissed off about the fact that Xerox wanted him to sign a non-disclosure agreement to be able to make some minor useful modifications to a laser printer driver, the infrastructure for that wouldn’t have existed in the first place either.

          And if that pissed off hacker had decided that he wanted to get rich instead of help his fellow hackers, none of it would have happened.

          Not exactly the way capitalism works in the general case.

          • Otto Perez Molina

            You can’t run a system on expecting everyone to make things for fun. But a system built on the premise that nobody will do anything unless you pay them is even worse. Shakespeare was not a billionaire, and the world wouldn’t be a better place if he had been.

            • Otto Perez Molina

              Now excuse me while I return to corrupting a justice system. (My pal Rios Montt’s conviction was “annulled” yesterday night, high five.)

              • Jameson Quinn

                In other words: oops.

          • Manta

            Nony, so your objection is that in a totally hypothetical word things may have turned worse?

            Newsflash: reality beats fantasy.
            If you have actually existing examples showing your point, tell them.

      • JustRuss

        It’s not like anyone else was trying to make a consumer-accessible operating system for x86 PCs

        Ahem

        Also, MS is involved in a lot more than just operating systems, they used their market dominance to crush a lot of innovative companies.

  • Simple mInd

    We have the takers and they are Apple.

  • Marxist Professor

    Protection racket? Government is the ultimate protection racket. The makers make, and the takers strong arm a slice. I’m not a cruel man, they can have a slice, but not half the pie. You either put it up like a big boy and contribute, or accept your crumb and like it. And revolution? Bring. It. On. The masses you claim swear fealty to your precious lefty causes don’t have your back. This is America. The crusty hippies start a 200 person “revolution.” The smart ones get jobs. The rest enter academia.

    • Matt T. in New Orleans

      And revolution? Bring. It. On.

      Oh, relax, Gertrude. You’ll hurt yourself.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        oh, he’ll be fine once he gets the straps of the flight suit properly adjusted

    • Sharculese

      I’m not a cruel man,

      That’s true. You’re a cruel child.

  • abject funk

    I agree this is gross, but unfortunatley Apple is most likely correct that it is one of, if not the largest, coprorate tax payer in the U. S. Think of the zero or even negative tax rates paid by Exxon-Mobile, the Kocks, and other energy sector companies. $6 billion to the U.S. treasury is peanuts compared to what should be paid, but mammoth compared to what others are paying.

    Also have to love the fact that the article makes it sound like Apple is “avoiding” the 35% U.S. corporate tax, when it is the case (and always has been) that the effective rate on corporataions is well below that on individuals.

    Just sayin’, us libs are pretty good suckers for finding our outrage when spoon fed articles such as this one about how one of “our” companies is gaming the system. Congress too….

    • Jon

      Yup! This is the folly of liberals: we are do fair we shoot people on our own team before even asking for more information. Half the liberal blogosphere was implicitly or explicitly calling for Whitewatering Obama over the IRS thing probably just because they were so dismissive of Benghazi. Both are bullshit.

      Now this. Apple pays 2.5% of all corporate taxes the government collects and they’re the bad guy because…? This is like the people who attack Apple for not being green and don’t do shit about Exxon. Come on.

      • If Apple isn’t paying the full corporate tax rate, it is ripping off the government.

        • Anonymous

          Actually, it is ripping off the American people, since the government is merely our instrument for enacting our collective will.

        • Jon H

          Not if the government provides legal means to reduce the tax rate owed, which is the case.

        • sibusisodan

          Yeah, I get the sentiment behind what you’re saying here, but this statement is strictly untrue – there are loads of reasons why any corporate or actual individual could legitimately have lower-than-headline-rate tax liabilities. R&D credits, prior-year losses, for example.

          Which is the biggest difficulty in responding to these kind of situations: things look wrong here, in some sense. How do we define things that so we lock out the ‘bad’ behaviour without discouraging ‘legit’ behaviour?

          Or, more realistically, how much ‘improper’ behaviour are we willing to put up with in order to not impede ‘proper’ behaviour? I’d like to minimise the egregious stuff, but it’s remarkably difficult to define it in a way that leaves the other stuff standing…

        • David M. Nieporent

          No, Loomis. If Apple is paying the full corporate tax rate, then the government is ripping off Apple.

      • JKTHs

        This is a typical fallacy. A billionaire paying 15% will pay as much in taxes as 30,000 people making $20,000 paying 20%. Does that mean the billionaire is paying far too much? No. Effective tax rates matter much more than the size of the tax liability itself.

        The fact is, Apple and many other corporations are able to reduce their tax bill by a significant amount by using completely tax-motivated tactics that have zero legit business purpose. Apple is certainly not alone and probably isn’t the worst at it, but they are a big example.

      • DivGuy

        In what way, exactly, is the Apple corporation “on our side”?

        • the original spencer

          That’s exactly what I was wondering.

          And no, “making stuff that trendy liberals like” isn’t the same thing.

      • witless chum

        When the Obama Administration forced the bailed out CEO of GM to retire, people whined that it wasn’t fair because there were worse offenders out there.

        I say, when you’ve got a chance to get one of these people, you get them and then worry about getting the next one.

    • Pretty much. The fact that John McCain, the same John McCain who defended tax havens in Bermuda and argued for lower corporate taxes, is now seemingly concerned about this should tell you something. Why is the focus on Apple when the problem is offshoring?

      A report last year by analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM). estimated that all U.S.-based companies had $1.7 trillion in accumulated offshore profits. In the data compiled by Bloomberg, 83 companies had about 75 percent of last year’s total, which suggests that the total for all companies now exceeds $1.9 trillion.

  • Apple called for “a dramatic simplification of the corporate tax system that … implements a reasonable tax on foreign earnings that allows free movement of capital back to the US.”

    I don’t know what the corporate tax rate ought to be, but it’s not clear why the rate on foreign earnings ought to be less than the domestic rate, and the “allows free movement of capital back to the US” bit is especially nice, given that there are no restrictions on the movement of capital back to the US. Profits for US firms are taxed, but if taken seriously this would mean that taxes in the US are restrictions on the movement of capital. (Some Randians might think that, but it’s nuts, of course.) Some countries do have controls on capital movement, but the US isn’t one of them, and this is just a bit of double-speak nonsense.

    • JKTHs

      and the “allows free movement of capital back to the US” bit is especially nice, given that there are no restrictions on the movement of capital back to the US.

      Translation: We are already lightly taxed, and we want to be even more lightly taxed. Double-speak on taxes from large corporations is par for the course.

    • Anonymous

      During the boom years of the Eisenhower administration, they were 50%. Sounds about right to me.

  • Michael H Schneider

    Isn’t there a colonialism issue here?

    One of the complaints about colonial powers is that they would sell manufactured goods in the colonies, and then send the profits back home to the colonial power. This would deprive the colony of money that might otherwise be reinvested in things that would build the economy of the colony.

    To the extent (1) that we’re talking about profits made from selling iPads and songs and whatever in Africa and Asia and India, shouldn’t we be happy if Apple leaves that money in banks in those countries? That way the banks can loan it out to businesses and people in those other countries – perhaps helping economic development.

    It seems damned arrogant to demand that Apple take the money it makes from selling an iPhone to someone in India and bring it back to the US and give part of it to the US Treasury, so that we can afford bigger tax breaks for rich Americans.

    (1) I have no idea how much of the money we are talking about comes from those sources, and how much of it is kept in banks in those other countries. Apple does have stores – brick and morter stores – in over 200 countries. Presumably those stores sell stuff. CNN complains about some Apple susidiary in Ireland that it says has no assets. Apple says it has 4,000 employees in Ireland. I think there’s a lot of smoke being blown by the anti-Apple forces.

    Disclosure: I own some Apple stock, so you are talking about taking money I figure belongs to me and giving it as a donation to the Treasury, to pay for the Bush tax cuts. That pissess me off.

    • Every shareholder makes fundamentally the same argument as your disclosure. It’s part of the national anti-tax pathology.

      • Michael H Schneider

        No, my disclosure was not an argument, it was a disclosure. That’s why I called it a disclosure: I was disclosing why I might be motivated to make the argument, which I had made above. Saying ‘same argument as your disclosure’ isn’t a response to my argument.

        You don’t actually respond to my argument: that to the extent that this is money held in some African country which resulted from a purchase by a resident of that African country made in a store in that African country, why should the US feel it should get a cut?

        Last fall I bought an iPod from apple.com. Because Apple has a store in my state, I paid to apple an additional 7% tax which I assume it passed along to the state in due course. No problem. That’s as it should be. I also assume that (much of? all?) the profit that apple made on that sale was taxed in the US, and was part of why Apple paid $6B in US corporate taxes. No problem. I’m happy to pay those taxes.

        But you aren’t addressing the question of why the US should tax Apple on money it makes in Africa from a store in Africa and a sale in Africa. Or wherever.

        • Look, if Angola wants to charge Apple a 35% sales tax, I fully encourage it to do so. However, this is different than phony spinoff corporations in Ireland.

          • Anonymous

            “… this is different than phony spinoff corporations in Ireland.”

            This is where things get murky real quick. You seem to be convinced that there are, indeed phony spinoff corporations in Ireland.

            I went here:
            http://www.scribd.com/doc/142660268/Subcommittee-Memo-on-Offshore-Profit-Shifting-Apple
            which is Carl Levin’s memo, and found this, finding #3 on page 5:

            “Cost Sharing Agreement.
            Apple’s cost sharing agreement (CSA) with its
            offshore affiliates in Ireland is primarily a conduit for shifting billions of dollars in incomefrom the United States to a low tax jurisdiction. From 2009 to 2012, the CSAf acilitated the shift of $74 billion in worldwide sales income away from the United States to Ireland where Apple has negotiated a tax rate of less than 2%.”

            Do you see where it says “shift of $74 billion in worldwide sales income away from the United States to Ireland’ – I say wtf? How can you shift “worldwide” sales income from the US? if it’s worldwide income, it ain’t US income. Is it?

            before that was Finding #1:

            “Shifting Profits Offshore.
            Apple has $145 billion in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, of which $102 billion is “offshore.” Apple has used offshore entities, arrangements, and transactions to transfer its assets and profits offshore and minimize its corporate tax liabilities”

            If you read that sentence quickly you think that Apple has shifted $102B out of the US to avoid US taxes. But that’s not what it actually says. It throws out that huge number – which presumably includes those Angola sales – and puts it adjacent to a conclusion about transfering profits offshore.

            So again, I’m not finding the outrage all that firmly based in reality.

            It may be reality based – I’m certainly not a good enough tax asccountant nor familiar enough with Apple’s actions – but it surely looks like there’s a lot of smoke.

            • Michael H Schneider

              Sorry, I forgtot to type in my name. That was me

              • Michael H Schneider

                If anyone cares, there are some links and summaries here:
                http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/05/20/apple-cook-senate-taxes/

                That site is a known pro-Apple site. FWIW.

                One of the crucial points, to me, is that taxes should be fair. Fairness requires that everyone plays by the same set of rules.

                We’ve got a really bad set of tax rules, not only in the US, but internationally. But they are the rules we have.

                If Appple, or anyone else, breaks the rules they should pay. But it’s inherently unfair to criticize Apple for something that’s (a) legal and (b) done by a lot of others besides Apple.

                I’m with Tim Cook on the basic principle: if you Senators don’t like what we’re dong, change the rules. But don’t criticize us for doing what your rules tell us we should do.

                We scoffed when anti-tax people said ‘if you think people should pay higher taxes, then go ahead and pay higher taxes’. And rightly so. But now we’ve got prominent progressives saying, in essence, that one corporation should just voluntarily pay higher taxes than the rules require.

                • Manta

                  As I said below, the US government does a lot to help Apple by aggressively enacting (through trade agreements) and enforcing IP regulations.
                  It would merely need to become less enthusiastic about them unless the companies that benefit from them pay “volunteer” to pay higher taxes.
                  If I am not mistaken, it would be a legal thing to do (besides being the right thing).

        • JKTHs

          But you aren’t addressing the question of why the US should tax Apple on money it makes in Africa from a store in Africa and a sale in Africa. Or wherever.

          This is pretty irrelevant not just because we’re talking a situation where Apple wasn’t paying taxes to ANY government, but also because of how the US system works. Assuming we did tax Apple on these earnings in Africa, they would get a foreign tax credit that would reduce their liability dollar-for-dollar by whatever the country imposes. So, the US would be allowing Apple to be indifferent to their foreign tax burden, making it politically easier for that country to keep a relatively high tax burden.

          • Michael H Schneider

            First, if Apple paid a 10% rate, yes, it would get a 10% credit against the 34% US tax rate. That doesn’t make Apple indifferent to that additional 25%. Or that’s my understanding – I may be wrong.

            Second, I’ve seen an allegation that there was $10B a year for three or 4 years that wasn’t taxed anywhere – but I don’t know how much of that $102B was completely untaxed anywhere. The information may be available, I may have missed it. It’s a remarkably complex topic, which I certainly don’t fully understand

  • dan

    “To me, morality in government means more than a mere absence of wrongdoing. It means a government that is fair to all. I think it is just as immoral for the Congress to enact special tax favors into law as it is for a tax official to connive in a crooked tax return. It is just as immoral to use the lawmaking power of the Government to enrich the few at the expense of the many, as it is to steal money from the public treasury. That is stealing money from the public treasury.

    “All of us know, of course, about the scandals and corruption of the Republican officeholders in the 1920’s. But to my mind the Veterans’ Administration scandals, in those days, and the Teapot Dome steal, were no worse—no more immoral—than the tax laws of Andrew Mellon, or the attempt to sell Muscle Shoals to private owners. Legislation that favored the greed of monopoly and the trickery of Wall Street was a form of corruption that did the country four times as much harm as Teapot Dome ever did.”

    — Harry S Truman, 1952

  • Chaed

    I was never particularly good at the maths, so correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn’t we be better off if we had some form of a national value-added tax. Make the rate lower for daily essentials like food and so on but have it higher for things like iPhones. I think that Krugman has advocated this before. Republicans seem to hate it for the sole reason that it is too Europeany.

    I was always a bit wary of the idea because it sounded too much like that Fair Tax nonsense, but a lot of countries sustain much more robust welfare states using a VAT as their primary source of revenue.

    Also, wouldn’t this make it a whole lot harder for mondo corporations to work in loop holes?

    If I am missing something… I fully recognize the possibility and invite anyone to set me straight.

    • Walt

      My impression is that the value-added tax has just as great scope for chicanery as the current system, since it relies on self-reporting. So companies can decide that the “value-added” happens in Ireland.

      • Andy Wilton

        As I understand it, European countries may be able to shift the added value within the EU, but not outside it: VAT also functions as an import tax, so costs from outside the EU aren’t deductible. In other words, if the US had a European style VAT with a single federally-set rate, nobody would be able to shift the added value offshore. That iPad you just bought? 15% (or whatever) of the price you paid is going straight to Uncle Sam. (Or maybe not “straight”: there’d be transport costs within the US, shop fittings in the Apple store etc, but he’d get the money one way or the other.)

    • Jon H

      The UK has VAT, but it also has loads of profitable companies paying zero tax, including Starbucks, who recently boasted of record revenue in the UK, then reported a tiny amount of profit.

      • Andy Wilton

        Starbucks might wangle their way out of paying a fair level of UK corporation tax, but I don’t think anyone’s accused them of dodging VAT. As per Chaed above, it’s a hard tax to dodge, since it falls on the end (non-business) customer, who probably isn’t willing to offshore him/herself for 15% off the price of a latte. The US government are effectively trying to tax the profit on Apple’s selling Chinese manufacured goods to Belgians, so it’s hardly surprising they’re having problems: the Belgian government, on the other hand, has no trouble at all getting their slice of the cake.

  • Manta

    I remind that Apple receives huge subsidy from US in the form of IP laws and trade agreements that allow it to run a state-enforced monopoly.

    It would be enough that the US government used its discretionary power to enforce less the IP laws and to force other state to follow suit to put a huge dent on Apple profits.

  • Book

    Can someone more jurisprudent than I explain to which degree the aspect of fiduciary duty impels corporations to dodge taxes? I see it trotted out as a defence at times.

    • Malaclypse

      Can someone more jurisprudent than I explain to which degree the aspect of fiduciary duty impels corporations to dodge taxes?

      The idea that one owes a fiduciary duty to shareholders to maximize profit, and taxes cut into profit.

      Why this duty always crops up regarding tax avoidance, and never regarding executive compensation, is left as an exercise for the reader.

  • Andy Wilton

    Erik, are you implying that there’s a moral duty for Apple to pay US corporation tax on worldwide profits? How would such a duty arise? Not from rule of law, surely, as no-one is claiming they acted illegally; not from Elizabeth Warren’s infrastructure arguments either, ISTM, given that these are goods manufactured and sold entirely outside the US; so – corporate personhood? Or am I missing something?

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