updated 05:20 pm EDT, Sat April 28, 2012
Apple and others reposition funds to minimize tax
Apple served as the example for a wider industry issue once more on Saturday through an investigation on Saturday. The iPhone maker was already known to be offshoring most of its income, but it's now known by the New York Times to have divisions across Europe, the British Virgin Islands, and elsewhere outside of the US to minimize how much it's taxed. Within the US itself, it has taken advantage of Nevada's absence of corporate tax to boost some of the gains that come into the US.
Google, Dell, Yahoo, and other companies also use these loopholes, paying about a third less on average than many companies in the Standard and Poor index. Apple is mostly just more skillful at reducing that tax rate to a lower point than others, anonymous executives said. One of these tricks includes the "Double Irish With a Dutch Sandwich," which routes through its namesake countries before going to the Caribbean and a further discount.
About 70 percent of Apple's net income is typically outside of the US.
Apple in response has defended itself, saying it met the "highest of ethical standards," and is entirely within its legal reach at present. Some of the reduced taxes have come from lobbying by multiple companies to get tax credits for research and other special circumstances. These companies have together been pushing for tax breaks as incentives to get their revenue back into the US.
Many firms, including Apple, do contribute locally, such as giving to Stanford University or to charity groups like (Product) RED. Since Tim Cook became CEO, the company has begun charity donation matching programs. However,it's considered possible that billions of dollars between these companies would normally be owed to both federal and state agencies, and could significantly reduce government debts.