Accused of tax optimization, Apple denounces "hogwash"

Accused of tax optimization, Apple denounces "hogwash"
"Some politicians hogwash". When asked by the American 60 Minutes aired Sunday, December 20, Tim Cook responded vehemently to accusations of tax optimization. These particular from the US Congress, which had found in 2013 that the group at the apple had established a "sophisticated" to pay little or no taxes on its sales abroad. "There is no truth in that. Apple pays every tax dollar that it must" retorts its CEO.


"We pay more taxes than anyone in this country" defends Mr. Cook also. True, this argument is however limited: if the Cupertino company pays more than all other US companies, it is because it generates more profit. During its last fiscal year ended in late September, earnings before taxes amounted to 72.5 billion dollars (66.4 billion euros). A level that no other US company had previously achieved.

To ease its imposition, Apple - like most of the major US high-tech companies - uses three subsidiaries based in Ireland. Part of its profits entirely escape the US tax authorities, but also to fiscs other countries. Additionally, the company benefits from a favorable regime negotiated with the Irish government. Thus, it would pay a rate of 2.3% on profits earned abroad, according to the organ.


By keeping its profits outside the US borders, Apple has accumulated 187 billion dollars (171.4 billion euros) of capital abroad. This represents approximately 90% of its cash. This proportion is increasing - it was 72% two years ago - a reflection of the internationalization of the company's sales, especially in Asia. "Two-thirds of our business is abroad", justifies Mr. Cook. The manager ensures that it "would bring the money home."

But Apple refuses to do so. "It would cost me 40%. And I do not think that's a reasonable thing," says the company boss. In reality, the bill would be slightly lower: to repatriate cash to the US, Apple should pay a tax rate of 32.7%, according to Citizens for Tax Justice (the difference between 35% under US law and actually paid 2.3% abroad). This would represent a cost of over $ 61 billion.


"It is not ideal to have so much money abroad, which can not be invested in the US," acknowledged Mr. Cook last year. The company therefore calls for tax reform, advocating for a tax rate to a single digit on profits made abroad. "The tax code was designed for the industrial age, not for the digital age, provides executive of Apple. It is outdated and horrible for America. He should have been changed there for many years. It is more than time to do it. "

This capital stranded abroad lead to a paradoxical situation. Despite its record cash, Apple also displays a growing debt. On September 30, the company was in debt to the tune of $ 64 billion, 20 billion more than the end of March. In spring 2013, however, it showed no debt. Since then, Apple has made multiple issues of bonds, taking advantage of low interest rates. The company has raised nearly $ 50 billion in order to remunerate its shareholders.