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Tim Cook says Apple tax avoidance claims are ‘total political crap’


Apple CEO Tim Cook

Tax is a tricky business, and Apple’s CEO isn’t happy with the state of affairs.

Tim Cook has it back at persistent claims that Apple is wilfully avoiding tax payments in the US.

The Apple chief executive described such allegations as “total political crap” during an interview with 60 Minutes’ Charlie Rose.

The broadcaster questioned Cook over how he feels when tax criticisms are levied against Apple.

We pay more taxes in this country than anyone,” he said, adding: “We happily pay it.”

Rose argued that Apple is right to pay more; after all, Apple is the most valuable company in the world by a long way, in terms of market capitalsation.

However, Cook also pointed out that over two-thirds of Apple’s business is overseas.

“I’d love to bring it home,” explains the Apple CEO, adding that he doesn’t because “it would cost me 40% to bring it home, and I don’t think that’s a reasonable thing to do.”

Cook continues: “This is a tax code, Charlie, that was made for the Industrial Age, not the Digital Age. It’s backwards. It’s awful for America. It should have been fixed many years ago.”

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This isn’t the first time Cook has been under fire over taxes.

The CEO was questioned in front of Congress two years ago. As Rose points out, Congress concluded that Apple is holding $74 billion overseas, using schemes to pay little or no taxes.

To that, Cook responds: “That is total political crap. There is no truth behind it. Apple pays every tax dollar we owe.”

The full 60 Minutes interview is due to air in the US on CBS this Sunday.

Do you think Apple is at fault here, or is the US tax system not up to scratch? Let us know in the comments.


December 19, 2015, 11:14 am

I would understand his argument, if he were saying that Apple does pays the taxes in the economies where Apple does earn the money.

But I can see that all Apple, or any company, can do is to play the rules of the game to their shareholdres' best advantage. Up to the legislators to set the rules appropriately.

Rex Steinkuller

December 19, 2015, 2:04 pm

I'm starting to like it here!


December 19, 2015, 6:13 pm

well said timmy

Hamish Campbell

December 21, 2015, 12:01 pm

I think he's only referering to US taxes, in that their tax code says one is liable to pay tax on worldwide income (this is common) and they don't take into account the tax paid in other duristrictions (not common, although there may be tax agreements that sort this out with some countries).

I don't that he is addressing the backroom deals with tax havens, artificial company constructs, fraudulent transfer pricing etc that is used to avoid paying tax in other countries where they sell there products or have other business.

Is it fair that he should pay 30-40 % tax in (for example) Denmark, and then pay 40% tax AGAIN on that same amount in the US? No, that does not sound reasonable. The US needs to sort that out.

Is fair that all maner of dodgy schemes are used to not pay any tax in Denmark? No it is not.

And after NOT paying tax anywhere on the money, it's a bit rich to then complain about paying the tax in the US.


December 21, 2015, 2:32 pm

"Apple pays every tax dollar we owe.”

I'm sure Apple pay every cent they are legally obligated to pay, once the accountants have used every trick in the book to reduce the tax bill.

Still, what does anyone expect? As with any CEO, Cook's obligation is purely to his shareholders. Legislation is the only way to force change, but it's tricky - these huge companies can be 'based' anywhere, and would likely relocate if faced with a billion-dollar tax bill.

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