We’d be outraged that Apple is trying to avoid paying its fair share of taxes, but the reality is, every corporation does this. It’s just that Apple is doing it on a scale Wall Street bros can only dream of, by, legally, being a company without a country.
Essentially, according to a Senate panel, Apple’s been gaming tax codes for years. It’s not a big secret that the company has a massive hoard of cash, what with selling all those iPads and iPhones, but most of that cash is located overseas, specifically Ireland, where they’ve negotiated a 2% tax rate nobody else gets. The company refuses to bring it to the US because they don’t want to pay any taxes on their income, to the point where they’ll issue debt rather than use their cash. But the tax-dodging goes a lot deeper than that.
Apple has creatively set up corporate structures in various countries that let it act as a resident of nowhere; therefore, the company gets to pay barely any or no corporate taxes on its international revenue. In fact, one of Apple’s subsidiaries, Apple Operations International, hasn’t paid corporate taxes for the last five years even though it earned $29.6 billion from 2009 to 2012, according to the Senate panel.
It’s worth noting that Apple paid out $6 billion in taxes last year, so it’s not like this is Facebook taking half a billion of your tax dollars on top of massive profits. Still, there’s a lot of money at stake here and a lot of questionable practices, and it seems likely that fairly soon, like it or not, Apple’s going to have to bring that money home.