It is no secret that corporations use tax loopholes and such to get out of paying what often amounts to a hefty chunk of money in taxes. Apple is one such corporation, but unlike the others, it stands out as having reportedly used exceptionally complex “gimmicks” and “schemes” to get out of paying billions of dollars in taxes over the course of the last few years. According to a Congressional investigation, the multi-country subsidiaries Apple uses are more convoluted than most of the systems seen by experts.
Apple avoided paying $74 billion in taxes from 2009 to 2012, doing so using a variety of subsidiaries scattered throughout the world, according to investigators. According to the New York Times, some of these subsidiaries do not have employees, instead being run by “top officials” at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters. Such subsidiaries not only skip out on paying taxes, but also aren’t required to file tax returns.
Said Senator Carl Levin (D. Michigan), Chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations: “Apple wasn’t satisfied with shifting its profits to a low-tax offshore tax haven. Apple successfully sought the holy grail of tax avoidance. It has created offshore entities holding tens of billions of dollars while claiming to be tax resident nowhere … I’ve never seen anything like this and we don’t know anybody who’s seen anything like this.”
Despite the means it used to avoid paying taxes, Apple has not been pegged as having violated any laws. The investigation does, however, underscore the reality of tax loopholes, and will be used in a possibly volatile meeting between the Congressional committee and Apple tomorrow. The committee will also show findings that Apple’s effective tax rate was lower than its disclosed tax rate by at least 4-percent.
Not surprisingly, Apple disagrees with the results of the investigation, saying that it does not use gimmicks and other similar methods to avoid paying taxes. Likewise, says the company, its biggest subsidiaries don’t reduce the amount of taxes it pays. Says a statement from the company, “[Apple] welcomes an objective examination of the U.S. corporate tax system, which has not kept pace with the advent of the digital age and the rapidly changing global economy.”