Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) set a record for its $17 billion debt offering in the last month, but the entire borrowing could have been avoided if there was not such a high corporate tax penalty for companies to repatriate their profits earnings overseas and in foreign entities. Now Apple is joining in on the overseas taxes and the corporate income tax debate. The company will testify before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and this pertains to the so-called repatriation tax that is so heavily debated (and misunderstood) by the public.
What is so interesting here is that Apple is sounding more and more like any other company that wants to maximize its tax benefits within the existing laws. Taxation of foreign income is an ongoing hot-button and it will be interesting to see exactly how this debate will take place now that it includes Apple. Will the public continue to think that Apple can do no wrong?
Apple’s defense starts out that it is likely the highest paying corporation for income taxes in America. It also talks about employing tens of thousands of Americans and pays billions of dollars each year to the US Treasury in corporate income and payroll taxes. Keep in mind that Apple now has well over $100 billion in cash. The company would also have to pay out billions upon billions of dollars that would be a penalty if the company brought that cash back into the U.S.
The company said, “Apple welcomes an objective examination of the US corporate tax system, which has not kept pace with the advent of the digital age and the rapidly changing global economy. The Company supports comprehensive tax reform as a necessary step to promote growth and enable American multinational companies to remain competitive with their foreign counterparts in both domestic and international markets.”
Apple will claim that it has created or supported approximately 600,000 jobs in the US, broken down as 50,000 by the company and another 550,000 or so at other companies. Some 290,000 of those are tied to the new “app economy.” Apple also claims that its 2012 U.S. tax bill of $6 billion is close to $1 of every $40 in income received from corporations. It showed a 30.5% tax rate last year and expects to pay closer to $7 billion in 2013. Here are some additional bullet points:
- Apple has been a powerful engine of job creation in the US.
- Apple pays an extraordinary amount in US taxes.
- Apple does not use tax gimmicks.
- Apple carefully manages its foreign cash holdings to support its overseas operations in the best interests of its shareholders.
- The dividends distributed among Apple’s international affiliates, including AOI, are not subject to US corporate income tax.
- Apple’s cost sharing agreement with two of its subsidiaries supports high-paying, tax-revenue generating jobs in the US.
- AOI performs important business functions that facilitate and enhance Apple’s success in international markets; it is not a shell company.
- Apple supports comprehensive reform of the US corporate tax system.
The company’s full pre-testimony report is here.