WASHINGTON — Last Tuesday, Apple executives were grilled by U.S. senators who were livid over its tax practices.
Apple avoids U.S. corporate taxes by sheltering them overseas in their subsidiaries in Ireland, for example. Senators like Carl Levin of Michigan and John McCain of Arizona were upset that Apple did this to avoid paying U.S. taxes.
The hearing garnered heavy media attention and came on the heels of an IRS hearing on the same day, where former IRS commissioner Doug Shulman and the recently resigned interim commissioner Miller dodged questions from congressional representatives.
Apple argued that its agreement with the Irish government spans 30 years and has been negotiated with the government, making it completely legal. Yet the tax-revenue hungry senators continued to bash Apple as its executives discussed their tax compliance policies.
The Guardian reports that Senators McCain and Levin lodged complaints against Apple, with Levin claiming that Apple’s practices forced the hearing to happen so the U.S. Senate could publicly demonstrate “the damage it [Apple’s tax strategy] does to our fiscal and economic health.”
McCain accused Apple of being America’s biggest tax avoider, which drew heavy criticism from Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Paul said that the committee “should apologize to Apple” for this hearing and should stop trying “to bully one of America’s greatest success stories.”
Other tax revenue-starved countries like Germany, France and Britain are extremely upset at these practices and are looking for ways to bring in more tax revenue from prosperous corporations and countries, sparking the moniker Google Tax after their targeting of Google for tax revenue. Amazon is also a target of British investigators regarding their tax policy.
Apple reported $74 million in overseas income this past year and paid taxes that were worth about 2% of the income.