Apple's tax strategy portrayed by Senate subcommittee as a unique 'absurdity'

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Comments

  • Reply 81 of 159
    The US gov't no doubt made the loopholes in the first place at the request of special interest groups filling politicians back pockets, and now wants to leach more money back to feed it's machine churning away while striping away citizens rights.
  • Reply 82 of 159
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jungmark View Post



    Congress is just grandstanding. If it was really an outrage they would have passed new laws to close the loopholes. This isn't a new thing.


    ^this^

  • Reply 83 of 159
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post


    Considering the Government is "by the people, for the people", perhaps the real problem, is, well... people.



     


    image Now that's a good one!


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post


    As a whole, people are stupid and shortsighted.



     


    True enough.


     


    But your general point is correct: We get the government we deserve (collectively).

  • Reply 84 of 159
    future manfuture man Posts: 100member
    Apple or any corporation uses its legal leverage to take advantage of US tax 'avoidance' (not tax evasion or fraud) due to the Byzantine and arcane tax system that the law makers (either intentionally or not) have put into place over decade after decade of enacting more and more laws. While no one wants to pay taxes, who in their right mind want to pay more than that which is legally obligated? No one! That reason, along with the tax code complexity, is the reason why US citizens and corporations pay professional tax preparers and attorneys. The solution is both pragmatic and practical, yet for vested interests no one wants to take the 'giant step' and reform the tax system to make it equitable and SIMPLE! I think that US tax reform should have been placed as a priority ahead of any national health care proposal, as taxes effect every single American and at every income level. There should be an honest intellectual debate on the best, optimal ways of having a tax system, then we need to work the details on the individual and corporate tax rates.

    Any tax reform needs to encourage re-investment and re-capitalization of investment back into business on the shores of the USA! A strong economic America was the entity that socially changed the US and the world, a poor democracy cannot do such things (witness India in the 1960s). We, the citizens, need great thinkers and people of action in our government, inter-party politics is slowly diluting the vitality of our country because a viable solution on any given issue is automatically dismissed by either the opposing party or the invisible fourth branch of government- the lobbying system. Just my 2 cents folks. America is still a great country and it is because of the good people that we have in it, may it always remain so and be a beacon of hope and inspiration to others.
  • Reply 85 of 159
    echosonicechosonic Posts: 462member
    No, they should not close the loophole, they should abolish the IRS, the entire tax code that was desinged to make a profit-churning industry for greedy lawyers, and institute a flat taxacross the board so that we no longer have to listen to smarmy, slimey politicians and liberals alike bitch and complain about who is or is not paying their fair share. And by "fair" they mean "whatever the hell i feel like sliding the scale to on any given day for the purpose of trying to discredit or destroy for personal gain."
  • Reply 86 of 159
    luykxluykx Posts: 20member


    I'm a longtime reader, but first time poster. The reason is I'm a bit surprised by the reactions in this thread to the hearings. Although it's obvious stories are produced by the media with a minimum of nuance and fact, and an optimum of opinions and sentiments, I'm surprised this is largely copied here in an otherwise sensible forum, imo.


     


    In the documentary I'll post here, is a bit more info about the practices of Apple, amongst others, in the use of off-shore tax havens. Whether that's legal or morally correct is in the eye of the beholder, as far as I'm concerned. But the idea that government is some kind of idiot is as idiotic as that government apparently looks.


     


    It's a dutch documentary, but there are subtitles available (by clicking the "double lines" icon). Regardless on your take of this issue, this documentary gives an interesting and - as far as I can see - balanced approach to describe the current situation.


     


    Things which are explained is, for example, how profits are channelled through various (non-transparent) setups with the goal to minimize taxes. Regardless of the location these profits originally had been made. As mentioned in the documentary (again, it's Dutch so there's no involvement of US-money), Apple is famous for pioneering things like the "The Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwitch" (as explained roughly 6mins in).


     


    Personally, I think the US government has every right to ask Apple for some sort of explanation. Regardless of the eventual outcome of such a questionnaire, btw. As many of you have argued, it's all legal. So the point should be: what should the US and the international community do about these tax-free havens. Because the underlying issue is that a lot of money (profit) evaporates from the top of the economy into some non-transparent black hole outside the economy. And that's just in nobodies interest (despite what a very happy few would argue, of course).


     


    image

  • Reply 87 of 159
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,471member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    ...




    Levin

    U.S. Sen. Carl Levin gave the opening remarks of Tuesday's hearing on Apple's tax policies.





    ...



    The senator did praise Apple as an "American success story," and noted that he carries an iPhone in his pocket. He also acknowledged that many U.S. multinational corporations beyond avoid taxes by exploiting loopholes in the law.

    ...


     


    I do believe he is a troll.  The highlighted comment is straight from TS's rules of a troll.  Somehow his comments are OK as he too has an iphone.

  • Reply 88 of 159
    The Senate brands another organization a "unique absurdity". Oh, the irony!
  • Reply 89 of 159
    tribalogicaltribalogical Posts: 1,182member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 6ryph3n View Post



    Rand Paul 2016. The only senator there with an ounce of sense.


     


    Um excuse me, even a broken clock is right twice a day.


     


    Paul being right on this ONE topic does not make the man presidential material, FFS!


     


    Believe me, I pay attention. The rest of the garbage that comes out of this guy's mouth is, well, just that… stinky rhetoric and waste product. Please!

  • Reply 90 of 159
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    In opening remarks of a hearing Tuesday morning, the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations accused Apple of being the mastermind of elaborate tax avoidance practices that are unique to the iPhone maker.

    Here's a tip:

    If Apple did something illegal, turn them over to the IRS. If they didn't, stop the ridiculous grandstanding and do something useful for a change.
  • Reply 91 of 159
    mistergsfmistergsf Posts: 234member
    There is a difference between "avoiding" taxes and "evading" taxes. Apple has done nothing illegal by avoiding taxes. All corporations do it, all taxpayers do it. Change the tax codes, close the loopholes and move on. In other words Senators, do your jobs and quit grandstanding and wasting taxpayer money!
  • Reply 92 of 159
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    Personally, I think the US government has every right to ask Apple for some sort of explanation.



     


    Government: Why, Apple?



    Apple: Why what? You have no right to force us to bring money into the country.


     


    Government: Oh.

  • Reply 93 of 159
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    Personally, I think the US government has every right to ask Apple for some sort of explanation.


     



     


    Personally, I think you are entitled to think what you like, even if what you think is wrong (as in this case.)

  • Reply 94 of 159
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member


    "Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    Personally, I think the US government has every right to ask Apple for some sort of explanation."


     


    Yes, but the agency to do the asking is the agency actually tasked with tax code enfoprcement and compliance: The IRS, who, to all reports, do NOT have a problem with Apple's compliance, i.e. Apple has done zero illegalities.

  • Reply 95 of 159
    jrobjrob Posts: 49member
    Looks like Apple hasn't been paying its "protection" fees. Reminds me of the china anti-Apple PR campaign. Looks like congress was taking notes.

    At least Apple is creating lots of jobs and great products. Unlike some other businesses, which are skimming off other people's hard work (much of the financial activity, for one), and doing so using blatant manipulation (LIBOR, etc) and unethical government influence.

    The optimistic part of me would like to think this is a way to actually promote tax reform by providing Apple a platform to promote its ideas. Yeah, I think that part of me is naive and stupid too.
  • Reply 96 of 159
    luykxluykx Posts: 20member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


     


    Personally, I think you are entitled to think what you like, even if what you think is wrong (as in this case.)



     


    Thanks for actually providing an argument here. Have you seen the documentary?


     


    There comes a point where "because it's legal", or "because everyone does it" stops being an argument. They say it's legal, but is it? And to what extent? It's at least debatable, as shown/argued in the documentary. And everyone does it? Well, multinationals do, but in terms of people, that's a very small minority. As mentioned in the docu, and estimated .14% of the population owns 95% of the estimated offshore capital. And offshore doesn't just mean "not in the US". It basically means "outside of the normal world economy".


     


    Imo, this discussion is somewhat similar to the discussion in cycling. As long as everyone uses performance enhancing products which are practically outside of formal regulations (either because it's not on some list of forbidden products, or it's not traceable, or traced) and nobody's caught it's OK, right?


     


    There's obviously an argument here which goes beyond a "what you (or I) think is wrong". It's a valid discussion, imo. What I do think is odd, is that the focus of the current discussion in congress is primarily aimed at Apple. Although Apple might have "pioneered" some techniques, that doesn't mean they should be a single target of this discussion. The practice among multinationals is obviously widespread.

  • Reply 97 of 159
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    Thanks for actually providing an argument here.



     


    I don't know if you're being sarcastic or not, but there's no real argument to make here. You claimed the government has a particular right. They don't. They have the power to do it, but that's not the same thing as having a right to do it. Arguably the government has no rights here at all and Apple's rights (including its owners) are being violated.


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    Have you seen the documentary?



     


    Nope.


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    There comes a point where "because it's legal", or "because everyone does it" stops being an argument.



     


    Actually, we've come to the point of asking whether what the government is doing here is morally defensible at all. What Apple is doing is 100% morally defensible.


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    They say it's legal, but is it?



     


    If there is something illegal, there's a process for that. Surely if there was, Apple would have been outed for it by now.


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post


    There's obviously an argument here which goes beyond a "what you (or I) think is wrong".



     


    Actually that discussion hasn't even been had in its proper entirety. To the extent that the question has been asked, it has been primarily focused on whether what Apple is doing is right or wrong. There is a deeper question here of what the role, rights, responsibilities and legitimate, morally defensible roles of the government are. This is basically being ignored and everyone is begging the question on it.

  • Reply 98 of 159
    gregordgregord Posts: 36member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Luykx View Post

    extent? It's at least debatable, as shown/argued in the documentary. And everyone does it? Well, multinationals do, but in terms of people, that's a very small minority. As mentioned in the docu, and estimated .14% of the population owns 95% of the estimated offshore capital. And offshore doesn't just mean "not in the US". It basically means "outside of the normal world economy".


     


    I fail to see how .14% controlling 95% of the estimated offshore capital has anything to do with this. This is a characteristic of capitalistic firms that are successful. A huge amount of profit is accrued and is being held by Apple in cash and cash equivalents outside of the U.S. The reason they do not repatriate the cash is that it would be subject to U.S. tax. By avoiding this unnecessary expense they are bringing value to their shareholders. It also indicates that Apple does not see voluntarily giving away its profit to an unproductive enterprise such as the U.S. government as good for business. If you are in favor of giving your profits to the government feel free to lead by example.


     


    Your quote about "outside of the normal world economy" is puzzling. Do you think only money that is subject to taxation is part of the economy? What is the economy as your refer to it? By this logic all the money that is tied up in cash/cash equivalents is not part of the economy. A basic fact of the free economy is people can do what they want with their money, they do not have to subject it to taxation willingly, or be forced to invest it.

  • Reply 99 of 159
    youngexecyoungexec Posts: 11member


    He won't stand a chance because of the entitlement mentality of American citizens and corporations.

     

  • Reply 100 of 159
    luykxluykx Posts: 20member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


     


    If there is something illegal, there's a process for that. Surely if there was, Apple would have been outed for it by now.


     


     


     


    Actually that discussion hasn't even been had in its proper entirety. To the extent that the question has been asked, it has been primarily focused on whether what Apple is doing is right or wrong. There is a deeper question here of what the role, rights, responsibilities and legitimate, morally defensible roles of the government are. This is basically being ignored and everyone is begging the question on it.



     


    No, the whole point is, that these practices are currently outside the reach of being either legal or illegal. If laws are imperfect, which they trivially are, is it just OK to make use of those imperfections? And does that make that legal? That's a moral argument right there which goes beyond whether this government is morally defensible. 


     


    The scary story is that these tax-laws are practically written by the same people who practice them. The big 4 accounting firms. Is that morally defensible? It is practically defensible, but morally? That's another discussion on morality.


     


    IMO, the deeper questions actually go beyond the roles of government. Hitting the ball back to government just doesn't cut it. That would only work in some kind of abstract perfect world where laws and regulations are perfect, people behave rational and information on financial transactions are perfectly transparent. I hope you don't believe this abstract world is close to the real world.


     


    Whatever you think of my arguments though, the documentary makes a better case of what I'm trying to argue. It's obvious I'm unable to convince you in any way (one of the reasons is that english is not my natural language), but I do believe there's a valid argument. If you, or other people, are willing to see why, at least view the first 15 mins. I've edited the link to a better version without any hassle with subtitles. If you're not willing, well I don't see a point in arguing. In a context which is as difficult like this, where few people actually have sufficient facts to make any argument (which go beyond: "if it's illegal, let the IRS take care of it!"), so every argument becomes "true"-ish. And the majority decides on what it thinks is right or wrong. In a context where a majority don't have all the information, it becomes a Lord of the Flies situation where wrong can become right and vice versa. 

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