A new Senate report (PDF from The New York Times) shows that Apple has been employing potentially sketchy business methods to avoid heavier tax burdens. According to the investigation, the company dodged billions in potential taxes on $44 billion in foreign income during the past four years.
Some of the interesting bits from the Senate’s report: three Apple subsidiaries in Ireland claim no responsibility to pay income taxes to any country. Apple Operations International, one of the Ireland three, reported $30 billion in income during 2009 to 2012 despite having no employees and not filing income taxes anywhere within the last five years. Apple did not violate any laws during this time according to the Senate investigation.
As The Chicago Tribune notes, many of the tactics Apple employed are common for multinational corporations (see cost-sharing arrangements). Google and Amazon were slammed by British parliament last year for their own tax-tiptoeing practices abroad. Nevertheless, the information released today cannot be welcomed by Cupertino with its CEO set to speak in front of Congress tomorrow. The Tribune quoted written testimony for that hearing which addresses this new tax spotlight. According to those statements, Apple does not utilize “tax gimmicks” and “has substantial foreign cash because it sells the majority of its products outside the US.” The company also reiterates that it pays plenty of US taxes, a defense it used in the face of tax accusations last year.