Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 1st Sep 2016 22:42 UTC

Matt Gardner, the director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, took a look at Tim Cook's terrible letter to EU consumers regarding Apple's tax evasion, and pretty much tears it to shreds.

Apple created a complicated web of subsidiaries to avoid taxes, and the Irish government allowed it. Both the company and the country were complicit in this agreement. The idea that Ireland gave Apple guidance on "how to comply correctly with Irish tax law" makes both parties sound less guilty than they are. A better characterization would be that Apple cooked up a tax-dodging scheme, and Ireland allowed it.

Further along, Gardner actually opens up a major can of worms, arguing that either Apple provided false figures in its annual report, or Tim Cook is lying in his letter to EU consumers:

It doesn't appear to be even remotely truthful based on the numbers they publish in their annual reports. Each year they report that the majority of their profits are earned outside the U.S., with roughly a third (on average, over the past five years) coming from the U.S. When you look at the 10K, the annual report for 2015, you see the company reports earnings of $72 billion worldwide, and just one third of those profits are attributed to the U.S. And yet Cook's statement says that the vast majority of their income is taxed in the U.S.

We think that is a very low estimate. It certainly appears that the company is shifting profits out of the U.S. and into tax havens overseas. So one of these things must not be true: Either the numbers presented to shareholders in their annual report are false, or Tim Cook's new statement that the majority of its profits are taxed in the U.S is false. They both can't be true.

That's a bold claim to make, but it's hard, if not impossible, to argue with Gardner on this one. Since it's incredibly unlikely Apple is falsifying its annual reports, the most logical conclusion is that Tim Cook is lying in the open letter.

Tim - if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

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Pretty good lies
by protomank on Fri 2nd Sep 2016 12:16 UTC
Member since:

Even on Brazil, a country know for big companies even paying tax system judges to rule in their favor (google for Zelotes), and governments creating laws to benefit those companies and not the small ones, once you get caught using the system in a "creative way" to avoid paying taxes, what happens is that the calc all taxes you should had paid and send you the bill. This is no retroactive paying, this is paying what you should had paid if you had follow the regular tax laws instead of inventing ways to avoid them.
Pretty simple and logic.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Pretty good lies
by darknexus on Fri 2nd Sep 2016 13:34 in reply to "Pretty good lies"
darknexus Member since:

Except that if you weren't doing anything illegal, they have no right to punish you. I'm not saying whether Apple and Ireland were engaged in illegal activity. I don't know the laws well enough, and it's not my call to make. I'd say they were skirting the edges of morality, but then again who doesn't do that in someone else's eyes?
This is why I blame the system and the lawmakers who do not try to clarify tax law, rather quite the contrary deliberately make it more difficult so they (and their friends) can benefit from the very schemes they claim to abhor. It's "creativity" when they do it, and "illegal" when someone else does exactly the same thing. Fsck that, I say. How can anyone take these assholes seriously?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Pretty good lies
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 2nd Sep 2016 13:54 in reply to "RE: Pretty good lies"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:

Except that if you weren't doing anything illegal, they have no right to punish you.

Nobody is punishing anybody. A lot of people seem to think this is a fine, but it isn't.

This is no different than paying your taxes over 2015, only for the government to realise a mistake has been made and you payed too little. You WILL have to pay those back taxes, whether you like it or not, but it's not a fine or a punishment. This happens all the f--king time, all over the world, in every country.

It's become pretty clear that even the simple use of the word "tax" leaves a lot of people - especially on the right, and especially especially in America - confuzzled, to a point of blind rage, causing them to conflate issues and not see things straight.

Apple got a very special tax deal not available to anybody else. This amounts to illegal sate aid. Other companies and countries - including my own - were ordered to respectively pay and collect these back taxes as well. There's a ton of precedent in EU history for this, no matter how many lies Tim Cook puts in cringy open letters.

Edited 2016-09-02 13:55 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Pretty good lies
by dsmogor on Fri 2nd Sep 2016 19:10 in reply to "RE: Pretty good lies"
dsmogor Member since:

No, it's Apple that should blame Irish and their own advisers for looking too narrowly (at the Irish tax deal and not the EU context).
They were probably ensured that EC would never trigger the state aid bill as they didn't in case of German shipping industry (e.g.
They forgot EC only makes exceptions for struggling industries that would cause huge uproar in core countries if collapsed...
and they've probably bet on wrong lobbysts

Reply Parent Score: 3