Apple Shuffles Revenue Out of U.S., Pays Only 1.9% in Taxes on Foreign Earnings
November 5, 2012 11:40 AM
comment(s) - last by
Apple does not count foreign tax savings in its reported profits
Whether you're voting for Romney or Obama tomorrow, neither candidate comes close to offering a tax rate sweet enough to
sate the appetite
of Apple, Inc. (
), the world's most profitable technology company, and
most valuable firm
in terms of present market capitalization.
In 2011, Apple
made a fortune on foreign earnings
, paying a lowly 2.5 percent on the $25B USD it earned outside the U.S. Financial documents
filed last week
indicate that the company's fiscal year, which concluded in September, saw an even bigger revenue boom outside the U.S.
Apple in calendar Q4 2011-Q3 2012 paid a
mere 1.9 percent
in foreign taxes, while ballooning foreign earnings to $36.8B USD. That's a pretty hefty sum considering Apple's full-year reported earnings were $41.7B USD on revenue of $156.5B USD.
Here's where things get a little confusing. The $41.7B USD is a post-tax figure that assumes Apple's effective U.S. tax rate extends to its foreign earnings. Apple is currently hoarding that cash overseas -- an estimated $82.6B USD, but it breaks from some in not reporting all of it as earnings.
It also has avoided spending the massive profits, gained by using tax shelters like the Cayman Islands, Ireland, and small European tax-haven nation states. It is estimated that Apple's decision not to include the tax-sheltered earnings in its bottom line cost it an extra $10.5B USD of profits (on paper, at least) over the last three years).
Apple paid less than 2 percent in taxes on its overseas earnings.
[Image Source: SomanyMP3s]
Apple's decision to not report the gains as profits is interesting, and perhaps a reflection that Apple believes that the U.S. government will eventually force technology companies to "pay up" amid growing scrutiny of corporate tax sheltering practices.
Apple, which almost exclusively manufacturers its products in China, is not alone in its smart-sourcing of profits to tax shelters and manufacturing to cheap Asian labor sources. Google Inc. (
), Apple's perennial smartphone foe has engaged in similar practices, although not to such a massive extent.
The on-paper general corporate tax rate in the U.S. is 35-percent, however, that figure is misleading as the complex U.S. tax code typically leaves a wealth of loopholes available for big businesses to lower their rates. With loopholes considered, the average for Fortune500 tech companies is around 16 percent [
Apple does indirectly contribute a great deal to the U.S. economy, directly and indirectly
creating 304,000 U.S. jobs
, plus an additional 210,000 U.S. iOS developer jobs.
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RE: nation states?
11/5/2012 6:21:13 PM
The argument I'm making is that the "issues" we fight over on a daily basis will never be resolved. You're not going to get pro-lifers to become pro-choicers. You aren't going to get free-market proponents to suddenly endorse a single payer healthcare system. You aren't going to get gun control activists to start buying handguns. But all of the grievances, regardless of which side of the issue you're on, can be minimized. And without even trampling on others' rights in the process!
Yes, I'm arguing that we form a consensus for a single purpose/task, with the premise that it's a one-time only thing. The alternative being discussed is that we somehow "band together" for completely competing interests, and do so repeatedly. That isn't happening, and it won't happen. But I'm arguing there's an alternative other than throwing our hands up in the air and accepting defeat.
I hope you can see what I'm advocating and how it differs from getting Americans to "all band together for campaign finance reform".
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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