Apple iTax: made in Ireland, designed in the US
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Apple, famous for its innovative products, is equally creative in its tax structure.
From 2009 to 2012, it successfully sheltered US$44 billion from being taxed anywhere in the world, including sales generated in Australia.
While there are probably some sound reasons for Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, to claim in a US congressional hearing in May 2013
that his company “complies fully with both the laws and spirit of the
laws”, many people may think it is immoral for such a successful company
to avoid taxation.
But the company shouldn’t be alone in the being blamed for the low tax it pays around the world.
Concerted government action, including specific provisions inserted
into US tax laws in 1997, have made it possible for multinationals with
complex structures to funnel profits between the gaps of tax
And it is unlikely to be a coincidence that Irish tax law has been
crafted to allow companies incorporated in Ireland to take full
advantage of these gaps in the US.
Mapping the reach of Apple’s iTax scheme and the rules it uses to
hide profits is difficult, if not impossible, to discern from its
My research on this topic would have been impossible but for information revealed in the US Senate hearing in May last year.