Tim Cook: Apple Should Be The Catalyst For Tax Reform, ‘We Don’t Use Gimmicks’

Seriously, the IRS lets us do all sorts of things.

Seriously, the IRS lets us do all sorts of things.

In his interview today at the AllThingsD D11 conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook responded to questions from Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg about Apple taxes. Relating his time with the congressional subcommittee this past week, Cook, said that he felt strongly about how the company was portrayed by lawmakers.

Cook said that he wanted to be a catalyst for a discussion, coming to the hearing with a proposal rather than a defense, one for a revenue-neutral and major overhaul of corporate taxes nationwide.

Cook said that he felt simplicity was good, and how Apple approaches everything. The current tax system, he said, results in a two foot high tax return every year. When asked what he would like to do with it, he replied, “I would suggest we gut it.”

Continuing, Cook said that Apple didn’t use tax gimmicks, but admitted to taking advantage of the system as it currently stands. Cook pointed at the way the tax code has been band-aided, fixed in bits and pieces, over the years. Cook agreed with Mossberg when the interviewer said this was probably due to corporate lobbyists.

Cook said that Apple pays more US taxes than any other corporation, about $6 billion a year. His plan, he says, might even have Apple pay more than that.

In response to questions on Ireland, Cook asserted that Apple had no special deal with the Irish government, but hinted that he saw no reason why all the profits from a global company should come back to the US as taxes. He noted that if everything was taxed here, then there might be unforeseen shifts in development overseas. Not all multi-national companies are as transparent or ethical as Apple.

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  • Jamesian

    Doesn’t Apple use the double Irish gimmick like all the other tech companies? That is, it has a subsidiary in low tax Ireland and after the other branches with employees make a bunch of profit, they transfer it all to the Ireland branch as a “licensing fee” so it looks like Apple has no profit except in Ireland.

  • Jdsonice

    Doesn’t Apple use the double Irish gimmick like all the other tech companies? That is, it has a subsidiary in low tax Ireland and after the other branches with employees make a bunch of profit, they transfer it all to the Ireland branch as a “licensing fee” so it looks like Apple has no profit except in Ireland.

    So what if Apple uses the laws to reduce taxes? Is it illegal ? No.

    It is perfectly legal to reduce taxes using existing laws – it is illegal to not pay taxes that are due.

    Apple pays $6B – that is $6B more than a lot of US corporations. I don’t see or hear Congress going after these companies.

    The reason is simple. Apple does not spend on lobbying Congress i.e. Congress gets nothing from Apple. The other companies spend Billions on lobbying Congress but pay no taxes and get NO grief. At the end of the day these companies are cheating us the citizens of USA.

    I leave it up to the reader to draw a conclusion.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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