Tech giants, including Apple, have avoided more than $100 billion in taxes over the past decade, a report claims.
British organization Fair Tax Mark looked at the 10-K filings of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google and Microsoft between 2010 and 2019. On its website, Fair Tax Mark notes that tax “helps to fund vital public goods and services and when paid fairly, it ensures a level playing field for businesses large and small.”
“[The report] looked at tax provisions — the amount companies set aside in their financial reports to pay taxes — and compared those to the amounts that were actually handed over to the government, referred to as cash taxes. Over the decade, the gap between the Silicon Six’s provisions and the taxes they actually paid reached $100.2 billion.”
The report says that profits continue to be “shifted to tax havens, especially Bermuda, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.”
$100 billion and counting: How companies measured up on taxes
Amazon ranked as the worst offender among the six companies scrutinized. Since 2010, it has paid $3.4 billion in income taxes. That equals roughly 12.7% of profits. Despite U.S. corporate tax being 35% for seven of the years in the period. President Trump cut corporation tax rates from 35% to 21% in 2017. As a result of Amazon’s lower tax payments, it can “unfairly undercut local businesses that take a more responsible approach,” the Fair Tax Mark report states. Amazon has disputed the report’s findings.
Apple ranked fifth out of the six companies. It had a tax rate of 17.1% over the decade, the report claims. “As the largest taxpayer in the world, we know the important role tax payments play in society,” an Apple spokesperson told CNBC. “We pay all that we owe according to tax laws and local customs wherever we operate, and since 2008 Apple’s corporate taxes alone have totaled over $100 billion.”
Apple has fought various tax battles over the past decade. Most notably, it was handed a giant $14.4 billion tax bill by the EU in August 2016. It claimed Apple took advantage of illegal state aid that allowed it to route profits through Ireland. The investigation alleged that Apple paid the equivalent of as little as 0.005 percent on all European profits in 2014.