Apple's Tim Cook Defends The Firm's Tax Policy Before The House - Webcast

Tyler Durden's picture

Yesterday we opined on the deteriorating situation surrounding the much anticipated government scramble to collect perfectly legal offshored capital, initially focusing on Apple (which having now entered the focus of the US government will be nothing but an "negative externality" free utility going forward or as long as Uncle Sam wishes it to be) but soon to turn to virtually every other multinational corporation with a hugh cash hoard and a low effective US tax rate. Today, it is Tim Cook's turn to explain why the firm is merely following clearly laid out rules and tax regulations as encoded by none other than the same people who are bringing you today's particular episode of "distract them with witchhunts."

Watch it live at the following C-Span link:

From the subcommittee:

The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has scheduled a hearing, “Offshore Profit Shifting and the U.S. Tax Code - Part 2 (Apple Inc.)” on Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. in Room 106 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
The Subcommittee will continue its examination of the structures and methods employed by multinational corporations to shift profits offshore and how such activities are affected by the Internal Revenue Code and related regulations. Witnesses will include representatives from the Department of the Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service, representatives of a multinational corporation, and tax experts. A witness list will be available Friday, May 17, 2013.

The full witness list:


  • J. RICHARD HARVEY, Villanova University School of Law
  • STEPHEN E. SHAY, Harvard Law School


  • TIMOTHY D. COOK, Chief Executive Officer, Apple
  • PETER OPPENHEIMER , Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Apple
  • PHILLIP A. BULLOCK ,Head of Tax Operations, Apple


  • MARK J. MAZUR, Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • SAMUEL M. MARUCA, Director, Transfer Pricing Operations, Large Business & International (LB&I) Division, Internal Revenue Service

Full Tim Cook testimony:

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greased up deaf guy's picture

apparently, some animals are more equal than others.

Joe Davola's picture

With loopholes, there are always plenty of loopholes.  No shrinkage for the tax code.

Sofa King Confused's picture

All a side show to distract from Benghazi...start the impeachment process

knukles's picture

Congressman:  So you willfully avoided billions in taxes?
Apple:  Yes.
Con:  How could you do that?  Doesn't it bother you that others were paying their fair share?
A:  No, because we were paying or fair share.
C:  That's outrageous, coming before this committee and claiming that!  How can you say that!
A:  Because we paid what was due under the code
C:  Well I don't like that answer!
A:  You guys wrote the tax code we obeyed so if you don't like it, change the code, dipshit

Hypocrisy of the first order.

NotApplicable's picture

Congressman:  Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah?
Apple:  Fuck you. That's why.

Also accepted: "Well, if you people weren't so damn evil, perhaps we'd be more conciliatory to your position."


ACP's picture

Tim Cook gets to defend himself against fuckface McCain, a member of the Keating Five, as well as Carl "Marx" Levine, who is blasting all this shit out there to take heat off of Obama's multiple scandals.

Someone who is legally avoiding taxes gets to defend himself against a panel of criminals. Another day, another similarity to the decline of Rome.



philipat's picture

And, incidentally, if you want The US to have the highest Corporate Tax rates in the G-20, are you surprised that AAPL  would do this? If not, you might like to forget the fascism and stop milking the Middle Class "Tax Donkeys"?

TimmyB's picture

Kibuki theater for the masses.  The tax code is the way it is because Apple and its ilk pay off our politicians to write the tax code so these corporations don't pay shit.  These hearing won't change that fact.  NOTHING will change because the same politicans berating Apple in public are whores who will suck-off Apple in private in exchange for so-called campaign donations (bribes).   

StychoKiller's picture

Don't hate the playas, hate the game.

AAPL:  "We're just taking advantage of the various loopholes that Exxon/GM/GE/ADM bribed (oops, I meant contributed to campaigns!) various politicians to put in the tax Law(s)!"


I agree 100% with Apple, when its our turn for tax evasion, we shall repeat the exact webcast to the judge..and we better get the same outcome..

insanelysane's picture

Ever notice the Apple toting people that slam Walmart as the most evil corporation ever yet Apple is well, Apple.

Let's compare:

iCrap made in China.                           Walmart crap made in China.

Apple Store workers paid crap.              Walmart workers paid crap.

Apple markup 500%.                           Walmart markup 100%.


InTheLandOfTheBlind's picture

fuck apple... maybe someday they will learn how to build a computer again

NotApplicable's picture

The world only needs so many one button devices.

StychoKiller's picture

I could use one to substitue for my wife (she ain't no spring chicken any more!)

Bearwagon's picture

Where are those suicide-bombing terrorists when they could do something good for mankind? ;-)

Ancona's picture

The laws were written by the lobbyists for the benefit of a few, not for our benefit. Until paid lobbying is outlawed, expect nothing to change.

blabam's picture

Because outlawing stuff makes it go away. Can't believe people on ZH are still this fucking naive.

DrDinkus's picture

obviously it wont go away, but until lobbying legislation changes (which it wont), more of the S.O.S.

alien-IQ's picture

When a corporation does it, it's called "lobbying".

When an individual does it, it's called "Bribery".

One of these things get's you thrown in jail, the other places you on the S&P500.

Yet, they are the exact same thing.

Welcome to the banana republic of amerika.

NotApplicable's picture

Statists in general have a really hard time understanding that all this shit is just made up, with absolutely NO basis in ethics (or any other shiny ideals used to justify it).

All they know is the seen. The unseen, on the other hand, might as well not even exist to them.

Pairadimes's picture

Lobbying per se is not the problem. The fact that the federal government is so deeply entangled with commerce such that the ROI for lobbying far exceeds the ROI for innovation is the problem.

insanelysane's picture

I beg to differ.  Lobbying is the problem.

See Solyndra, Fisker, hedge fund tax rate, ...

NotApplicable's picture

Lobbying is merely a symptom. The true problem is a coercive, external, yet centralized government which empower narcicistic psychopaths over the whole of the population.

The only coherent form of government is self-government. Anything less is but a madman with a gun shouting, "Do as I say and nobody gets hurt."

BidnessMan's picture

The average politician will sell their soul for a $1,000 campaign contribution. The ROI on lobbying and pitifully small campaign contributions is staggering. 100X at least when $1M+ tax breaks are buried all through 1,000 page laws. Where you have to pass it to see what is in it.

slaughterer's picture

Wonder if Levin will go through his scatological adjectives in reference to AAPL's tax structure.  

"Mr. Cook, can we not say that this is a shitty tax cheat.?"

ParkAveFlasher's picture

I'm actually sympathetic to Apple on this one.  I don't like paying taxes either, look at where it goes - to the labyrinthine military protectorate and McMansion battery complex of Virginia/Maryland. 

Skateboarder's picture

Apple doesn't pay taxes for shit, Braeburn Cap's sitting on a cool ~130B (or higher now?), and you sympathize with them?

Taxes don't even make a pebble's dent compared to M2 supply - they're only still around to uphold the status quo. And guess what upholds the status quo even better? More taxes.

ParkAveFlasher's picture

I can sympathize with tax avoidance, all tax avoidance has the same nature.  On these grounds I sympathize, and none other.  Do you think tax collection will turn the nation around?  You would be wrong. 

knukles's picture

Exactly.  This is tax avoidance which is entirely legal, moral ethical and within the bounds of all laws and regulations.
Congress write the tax code
If they don't like it, they can change the code, eliminate the fucking loopholes....
This is grandstanding of the first order.

Sorry some of ya, but I'm with Apple and any other company or individual in the same position.

Congress created the fucked up code like this in exchange for donations/contributions...
They crated the monster and now are searching to cite others as the evil doers.

Fucking hypocrisy.

NotApplicable's picture

There is absolutely nothing moral or ethical about the theft that is taxation (though I get your point).

I just love how some people on this thread can demonize anyone who dares to make an effort to avoid theft. Better yet, they use jealousy to claim that it's not fair, because they let the criminal cartel steal from them.

MachoMan's picture

It's because many people are misguided in they believe tax professionals only work for big corporations and the loopholes are only for big corporations...  Not so...  most people are simply lazy and too afraid to pick up the phone and call some local accountants, laboring under the expectation that they can't afford the services...  probably not so...  a couple of the most obvious loopholes for the plebs are treatment of s-corp self employment tax and the standard mileage deduction for business use of automobiles...

BidnessMan's picture

Oh please. Any competent tax accountant is going to charge $1,000+ for a tax return to "save" what - a couple of hundred bucks? Maybe? And they are far more terrified about pissing off the IRS than anything else. Not going to "push" any tax approach that has any remote chance of being challenged by the IRS. The customer is just the dumb muppet paying their fees.

The sign spinners in the Statue of Liberty getups and such are 20 hour training wonders who can barely fill out TurboTax. The average schmuck has no, nada, zero access to any meaningful tax help.

StychoKiller's picture

Starting yer own business (even if it's part-time) allows you to fill out Schedule-C (and unfortunately, Schedule -SE), which has lot of deductions on it!

MachoMan's picture

Bullshit.  You never charge your client more than you save them...  that's the whole point...  It's perspectives like yours that keep lower socioeconomic tiers from benefitting.

Some situations are dead ass losses...  like dealing with an IRS audit...  but the whole point of tax planning is that you save the client more than you cost the client. 

Do you really think you're going to retain many clients if you don't do this?  How many suckers are going to come through the door before the rest of the lot get wise?  Do you really think that a competent tax accountant isn't going to discuss fees up front?  This isn't some "gotcha" routine where you bait and switch and hope the people never complain to your board... 

If the guy you call is on the up and up, then he (his secretary) can tell you over the phone that your tax issues aren't worth him messing with...  simple as that...  takes 2 seconds.

smlbizman's picture

i think rand paul would agree with you.....and how much does mccain hate him.....

A Nanny Moose's picture

Corporations are not taxpayers. They are tax collectors. Period.

Lendo's picture

God forbid a company tries to uphold their fiduciary duty to the shareholders by maximizing profit and not giving it to the government.

John McCain makes me sick.

azzhatter's picture

Fuck You Congress- every one of you lying stinking shitstains

Oldwood's picture

The politicians want us to focus on the equality of the theft rather than the theft itself. I is a not so subtle admission that they believe that all money is theirs and anyone so ugly as to be hording it from them is obviously rotten to the core. At my age I'm sick of being "parented" by a bunch of egotistical lurches. Don't tread on me!

williambanzai7's picture

Yes, distract them with shitty witch hunts.

InTheLandOfTheBlind's picture

and all you ever find is a smelly wart

knukles's picture

Claim outrage (oft out of the blue) hold hearings, debates, propose solutions, draft legislation, amend legislation, pass legislation...

Which has nothing whatsofuckingever to do with the initial focus of the outrage and hearings .... and in fact creates a whole new panoply of loopholes for the very same folks congress was outraged at in the first place to take advantage of....

It's good being iKing

ajax's picture




My question: Just where the fuck is "FATCA" for these corporate entities !!!