Apple Trapped in the Latest Tax Avoidance Blame Game

Washington Monument View - EAST / US Capitol

As a geeky tax attorney, I’ve been fascinated by the Senate committee hearing for Apple Inc.’s international tax planning strategies.  Over the last few days, these strategies have been called:  “unpatriotic,” “shenanigans,” “baroque tax avoidance strategies,” “gimmickry,” “scandalous,” “wrong or unjust,” and (even) “illegal.”  Just to set the record straight, from what I’ve read, Apple has done nothing illegal.  Apple is merely practicing sophisticated tax avoidance which is perfectly acceptable under our current tax code.  In fact, poor Apple is being vilified for doing what most Americans would (and do) given the opportunity.

As many of the news articles point out, Apple is not the only tech company (and certainly not the only multinational company) engaging in these activities.  But, Apple may be one of the most admired and well-respected companies using these tactics.  Heck, Apple may be the most esteemed and well-regarWashington Monument View - EAST / US Capitolded public company PERIOD.  In my opinion, that is the reason Apple was hauled into the Senate committee hearing in the first place.

Here is the thing that burns me most about this hearing and its media coverage – once again, Congress is pointing and shaking fingers at the taxpayer, when the true responsibility rests on the doorstep of the Capitol building.  Our elected officials who are all too happy to soil Apple’s reputation and good name are also the only people with the power to change the laws that enable Apple (and countless other multinational companies) to avoid taxes in this manner.  I’m a huge proponent of fairness, and this does not seem fair to me.  Congress should not be able to write the rules of the game and then blame the players for using those rules to their greatest advantage.  I mean, really, who doesn’t want to pay less tax?

Author: Anne-Marie

I love what I do! I love reading the Internal Revenue Code, U.S. Treasury Regulations, and any court case involving tax. I enjoying keeping up with tax law changes and filling out tax forms. I, honestly, got into law because I want to help people. After I completed my education, I went to work for a major accounting firm as an international tax consultant. I researched U.S. and foreign tax implications of liquidating foreign subsidiaries and assisted large corporations restructure their global enterprise to avoid U.S. taxes. This was all very interesting and challenging work, but I'd lost sight of my goal to help people. I recognized I needed to start my own business if I really wanted to help individuals. Rábago Law is the realization of these aspirations - to partner with individual taxpayers and small business owners to understand their unique circumstances, simplify their obligations, ease their tax concerns, and help them build strong financial futures.

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