Mr. Cook goes to Washington: Apple CEO to talk taxes and offshoring

Apple CEO Tim Cook is scheduled to testify Tuesday morning at a Senate hearing about offshore taxes. He will propose a “dramatic simplification” of tax laws to help bring more corporate profit back to the United States, according to the Washington Post. Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer and Phillip Bullock, head of the company’s tax operations, are on the witness list to join Cook on his first appearance before Congress.

“If you look at it today, to repatriate cash to the U.S., you need to pay 35 percent of that cash. And that is a very high number,” Cook told the Post. “We are not proposing that it be zero. I know many of our peers believe that. But I don’t view that. But I think it has to be reasonable.”

By the way, although Apple has more than $100 billion in cash, it recently decided to borrow money to give back to its shareholders in a tax-saving move. (See Apple’s Dilemma: So Much Money, So Much Of It Overseas.) The New York Times reported last year that Apple legally shifts about 70 percent of its profit overseas. The NYT also said the Cupertino company established a subsidiary called Braeburn Capital — in Nevada, where there is no state corporate income taxes and no capital gains tax — to invest its cash. Like other companies that have set up subsidiaries in that state, Braeburn also allows Apple to bypass taxes in other states.


Photo of Tim Cook by Gary Reyes/Mercury News archives


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