Apple is facing an angry backlash over the elaborate tactics it uses to sidestep taxes, such as setting up subsidiaries in low-tax states and foreign countries. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) says he's "livid" about Apple's accounting tricks, which, according to a New York Times report, help the tech giant avoid paying billions of dollars in corporate taxes on the money it hauls in on iPhone and iPad sales every year. Apple says it "has conducted all of its business with the highest of ethical standards," and points out that its tax strategies are perfectly legal. Is Apple's accounting unscrupulous, or is it just good business?
Apple should be ashamed: Apple may be "one of America's most admired companies," says David Callahan at Policy Shop, but it's "also among its least ethical." Sure, it's not the only company called out for using Chinese factories that are tough on their workers, and many U.S. corporation "exploit tax loopholes," but "as the nation's top company, it has a greater responsibility for ethical leadership." And it certainly "can afford to behave better."
"iCheat: Apple's tax avoidance"
It's sketchy, but Apple does make lots of its money abroad: "Yes, it's frustrating, and yes, it's morally debatable," says Derek Thompson at The Atlantic. But the Googles and Apples of the world make a big chunk of their money overseas, and "they're going to use (legal) overseas loopholes to hide their money from our relatively high corporate tax rate" to maximize profits for their investors. Instead of worrying about it, we should "focus the tax revenue debate where it belongs": On what people earn at home.
"Are Apple's tax games bad for America?"
Apple isn't evil; our tax code is: Apple isn't doing anything wrong, says Christopher Bergin at The Huffington Post. It's merely "taking advantage of the tax rules as written." It's the tax code that's unfair, so "let's put the blame where it belongs." Instead of berating Apple, we should be putting pressure on our elected officials to fix our "unfair and broken tax system."
"Apple sidesteps taxes — what's wrong with that?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How I lost all my money
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- George W. Bush 'ran the country like a cable network,' and other political insights from Chris Rock
- How to make the ultimate grilled cheese
- How Wall Street is chipping away at reform
- A brief history of the Christmas present
Subscribe to the Week