Congressional Criticism of Apple’s TaxesRandall Holcombe • Thursday May 30, 2013 12:48 PM PST •
I was mildly amused, and somewhat amazed, at last week’s Congressional hearings on Apple Computer’s corporate tax avoidance. Here is an article from the New York Times critical of Apple.
While Apple has sheltered substantial amounts of income from taxation via offshore corporations, all sides agree that Apple was in compliance with US and overseas tax laws in its activities, and last year Apple paid $6 billion in US federal income taxes. Still, Congressional critics called the company’s tax avoidance “egregious” and “outrageous.” In the last sentence of the Times article, Michigan Senator Carl Levin says, “I’ve never seen anything like this and we don’t know anybody who’s seen anything like this.”
What amazes me about this is that members of Congress are criticizing Apple for following the laws that Congress has mandated. If, in fact, Apple’s activities were egregious and outrageous, Congress deserves the criticism, not Apple. This is the first time I can recall anybody (let alone members of Congress) arguing that taxpayers should choose to pay more in taxes than the law requires.