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Tim Cook Defends Apple’s Tax Accounting, While Sen. Carl Levin Gets Angry

Tue May 21 2013 3:21 pm
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Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook is disputing assertions by a Senate panel that the company avoids billions of dollars in U.S. taxes by shifting profits to foreign affiliates, but Cook says their just keeping overseas money earned overseas.

Tim Cook testified at a hearing Tuesday by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which released a report Monday “exposing” Apple’s tax practices. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report estimates that Apple avoided at least $3.5 billion in U.S. federal taxes in 2011 and $9 billion in 2012 by using its tax strategy, and described a complex setup involving Irish subsidiaries as being a key element of this strategy. Apple’s Irish subsidiaries date back thirty years, when the Macintosh computer was Apple’s main product, which today is only a fraction of iPhone profits.

“If anyone should be on trial here it should be Congress … for creating a bizarre and byzantine tax code. If you want to assign blame, this committee needs to look in the mirror and see who created that mess.”

— Sen. Ran Paul, R-Ky

Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, urged that the subcommittee apologize to Apple for unfair scapegoating.

Levin replied angrily that no such apology would be forthcoming. “Apple’s a great company, but no company should be able to determine how much it’s going to pay in taxes ….. by using gimmicks,” Levin said.

“We pay all the taxes we owe – every single dollar,” Cook said. “We don’t depend on tax gimmicks.”

— Tim Cook

The subcommittee also has examined the tax strategies of Microsoft Corp., and other multinational companies, also finding that they avoided billions in U.S. taxes by shifting profits offshore and exploiting weak, ambiguous sections of the tax code.

Levin and and Senator John McCain, R-AZ, are proposing legislation to close loopholes in the tax code. McCain, the subcommittee’s senior Republican, condemned Rand Paul’s remarks as “offensive” for accusing Levin of bullying Apple executives.

Carl Levin, a Democrat, has served as a United States Senator from Michigan, serving since January 3, 1979. Levin was elected to the Detroit City Council in 1968, serving from 1969 to 1977, and was president of the City Council from 1973 to 1977. Carl Levin has been Michigan’s senior senator since 1995. He is the longest-serving senator in the state’s history, and the fifth longest-serving incumbent in the U.S. Senate.

During his time as council president for the now bankrupt city of Detroit, Levin became so frustrated with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s handling of repossessed houses in Detroit that he and other members of the council, went out with a bulldozer “to help raze some of the houses.”

While Detroit City Council President, Levin was Detroit Mayor Coleman Young’s chief supporter while Young was mayor. Young was subsequently revealed to be a member of the Communist Party, and was chief during Detroit’s descent into disorder and bankruptcy. Young’s involvement in radical organizations including, the Progressive Party, Local 600 of the United Auto Workers and the National Negro Labor Council made him a target of anti-Communist investigators including the FBI and HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee). In 1948 Coleman Young supported Progressive Party presidential candidate Henry A. Wallace (33rd Vice President with Franklin D. Roosevelt January 20, 1941 – January 20, 1945). In 1992 his police chief was convicted of stealing $2.6 million from city taxpayers, even as Young defended him. Michigan’s hard-left U.S. Senator Carl Levin was Young’s chief supporter, serving as Detroit City Council president.

According to a Free Beacon article by Alana Goodman, Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.) repeatedly pressed the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the tax-exempt status of specific conservative nonprofit organizations in letters to then-IRS commissioner Doug Shulman and director Lois Lerner in 2012.

Watch the entire hearing on CSPAN …

See also …
The Washington Free Beacon Democratic senator pressured IRS to investigate nonprofits

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