The New York Times today broke a story that is not itself a surprise but which clearly paints Apple with a pretty dark, sticky brush as a gigantic tax avoider. I find myself unsurprisedly disgusted.
According to the story, “Even as Apple became the nation’s most profitable technology company, it avoided billions in taxes in the United States and around the world through a web of subsidiaries so complex it spanned continents and surprised experts, a Congressional investigation has found.” It cites one subsidiary in Ireland that paid .05% tax on $22 billion in pre-tax earnings and another that didn’t even file a return anywhere on $30 billion in profits.
It’s not clear yet whether Apple broke any laws — whether it evaded taxes or simply found legal ways to avoid paying them — but even if they didn’t, they are best an example of a terrible kind of corporate greed. By failing to support the cities, states and countries from which it and its employees derive enormous benefit, they drive up the cost of those services to ll of us. And that, in my book, is a bad actor.