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The Almighty Buck Businesses United States Apple

Apple Has a Record $250 Billion In Cash, 90% of It Is Banked Overseas (phonearena.com) 198

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phone Arena: On Tuesday, Apple is expected to report its fiscal second quarter earnings. In that report, the tech titan will reportedly announce that it is holding $250 billion in cash. If you think that this is a lot of money, you're absolutely right. According to Marketwatch.com, this is more than the foreign currency reserves held by the U.K. and Canada combined. Looking at it another way, at current valuations Apple could purchase all of the outstanding shares of Walmart and Procter & Gamble and still have money left over. It has taken Apple only 4 and half years to double its cash hoard. During the fiscal first quarter of 2017, Apple was adding $3.6 million to its cash position every hour. It finished the quarter ending in December with $246.09 billion in cash. 90% of the money is banked overseas, which means that Apple would be one of the companies to benefit the most from President Trump's plan to offer a one time tax break on repatriated funds.
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Apple Has a Record $250 Billion In Cash, 90% of It Is Banked Overseas

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  • joy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zlives ( 2009072 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @07:21PM (#54337609)

    wish i could pay no taxes

    • Re:joy (Score:5, Informative)

      by Rei ( 128717 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @07:52PM (#54337825) Homepage

      It's a symptom of the US's weird system of taxation. In most countries, profits earned from your overseas business is taxed overseas, while profit earned locally is taxed locally; it doesn't matter where you're headquartered. But the US demands taxes from US-headquartered companies' overseas business as well (after deducting what they pay locally). So this inherently creates a motive for moving headquarters out of the US (which the US has tried all sorts of means to stop). However, the money from their overseas business is only taxed when it comes back to the US, so it's also encouragement for them to keep the money overseas and invest in overseas business.

      The US also does the same thing with personal income taxes. Eritrea is the only other country in the world that does that.

      The world would be a lot simpler if the US decided to stop doing everything different from everyone else.

      • Re:joy (Score:5, Funny)

        by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @08:03PM (#54337883) Homepage

        Right. Then we'd have to adopt the metric system.

        North Korea might as well put us our of our misery.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Cause we know how difficult it is for Americans to count to 10.

      • Re:joy (Score:5, Informative)

        by zlives ( 2009072 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @08:03PM (#54337885)

        i am not sure its that simple, Apple (also others) trasfer their IP's to a subsidiary in a tax shelter, then all the profit from local (country) sales is paid to the subsidiary that Holds the IP and is thus prevented from being taxed in the country of sale.

        its a pretty nice setup for them. EU is realizing this is an issue as well and what is basically needed is some form of reform that can address multinationals. but chances of any reform happening is pretty close to nil. the US at least tries to recover some when the profit is brought home because of shareholders wanting some payment (profit). i am sure even this is barely scratching the surface, the convoluted tax code is convoluted by design.

        • by Rei ( 128717 )

          i am not sure its that simple, Apple (also others) trasfer their IP's to a subsidiary in a tax shelter, then all the profit from local (country) sales is paid to the subsidiary that Holds the IP and is thus prevented from being taxed in the country of sale.

          How does having your IP in a tax shelter affect your sales in a country that's not a tax shelter, and thus will tax your operations there?

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Apple US has to license the IP from the subsidiary. So Apple US's books say they don't make a profit, since everything they take in is being expensed as a royalty.

          • Re:joy (Score:5, Informative)

            by cas2000 ( 148703 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @09:38PM (#54338403)

            the transfer pricing scam.

            say something costs a dollar to produce. a foreign subsidiary imports it for $1.50 and sells it for $5. That's $3.50 taxable profit in that foreign country.

            now set up a subsidiary in a tax haven, and transfer ownership of everything to that subsidiary. then you can pretend that the foreign subsidiary buys the imported product from the tax haven subsidiary for, say, $4.99 and sells it locally for $5.00. at most, that's a 1 cent taxable profit...but actually that's a "loss" so untaxed...or, even worse, a tax credit to apply against other taxes that they can't evade.

            this is one of several methods that apple and google and many other companies use to steal tens of billions of dollars from citizens in dozens of countries every year.

            It works the other way too. Say you're a resources extraction company (oil, natural gas, coal, iron ore, whatever) and you want to avoid paying taxes and mining royalties to the country you're extracting the resources from. You set up a subsidiary in a tax-haven country, have them buy all of the extracted resources from you at a very steep discount (just barely breaking even, if that), and then the tax haven subsidiary sells them at full price. resources AND profit successfully extracted.

            oh, and you don't even have to physically ship the resources to the tax haven country, you can do it all on paper or electronic records. the resources still leave the ports in the origin company and go direct to the actual buyer, but on paper it looks as if there's a middle-man.

            both of these are easier if you have a compliant and/or corrupt government in the relevant countries. if not, you can tie them up in international courts for years or decades for "illegally" interfering with international trade if they try to stop you or even just slow down your rapacious looting of their resources.

            if you've got a really compliant government you can get them to wear most of the costs of your business for you too - say a billion dollars for infrastructure like a train line to take coal to port; or guarantee your loans; or the old favourite of "tax incentives" to encourage you to hurry up and start ripping the country off.

            • by ttsai ( 135075 )

              the transfer pricing scam.

              both of these are easier if you have a compliant and/or corrupt government in the relevant countries.

              Of course, the key "relevant" country is the home country, in this case, the US. It should be simple for the IRS to simply say that the accounting sleight of hand will not be recognized, as is often done for other tax sheltering strategies. However, the entrenchment of legal bribes throughout the legislative and executive branches of the government turn this simple solution into an impossibility. The true and only solution lies entirely with the US government, which lacks the will to deny legal bribes in

              • Of course, the key "relevant" country is the home country, in this case, the US. It should be simple for the IRS to simply say that the accounting sleight of hand will not be recognized, as is often done for other tax sheltering strategies.

                Easier said than done. In principle you are quite correct. The problem is that any accountant worth his salary can make it very difficult to prove that the transfer "price" isn't a good approximation of correct. Seriously, I'm a certified accountant and I'm telling you point blank that the IRS would have a very difficult time proving that a company like Apple is engaging in fraudulent transfer pricing unless they were incredibly clumsy about how they did it. The IRS simply doesn't have the resources to

              • The problem with enforcement is that it requires complete visibility into the company's accounts (including the off-shore shells) and then time spent tracking them. It's trivial to spin up a couple of thousand companies and move money between them until it's almost impossible to figure our where the money comes from. One of the recent sets of leaks showed a scheme in Europe that rearranges corporate structures within the EU every couple of weeks. It takes a regulator about a month to figure out exactly w
            • this is one of several methods that apple and google and many other companies use to steal tens of billions of dollars from citizens in dozens of countries every year.

              It's not stealing. It's obeying the law.

              The thing that people who advocate for onerous taxation never acknowledge is than when you tax too heavily, you incentivize this kind of behavior.

              I still remember learning that some super-wealthy individuals pay people to manage their schedules [newyorker.com] so they don't spend too many days in places where personal income taxes are too high. At first I was shocked but then, I thought that it made sense. My money is MINE. I'm not going to voluntarily surrender more of it to the gov

              • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
                The thing that people who advocate for onerous taxation never acknowledge is than when you tax too heavily, you incentivize this kind of behavior.

                You mispelled "any", let's not pretend that lower taxes are going to magically prevent people from "keeping what I earned" no matter how misguided they are.
          • It's not that complicated. Apple sells an iPhone in France, France taxes the sale. Apple's European operations are based out of Ireland, so that's where the profit is and where it pays corporate income taxes. France can't tax the profits, because no profits were made in France.
        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          The EU is dealing with this. In future companies will pay tax on profit where business is conducted. Licence fees to parent companies are irrelevant.

      • It's a symptom of the US's weird system of taxation....

        You misspelled corruption.

        ...So this inherently creates a motive for moving headquarters out of the US (which the US has tried all sorts of means to stop).

        Uh, they haven't tried to "stop" jack shit. It's not like we don't know what the fix is. Just re-write the laws and close the fucking loopholes that ultimately create tax havens. Corruption feeds unethical practices in lobbying, and prevents this from happening.

        The world would be a lot simpler if the US decided to stop doing everything different from everyone else.

        Corruption exists everywhere, but I would agree that if the US decided to stop catering to the uber-rich with regards to taxation, things would at least be a bit more fair and equitable, rather than continuing to widen t

        • by Rei ( 128717 )

          Uh, they haven't tried to "stop" jack shit.

          Yes, there have been.

          2002: Law establishing DHS bans it from contracting with inverted companies.
          2004: Companies are outright banned from inverting. More and more, respond to the law by instead merging with foreign companies and adopting the new company's headquarters during the merger.
          2014: Treasury department tries to crack down on merger inversions with harsher merger rules. Ironically, merger inversions accelerate.
          2015: Stricter rules yet again.
          2016: Stricter

          • Uh, they haven't tried to "stop" jack shit.

            Yes, there have been.

            2002: Law establishing DHS bans it from contracting with inverted companies. 2004: Companies are outright banned from inverting. More and more, respond to the law by instead merging with foreign companies and adopting the new company's headquarters during the merger. 2014: Treasury department tries to crack down on merger inversions with harsher merger rules. Ironically, merger inversions accelerate. 2015: Stricter rules yet again. 2016: Stricter rules yet again - this time, at least, derailing the high profile Pfizer inversion merger attempt that was underway.

            How many times does it take to pass "strict" rules in order to prevent abuse? The very response you cited in the 2004 and the irony found in 2014 is exactly what I mean by they're not actually doing jack shit to prevent continued abuse, because Greed lobbies to ensure there's always a loophole to be found and abused. The future end result? In 2025 another dozen laws are passed, and the trillion-dollar company will lobby the UN to become it's own country to avoid paying taxes. Greed at this level seems t

          • Some industries are very good at claiming them, making their effective tax rate much lower than those which don't.

            Which is a serious problem from a free-market perspective, because it creates an unfair playing field that favors incumbents, and a serious problem from a socialist perspective, because they get out of paying their fair share of taxes.

      • by necro81 ( 917438 )

        The world would be a lot simpler if the US decided to stop doing everything different from everyone else.

        Like the metric system?

    • wish i could pay no taxes

      Many wish they had to pay taxes.

    • I'd like to abolish the corporate tax to eliminate this silliness. Treat corporations all as pass-through economic entities and end this corporations as people crap. Raise the capital gains and special dividend rates to match full income tax levels and tax the people who own and work for the corporations, not the corporation itself. As long as corporations can pit the best accountants and lawyers in the world against your tax code, you will lose this battle. Wall Street and K Street are smarter than Congres

  • Ok (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    So, let's say that you have $250 in savings, but 93% of is in an account that penalizes you 35% to use it in the US, would you use it? Let's say the government changes the rule and now it is only 20%, does that really change the situation?

    I mean if the US government thinks that a 10% penalty on early withdrawal from a 401K is sufficient to dissuade an average consumer, what do you think 20% looks like to a corporation whose every spend is scrutinized by Wall Street?

    Even crazier, with the cost of debt being

    • by DaHat ( 247651 )

      Also works well for acquisitions abroad.

      I'm pretty sure Skype & Nokia mobile weren't purchased by MS using their US based bank account.

  • by stevez67 ( 2374822 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @07:29PM (#54337669)

    I don't mind paying my taxes. I get a lot in return. I mind that corporations doing business in the USA, and other people, don't pay taxes.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Apple, like every other multinational, pays taxes in the country where the product was sold. Apple paid tax on every dollar made in the US and elsewhere. The USA is the only country in the world that taxes you a second time to move money that was already taxed back home. Result? Apple keeps the money elsewhere. So would anyone else.

      • by r1348 ( 2567295 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @07:51PM (#54337809)

        Well, Apple then seems to sell a damn lot of iPhones in Ireland...

      • by zlives ( 2009072 )

        thats wonderful news, its funny how the IP that makes the profit now doesn't sit in the US but in Ireland paying less than 2% of profits in taxes. wish I could move my tax burden to ireland as well while still living in US.
        ofcourse they paid for the tax loopholes so ofcourse its all legal like.

        • by mysidia ( 191772 )

          wish I could move my tax burden to ireland as well while still living in US.

          You could, depending on the nature of your income, but there would be a few million in upfront costs for you to begin the process.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Apple and other multinationals profit shift and pay royalties to their subsidiaries located in tax havens. For example, the iPhone may sell for $699 (ignoring sales tax since we're talking profit tax). Each iPhone costs Apple $300 to manufacture & ship to the US. Apple Ireland purchases the $300 iPhone, and then sells it to Apple US for $600. Profit from the $99 (less since there is operating costs, etc) is the only amount taxed, and Apple Ireland is taxed at a much lower rate on $300 in profit for addi

      • That's a nice theory but the reality is Apple doesn't pay taxes in most countries in which it operates. The USA being the "only" of anything has nothing to do with transfer pricing.

        You're right. Apple pays tax on every dollar of profit. For some reason however they don't seem to be making profits in any countries which would tax them.

    • I don't mind paying my taxes. I get a lot in return. I mind that large corporations doing business in the USA, and the top .1% wealthiest Americans, don't pay taxes.

      FTFY

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      I don't mind paying my taxes. I get a lot in return. I mind that corporations doing business in the USA

      The taxes that are paid have very little to do with any return you think you're getting for them.
      Taxation is mostly theft, and you can be sure you're not getting your $$$'s worth.

      Corporations Do pay taxes, but of course they're going to defer their liability as long as possible.

      You can defer your tax liability too. If you purchase Apple stock, its share price can double or quadruple, and you won't

      • Taxation has been necessary since the invention of civilization. If you want real theft, go to a libertarian paradise like Somalia.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by lucm ( 889690 )

      I don't mind paying my taxes. I get a lot in return.

      The sum of all the taxes you will pay over your entire life won't be enough to pay for the fuel spent by Air Force One when Obama went on a single vacation trip in 2015. What did you get for that?

      • by necro81 ( 917438 )

        The sum of all the taxes you will pay over your entire life won't be enough to pay for the fuel spent by Air Force One when Obama went on a single vacation trip in 2015. What did you get for that?

        I understand the point you are making, but I think you're off in your facts. Air Force One, being a 747, holds about 55,000 gallons of fuel. I'm fairly certain it can do Washington, D.C. to Honolulu in a single hop. Aviation fuel runs about $1.50/gal these days. So, about $80,000 one way. Back in 2015, fuel

        • by lucm ( 889690 )

          The cost of using Air Force One is $200,000 per hour. Look it up.

          • by necro81 ( 917438 )
            Grandparent wasn't talking about the operating cost of Air Force One. GP was talking explicitly about how my total lifetime tax contribution squares against the fuel cost.

            My broader point is, I think, still valid: Trump is on track to outspend Obama on using Air Force One for vacationing. We can reconvene this argument in a couple of years to see.
            • by lucm ( 889690 )

              Trump is on track to outspend Obama on using Air Force One for vacationing.

              No he's not. This is another example of liberal media playing with numbers to serve their agenda. See:

              With President Donald Trump making his seventh presidential trip this weekend to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, government watchdogs and Democrats are once again seeing dollar signs: namely, $3 million. That's a widely used estimate of what each journey costs taxpayers. The figure comes from a government report on a trip President Barack Obama made to Palm Beach, Florida, but the report's author tells The Associated Press that it's a mistake to apply those findings to Trump's travel.

              http://time.com/4736490/presid... [time.com]

    • What really bothers me is that your "values" and sense of "fairness" are keeping a trillion dollars from coming back into the US economy.

      Go ahead and tax the rich people with a higher progressive tax bracket... But the US economy needs all that capital from corporate profits. Let it be taxed as income when it gets put back to work in the US economy.

      • What really bothers me is that your "values" and sense of "fairness" are keeping a trillion dollars from coming back into the US economy.

        To be absolutely fair, the money goes to the U.S. Government, which is not "back into the US economy".

        Instead, it goes to Syria, in the form of really expensive bombs dropped on people we've never met, because those people used chemical weapons on other people we've never met.

        Most of the money that isn't wasted, actually goes to component manufacturers in China.

      • What sorcery is this of which you speak? How does $250 billion cash turn into a trillion?
  • Banked overseas? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by crow ( 16139 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @07:36PM (#54337709) Homepage Journal

    It's not that the money is banked overseas. It's that the money isn't help by Apple directly, but by overseas wholly owned subsidiaries. I don't see why Apple Ireland (for example) couldn't invest its money in the United States just the same as any foreign company. What would be particularly interesting is if Apple Ireland decided to invest it's money in Apple stock. You could get almost all the advantages of a stock buy-back without having to repatriate the money. Am I missing anything, or would that work?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Apple has an investment company that does exactly this.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I didn't rob the bank, my wholly owned cloned subsidiary did the crime! Tragically, he died of natural causes shortly after committing the crime, so it looks like we're done here!

    • It would depend on how those shares were bought.

      Apple would have to release shares, or create new ones to release, in order to sell them to a subsidiary so that the money would go to them. That would increase the total number of shares in circulation and impact the earnings per share and other numbers that Wall Street loves so much. Plus when Apple paid dividends some of that money would just be going to itself. I don't know how it works when there's a subsidiary involved but if a company buys it's own s

  • If the government allowed corporations to bring their money back from overseas tax free, provided they use that for investments in the US that create jobs, what would be wrong with that?

    • If the government allowed corporations to bring their money back from overseas tax free, provided they use that for investments in the US that create jobs, what would be wrong with that?

      In a sense they have no productive use for the money since they base their expenses in the US and the profits in tax havens. If they needed more in the US they would just shift the ratio a bit so that expenses were still just a hair below US income. That companies outside the US get to, virtually tax or duty free, sell to US customers for no charge is a scam of epic proportions.

    • Because there would always be some loophole a corporate attorney would find which would allow the company to enrich the C room or do something stupid like a stock buy back rather than do something useful with the money.

      If you made the rule airtight, companies wouldn't bother bringing the money back into this country because they'd claim you're interfering with their right to do with their money what they want.

      Know what happened the last time the U.S. gave a tax amnesty to corporations? Nothing [blogspot.com].
      • Ultimately corporations are owned by groups of people. Instead of taxing the group, why not just tax the individual people that own the corporations. Oh wait they do that. Therefore the money is taxed twice already.

    • by EzInKy ( 115248 )

      What sort of jobs do you think Apple would create with this "tax free" money?

    • Because then the US economy would be good, wages would rise and you couldn't blame evil corporations... Now do you see why ?

    • So, they didn't (past) pay some taxes. That's a government cash flow issue in the past.

      Because this money is long-term banked, it's essentially removed from the economy--same as if you put it in a big pile and burned it.

      The Federal Treasury maintains a 2% inflation rate by issuing new money. Mechanically, they buy Federal Treasury bonds back from big banks at an inflated rate; this gives those banks a major profit in newly-minted money. The Fractional Reserve System allows the banks to then lend 19 ti

  • by Salo2112 ( 628590 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @07:41PM (#54337735)
    It only would run the federal government for 3 weeks or so.
    • by zlives ( 2009072 )

      nice, or in other words almost 3 billion per year for you for an avg lifespan of 88 years. i could try to live on 3 billion a year, i know its a stretch but i am willing to try.
      just in case you are wondering its 7.8 million perday roughly. i mean after i get done paying all the hookers and blow, i'll probably have just 7.5 million left to waste each day.

      how is that perspective.

    • Let's put that statement in perspective. For 3 weeks Apple corporation could pay for:
      +-- Wages and living expenses for 1.4 million active duty military personnel
      +-- Wages for 1.3 million civilian employees of the defense department
      +-- Wages for 575 thousand postal service employees
      +-- Maintain all the interstate and national highways in the US
      +-- Pay out the Social Security benefits owed to 62 million retirees
  • If I were a major stake holder in Apple, I'd want my money. Yes, they'd have to pay taxes on it when they brought it in to pay it out as dividends but then I get some of it, whereas right now I'd get none of it. Apple just seems to hoard cash for no discernible purpose. I mean this has gone WAY beyond the amount you'd want to keep as a reserve. Yet for some reason investors are happy to let that continue, rather than demanding their rightful share of all the profits.

    I just don't get it.

    • Yet for some reason investors are happy to let that continue, rather than demanding their rightful share of all the profits.

      They are happy as long as Apple's stock price keeps rising faster than the rest of the market. Once they no longer get 20% (or more) of a return on their Apple shares, then you will see them demand it be disbursed to their shareholders at an expedited rate.

    • Because fuck the government, that is why. Even as an AAPL stockholder with about 1000 shares, I would Apple fucking burn every dollar it holds overseas than for it to be brought back into the U.S and then taxed by the U.S. Government for the privilege of doing so, and who would then tax every dollar distributed as dividends, and every dollar spend on whatever else Apple would spend it on, and TAXED AGAIN every time someone else receives some of it, over and over again. I'd rather the money rot than for
  • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @07:45PM (#54337763)

    I know one of you has the PIN. Let's have it. There is enough for all of us.

  • by Narcocide ( 102829 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @07:47PM (#54337783) Homepage

    ... buy Dell then shut it down, just for laughs.

  • Let's not forget... (Score:5, Informative)

    by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @08:05PM (#54337895)

    That Apple uses a Nevada corporation to avoid state corporatation taxes in US.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/business/apples-tax-strategy-aims-at-low-tax-states-and-nations.html [nytimes.com]

  • If the USA would get rid of the 16th amendment, implement a "fair or flat" tax https://fairtax.org/index [fairtax.org] a LOT of that money would find itself coming BACK into the USA, along with a ton of money from overseas corporations, since we'd be a tax haven for a lot of people & businesses. But, that would mean taking away the power congress & the senate have...the power to tax & keep people down.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      If the USA would implement a flat tax, it would place a heavier burden on the poor who currently do not pay much tax. The people who are rich would not pay "more" taxes -- they would just figure out a way to defer income or receive it through a different way. Why do you think Trump donates his salary? Or why CEOs take $1 salary? They want to be income-poor for tax reasons.

    • The flat-tax equivalent rate is like 29.97% circa 2013. That's how much income tax revenue the government took. That doesn't count use taxes to which the lower-incomes are more exposed.

  • Yes, it is a lot of money, unless you're the US Government, in which case you can blow through it in less than 30 days...

  • Obviously Apple is only sitting on that money because they are scared about their cash flow. I bet if even more tax breaks were enacted for corporations, Apple and others would really start to create more jobs instead of sitting on mountains of cash!

  • ... or perhaps lower its prices to drive more sales? What's the point of hoarding so much cash? I don't get it.

    • by ghoul ( 157158 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @09:08PM (#54338259)

      2 words Sun Microsystems. At the top of the Y2K boom Sun was a company which could do no wrong. It asked eeryone to use its language (Java) and people listened. It sold racks of servers which powered the /Internet. It built its own chips. Then it ran out of money and got acquired by Oracle. Apple wants everyone to use its platform , its Swift language, even build its own chips but it doesnt want to run out of money.

      • 2 words Sun Microsystems. At the top of the Y2K boom Sun was a company which could do no wrong. It asked eeryone to use its language (Java) and people listened. It sold racks of servers which powered the /Internet. It built its own chips. Then it ran out of money and got acquired by Oracle. Apple wants everyone to use its platform , its Swift language, even build its own chips but it doesnt want to run out of money.

        And does anyone honestly believe they would have actually ran out of money had they payed their fair share of taxes instead of dodging their obligation with loopholes and tax havens?

        I get trying to cover for long-term sustainability and having a financial buffer. Their fucking buffer is quite obscene.

        • by MikeMo ( 521697 )
          I hate the phrase "fair share". To start with, it's totally ambiguous, different people have different opinions of what "fair" is. Aside from that, you can't argue against it: no one can argue against "fair". It's kind of a "have you stopped beating your wife" kind of label.

          We have to define what "fair" is objectively so that we can all determine if that metric is being met. Like, you know, write laws and stuff that establish what "fair" is without the ambiguous term. Or, is that what the tax laws a
          • Personal income taxes range from 25 to 30 %...how about we start there for "fair". No reason corporations should pay lower percentages than the people who work for said corporations.

            • by MikeMo ( 521697 )
              I say again: the law determines whether or not an entity (person or corporation) is paying their "fair share" of taxes. If we as a society feel that they should pay more, then the laws should change. No one should be expected to (or will) pay more than what they are required to pay by law.
      • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2017 @11:31AM (#54341045)
        Sun had 2 specific problems that Apple doesn't have.

        1) When the internet bubble burst in the last 90s, Sun's great sales suddenly became a massive liability. Internet bubble companies suddenly stopped paying for the Sun equipment as they went bust. I don't know how much Sun actually got in terms of real revenue vs. billable charges that would have eventually been paid has those companies survived. But this led to a glut of barely used Sun equipment that depressed their prices on new machines and was maybe more than the market could absorb. It's unfair, but Sun basically ended up being punished for being successful.
        2) Their failure to quickly respond to the market's demand for lower priced blade type servers vs. their legacy, expensive servers meant that companies who didn't do so well in the bubble like HP and IBM suddenly were selling cheap servers by the truckload in the new market demanding lower cost. Sun lost this segment and even though they eventually sold servers in it, the business that went away didn't ever come back.
    • Apple is actually in the middle of the largest shareholder return program in history. I don't remember the exact numbers, but they've returned something like $150 billion already, with another $30 billion to go. Despite that, they're still acquiring cash faster than they can drain their reserves, and they're limited in how much they can return, simply because the cash is overseas. Even their current program is primarily being funded via loans they're taking out, rather than from their reserves.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    When all the money trickles down.

  • 250 billion USD is somehow the GDP of countries such as Chile or Finland.
  • Just Tax Sales (Score:3, Interesting)

    by registrations_suck ( 1075251 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @10:10PM (#54338537)
    If you want to solve a lot of "problems", don't tax income (which is a horrible idea anyway), simply tax sales based on where the is purchased or used (not necessarily the same place). If you want, you can tax sales based on product class. For example, bread may be taxed at 0%, eggs may be taxed at 3%, while computers are taxed at 10%, with ERP systems being taxed at 20% (or whatever, I'm just picking these numbers out of the air). With this method, your "profit" becomes irrelevant. Besides all that - if Apple were to bring in its $250B into the U.S. "tax free", what do you think would happen to that money? It would go SOMEWHERE. Either to shareholders, or to expand facilities, or R&D, to buy another business, etc. You just collect your tax there. But the U.S. takes the position that it should be able to tax the same money an infinite number of times and the result is that Apple decides to leave its money where it is. Whose fault is that?
    • Some states (Washington for example) have a revenue tax instead of income tax, it's called a B&O tax. The problem is it prompts companies to vertically integrate because the tax is cumulative at each level of distribution. Vertically integrated companies result in monopolies and fewer jobs.

    • So, tariffs that make some goods more-expensive than others, trickling the cost down to the consumer and ultimately moving the bulk of the burden onto the poorest of poor?

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @10:26PM (#54338601)

    must be nice to have $3/hr 60+ hours a week labor to build your stuff in red china.

    • It was $2.85 in urban areas 2009, including social insurances; $1.14 in rural areas; $1.74 total compensation average in all firms. The Chinese workers engage in 2,222 working hours of labor per year (it's about 2,000 in the U.S.), at a current rate of 2,300 Yuan minimum hourly wage, equating to $1.80 of direct wage.

      In 2009, the share of wages was $1.13/hr, and social insurances was $0.61. This suggests today's minimum wage compensation in china would be $2.77 of total cost, roughly 2.43 times the 2009

  • Seriously. They talk about being eco-friendly, so they really should start covering the back-end of their production chain with conflict-free minerals, eco-friendly mining and aluminum production and the likes. Cash like that buys you giant branches of entire industries and they could use that money to start fixing things inmediately. Call the new subsidary "Apple Raw Materials" or something and spread out eco-standards across the globe through sheer market and marketing force - that would actually be cool and justify the obscene amount of net gain they get per device.

    • They're trying to do that. Lisa Jackson was reviewed on Daring Fireball and they really are trying to get out of a lot of those things that are super harmful.

      http://daringfireball.net/link... [daringfireball.net]

      You can read the transcript or listen to the podcast. Either way, she was great.

  • Maybe Apple should change the color of its laptops from silver to gold, especially the ones it sells overseas.

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