Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook testified Tuesday at a Senate hearing that largely probed how Apple uses Irish subsidiaries to allegedly shelter billions of dollars in income from U.S. taxes.
Cook, however, strongly defended Apple's tax practices. "We pay all the taxes we owe — every single dollar," Cook told members of the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. "We not only comply with the laws but we comply with the spirit of the laws," he said. "We don't depend on tax gimmicks."
Broadening the discussion, Cook addressed the United States' intellectual property protection environment and pointed to weaknesses.
"I actually think," Cook asserted, "that we require much more work on IP in this country... The U.S. court system is currently structured in such a way that it's currently difficult to get the protections a technology company needs, because the cycle is very long."
"For us, our intellectual property is so important to our company," Cook argued. "I would love to see the system strengthened to protect it."
The panel's chairman, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) praised Apple's success and even boasted of using an iPhone, but insisted that this reality does not excuse the company's tax-related tactics, which purportedly helped Apple avoid paying an estimated $9 billion in U.S. taxes in 2012.
"Apple executives want the public to focus on the U.S. taxes the company has paid, but the real issue is the billions in taxes it has not paid, thanks to offshore tax strategies whose purpose is tax avoidance, pure and simple," Levin said.
According to the LA Times
, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) staunchly defended Apple, saying: "Frankly, I’m offended by the tone and tenor of this hearing...I’m offended by a $4-trillion government bullying, berating and badgering one of America’s greatest success stories... Tell me what Apple’s done that is illegal. They’re doing what their shareholders ask, which is to maximize profit."
Source: LA Times