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Tim Cook talks Apple's tax situation ahead of next week's Senate hearing


Earlier this week we reported that Apple CEO Tim Cook is slated to testify at an upcoming Senate hearing focusing on the offshore tax practices of American corporations. As it stands now, Apple currently has over US$100 billion holed up overseas that it's hesitant to repatriate due to less-than-ideal US income tax rates.

What's more, Apple employs a number of accounting mechanisms to both delay and lessen its tax liability.

With his congressional debut just a few days away, Tim Cook sat down for a rare interview with the Washington Post where he explained his plan to suggest a number of proposals which, if enacted, would encourage companies like Apple to bring back billions of dollars to the States.

Cook explained:

If you look at it today, to repatriate cash to the US, you need to pay 35 percent of that cash. And that is a very high number. We are not proposing that it be zero. I know many of our peers believe that. But I don't view that. But I think it has to be reasonable

Remember that while Apple's tax practices often make headlines, many companies employ the same tax avoidance strategies that Apple itself uses. To wit, the Post points out that over 1,000 US companies together have approximately $1.7 trillion in overseas accounts.

During the interview, Cook also emphasized Apple's commitment to creating jobs in the United States while highlighting how much in taxes Apple already forks over to the government.

Specifically, Cook explained that Apple is currently on pace to pay $7 billion in federal taxes in 2013.

When one adds together Apple's state and federal tax liabilities, Cook said that "Apple is paying approximately $1 million an hour in just domestic income taxes."

Cook also issued a few soundbites regarding Apple's tax situation to Politico, making a point of noting that Apple does not shift any of its profits earned domestically to overseas accounts.

I can tell you unequivocally Apple does not funnel its domestic profits overseas. We don't do that. We pay taxes on all the products we sell in the U.S, and we pay every dollar that we owe. And so I'd like to be really clear on that.

As a final point of interest, Cook told the Washington Post that Apple may very well be the largest corporate taxpayer in the US.

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