Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma appeared on “Morning Joe” earlier this morning to talk the debt crisis. During the interview, a question came up about a piece The New York Times ran this weekend that discussed Apple’s tactics of legally skirting billions in taxes each year by using tax havens like Nevada, Ireland, Luxembourg, and the Virgin Islands. Keep in mind: These practices are perfectly legal and other large companies are doing the same. However, when the Senator was asked about the topic, Coburn sternly replied that he’s “absolutely livid.”
As a solution to the issue, Coburn said that the nation needs to “reform the tax code,” which he said will lead to economic growth. The senator also said he has begun work with Michigan Senator Carl Levin to look into how Apple is doing this. The big thing it looks like the senator wants to do is bring the funds from these larger companies back into the United States to help put more money back into the economy—obviously through large taxes.
Apple currently has $74 billion of its money off-shores, and it is pushing, along with other companies, for a tax-holiday where it could bring its money back into the U.S at a cut tax rate. Apple responded to the NYT piece on Sunday:
Apple, in a statement, said it “has conducted all of its business with the highest of ethical standards, complying with applicable laws and accounting rules. We are incredibly proud of all of Apple’s contributions.” Apple “pays an enormous amount of taxes, which help our local, state and federal governments,” the statement also said, “in the first half of fiscal year 2012, our U.S. operations have generated almost $5 billion in federal and state income taxes, including income taxes withheld on employee stock gains, making us among the top payers of U.S. income tax.”
You bet lawmakers are going to make this whole tax fiasco a primary target in the next few months.