Apple, Google, Facebook, other tech companies lobbying to stop NSA spying before new congress takes over in January

130521141911-tim-cook-hero-tax-code-614xa

Bloomberg reports that groups representing Apple, Google, Facebook and other high profile tech companies are lobbying to pass a new bill that attempts to limit NSA spying of email and communications of their users. The report says the groups are “pushing the Senate to pass legislation limiting National Security Agency spying before the Republican majority takes control of the chamber.” The news comes ahead of the Senate vote on the new bill scheduled for Nov. 18 and an upcoming Republican controlled Congress taking over in January: Read more

Senate bill passes bringing regulated post-contract cell phone “unlocking” closer to reality

iphone-5s-hero-l-201311iPhone users could soon finally be able to easily use any supported carrier at the end of their service contract without having to jump through hoops or use other means to unlock the device. That is if a proposed bill currently processing through Congress passes and becomes law.

The Hill reports that the mentioned bill, the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, cleared through the Senate after a vote on Tuesday through a ‘unanimous consent agreement’ and will next move to the House for a vote before potentially becoming law after first being introduced last year. Read more

Ireland denies Senate claim of special 2% corporation tax deal for Apple – link to live coverage

Update: Live coverage of the Senate hearing on Apple’s offshore tax practices is above.

As things heat up in the row on alleged tax avoidance by Apple, Ireland has denied a claim made by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations that it had agreed a special deal with the company to allow it to pay corporation tax of just 2% on its Irish earnings.

The denial was made to Yahoo! Finance reporter Conor Humphries:

According to the congressional report, Ireland had also agreed a special 2 percent rate for Apple’s Irish taxable profits instead of the normal 12.5 percent, but a spokesman for Ireland’s finance department, when asked how and why this had come about, said: “Ireland’s tax system is statute based, so there is no possibility of individual special tax rate deals for companies.”

This appears to flatly contradict a statement by the Senate subcommittee that accused Apple of … Read more

Apple publishes recommendations on tax reform ahead of Senate hearing on offshore tax practice

apple_tim_cook_money-580x418

Apple today has published its testimony proposing corporate tax reform and detailing the company’s tax practices ahead of CEO Tim Cook’s appearance at a Senate hearing on offshore tax practices scheduled for tomorrow.

In the testimony, Apple proposed what it called comprehensive corporate tax reform that should: Be revenue neutral, eliminate all corporate tax expenditures, lower corporate income tax rates; and implement a reasonable tax on foreign earnings that allows free movement of capital back to the US.

While some Subcommittee members may have differing views on these tax policy matters, Apple hopes the Subcommittee will see that these recommendations aim to create meaningful change and go well beyond what most US companies propose. As both a pioneer and participant in the American innovation economy, Apple looks forward to working with the Subcommittee on its efforts to encourage comprehensive reform of the US corporate tax system. Apple appreciates the opportunity to appear before the Subcommittee to contribute constructively to this important debate.

Apple also detailed the company’s current tax practices and noted it “made income tax payments to the US Treasury totaling nearly $6 billion – or $16 million per day.” Apple points out that, at a rate of 30.5%, that accounts for around “$1 out of every $40 of corporate income taxes collected by the US Treasury last year.”

Apple continued by commenting on its recent decision to borrow $17 billion in debt instead of repatriating offshore funds to help fund its shareholder return: Read more