Apple "corporate tax evasion" product parody video: iRS

The troublesome thing is that only about half of what's in this video is made up. From Sourcefed. Background: Apple, like many other large US corporations, does interesting things with money overseas to minimize the amount it must pay in taxes, and maximize the amount it can keep as profit.


  1. it’s hard out there for the world’s largest companies…can’t we just cut them a little break?!

  2. Why would any individual or corporation take money earned overseas and repatriate it at a 30% tax when it can be kept overseas and used to expand operations there? The US government created this system of incentives and now they have to live with it.

    1. Indeed. The outrage here is not the tax evasion, but that these sort of financial shenanigans are legal and tacitly encouraged. If the working class, or whatever’s left of it, found a way to offshore their share of taxation this practice would be swiftly criminalized.

      Then the megacorps, like Apple, would be forced to look for other means to protect their profits from being squandered on the infrastructure that supports them. As tax havens were first pioneered by the Mafia, I’m sure other innovations exist.

    2. Why would any individual or corporation take money earned overseas and repatriate it at a 30% tax when it can be kept overseas and used to expand operations there?

      That’s not quite an accurate description of what’s happening in this case since the Irish-based Apple headquarters doesn’t actually have any employees. They’re not using that extra money to “expand operations” overseas, they’re keeping the extra money because they like money.

      But you’re absolutely right that the US government created this system of incentives. It was especially interesting to watch politicians like John McCain feigning shock and outrage that a corporation like Apple would take advantage of the tax laws they created.

        1. That’s why I’m having a hard time getting too upset at Apple in particular. What they did isn’t “fair” (to use McCain’s term) but they were only able to do it because Congress wasn’t interested in making corporations like Apple pay their fair share in taxes.

          1. Oh please don’t misunderstand… things need fixing, and it’s disappointing to see companies I really really like doing this, but I think that regardless of where I set my integrity meter, I’d have a pretty hard time just handing over $5 billion or $25 billion or whatever it is in taxes they are shuffling around.

        2. Who doesn’t like money?

          Me!  Money is only useful when you’re getting rid of it.

          If you people didn’t force me to have money with your silly taxes and mortgages and wages and such nonsense I wouldn’t bother with it.  I prefer cute, fuzzy kittens and fine dark beers.

      1. I heard they were going to triple the number of employees at this headquarters. Heck, maybe even quadruple it…

      2. Your characterization of the situation is at odds with publicly known facts, and more than a bit dishonest.

        What’s your agenda?

    3. Dammit, Jon’s right.. unfortunately, we are now stuck with it.. if only we could change laws and rules…

      1. Sadly, we can’t. The current Congress can’t do anything except repeal Obamacare. They’ve done it 42 times in three years. This is not a joke.

    4. Why would any individual or corporation take money earned overseas and repatriate it at a 30% tax when it can be kept overseas and used to expand operations there? The US government created this system of incentives and now they have to live with it.

      Apologist much?  What about ethics?  That shouldn’t matter once a group of people wrap themselves around a corporation?

      For American citizens who just don’t want to “live with it”, there’s this:

      1. While I don’t like this any more than you, Apple (and any other public corporation) has a fiduciary responsibility to their investors to earn as much as possible. It’s probably illegal for them *not* to do this; and honestly, there are things that used to dodge tax that are way worse than this (like selling commodities at absurd prices to subsidiaries to avoid being taxed at the proper rate).

        1. “It’s probably illegal for them *not* to do this”

          Wait, so are you saying that if I am an Apple shareholder and can prove that they could be making more money than they are, I can sue them?

          1.  Yes!  Lets do it.

            Actually, on a related note, the Trans-Pacific Partnership that Obama is (secretly) pushing for would allow foreign corporations to sue the US government for “lost profit opportunities” when we pass an environmental law or other regulation that stops them from entering a particular market or inhibits their profit-potential.  So entitlement to profit is being enshrined in law as we speak.  Just not for the little people.

          2. IANAL, but I believe that’s the gist of it. However, practically speaking, good luck trying to actually prove such a thing or make any sort of real legal headway, especially with what is one of the world’s most profitable companies at any given time. 

          3. yeah, I see what you are saying. I think it is easier to prove and hold them accountable as shareholders when they make a decision that winds up losing money than to prove they didn’t make a decision that would make even more money.

        2. It’s probably illegal for them *not* to do this

          You’re missing my point. And, it’s not illegal for companies to be ethical in all cases. Often, shareholders will even demand such a thing and the company will comply.

          It’s time to stop pandering to the poor, poor corporations.

          there are things that used to dodge tax that are way worse

          So what? There’s always something worse for practically anything that’s unethical. Still doesn’t mean we should ignore it and not doing anything about it.

          I don’t like this any more than you

          Then do something about it and quit pandering to them:

          1. I could do without your accusations of my “pandering to them;” and thanks for replying to my first sentence last, implying that was how I wrote it.

            I’m only trying to point out the (shitty) realities of our current political and legal system and that Apple usually gets way more flack than it actually deserves.

            How about you stop pandering to your knee-jerk reactions and poorly thought-out conclusions?

          2. I’m only trying to point out the (shitty) realities of our current political and legal system

            You’re pointing out the obvious. This is boingboing, very few (if any) of us here aren’t aware of our current “realities”. Why keep stating the obvious to a group that already knows it?

            Apple usually gets way more flack than it actually deserves.

            Yes, poor Apple. So much flack. My God, Apple is up to its ears in flack.

            I could do without your accusations of my “pandering to them;”

            Then maybe quit pandering to them.

            thanks for replying to my first sentence last, implying that was how I wrote it.

            Ok. ಠ_ಠ

          3. Oh, I see what you’re saying! Since Apple makes lots of money, no one ever makes baseless attacks against them!

            God forbid that a company that actually does a lot of things really well becomes successful! Maybe you’d prefer we were stuck back in the 90s and we’d have to pay hundreds of dollars on some shitty software just to open a stupid word processing file! Having a company like Microsoft dominating the world’s computer landscape would be sooooo much better.

            Yes, I forgot, Apple is SOOO EVIL! And somehow I’m pandering to Apple, even though the first sentence I wrote in this thread was that i *didn’t* like this tax situation!

            And frankly, even though I’m pointing things that may be obvious, you’re “pointing out” things that aren’t even true! So please, stop polluting the internet with your sophomoric arguments and writing skills. Thanks.

    5.  Two things:  the money isn’t actually overseas, its in NYC bank accounts.  And that money isn’t used to invest overseas at all.  It just sits (in offshore NYC accounts — nonsense much?)  and waits for the government to finish getting lobbied and lavished with cash in order to give these poor corporations an amnesty to repatriate their cash and shower their wealthy shareholders and upper level executives with dividends and corporate golden showers*.

      *That’s what happened in 2004 when corporations succeeded in getting a similar amnesty claiming that all the money they would bring back would be used to invest in hiring and domestic expansion when in fact most of the companies involved actually fired workers by the thousands and pissed the money away as described above.

  3. Take the tax money that will hopefully be recovered and use it to bail out homeowners and students.

    1. No. There is no alleged illegality, so there is no money to be recovered. Also, why do people who overextended themselves need money instead of the people who did not overextend themselves? You’re setting up a system where you incentivize poor financial decisions.

      1.  i agree with you on the non-illegality.  but who said the homeowners and students made poor financial decisions?  it’s been proven time and again that most were victims of predatory lending and/or record high education costs.  i guess you COULD term these poor decisions, probably based upon circumstances you apparently can’t imagine.  but even if you were a cold hearted bastard and decided as such, their financial success going forward is directly linked to the rest of ours.

        1. I don’t need to imagine, I’ve got plenty of friends who have lost houses and are being crushed by student loans. I want them to succeed. But the Mercedes SL63 AMG black series is $299,000 – pretty much a record high. That price tag existing does not cause debt. I also don’t own one, nor do I own a house, because I can’t afford one.

          1. Get a Tesla instead.  

            With the savings you could buy a garage  with  electrical outlets and an attached living area.

          2. so your plenty-of-friends are in the same circumstances as the rest of the over-extended in the country?

          3. Dude, I’m sorry I didn’t notice you turned this in to some sort of personal attack on me. I should not have replied to you.

          4. @morcheeba:disqus  i wasn’t attacking you, just questioning some of what i read to be over-generalizations

        2. The homeowners decided to take on the “predatory” loan. Millions of poeple managed to keep on renting even though it was not just “cheaper to own” but “will make you money” because even with those same predatory lending companies around they made non-poor financial decisions.

          For the students, they’re younger and hence have am ore sympathetic case for being preyed upon. However, again a lot managed to work hard enough to get a scholarship rather than loans. Or attended a cheaper not as well respected school, work their asses of, and transfer as many credits as they could to a “better” school and pay the high fees for just the one year that matters.

      2. While using tax loopholes is ‘legal’ it is still gaming the system. Imagine the public benefits billions of dollars of taxes could pay for. Also seriously… you’d rather bail out the banks that were the authors of the financial collapse than the people who actually suffered real losses, or the students who are key to our future economic success? Let me guess, you’re a republican and/or over 50.

        1. I didn’t say I want to bail out the banks – don’t put words in my mouth. I am also not a republican and I am under 50. You’re batting 0/3.

          So, homeowners get a tax deduction for interest paid. Many people don’t own homes, me included. Imagine the public benefits billions of dollars of taxes could pay for if those homeowners didn’t use this loophole.

          1.  I see, so the enemy is the middle class, not the rich plutocrats that control more money than the bottom 150 million Americans.  Way to redirect anger away from the people actually ripping us off.

          2. Sorry, you’ve misunderstood my sarcasm. One person’s legitimate deduction is another’s loophole. I was turning the tables on @boingboing-50cce8f9d38eee7b6f71a6d51c071e4c:disqus and I thought my exact copying of their sentence was sufficient warning that I was doing so.

        2. Jesus Christ, I’m with morcheeba on this one. How about losing the straw man arguments?

        3. Over 50? You mean barely employable due to age and unlikely to be able to recoup the losses of the last decade before being put out to pasture?

          Don’t be a dick.

      3.  So buying a house and going to college are poor financial decisions now?  Good to know.  I’ll tell all those financial advisers and economists that have touted both for the past 50 years that they were all wrong.

        And no, I don’t think its just homeowners and college students that need bailing out.  But how about we stop the internecine warfare and direct our anger where it belongs?

        1. I used the word “overextended” twice and the words “homeowners” and “college” no times – and still you didn’t understand my emphasis :-(

    2.  How about reducing the corporate tax to 0% and raising the tax on individual dividends to make up the difference? That way corporations can use the money as it sees fit and it is taxed when it is distributed as dividend profits to individuals.

      1. Why should a corporation enjoy all the benefits of citizenship for free? Why should they not pay for the roads their trucks use, the schools that educated their employees, the Army that keeps them safe?

        1.  These aren’t taxes “on corporations” they are taxes on profits. They can be taxed at the corporate level or at the personal level. Currently we do a little of both with giant loopholes. Why the loopholes? Because even the most Left wing nut knows that effectively taxing corporate profits at above 50% is a really dumb idea. Just tax it once at the same level as income taxes (so you can get your “soak the rich” agenda in there) and be done with it.

          1.  No we don’t think its nuts to charge above 50% on corporate profits, especially when we know that the 35% rate is NEVER PAID by any corporation anywhere in the US.  And in the 1950s and into the 1960s the highest US personal tax rate was 90%.  We seemed to do just fine with those rates.  In fact, such rates strongly encourage corporations to reinvest their profits into expansion and hiring to avoid taking such a big hit, rather than dividend payments and ridiculously high salaries for upper management that only serve to enrich an already ridiculously rich portion of society, who then take that money and speculate in casino commodities, derivatives and stock markets driving up the cost of essentials for regular people and destabilizing economies and world food prices.

            So instead of making bad assumptions about what “left wing nuts” “know” try learning some real-world economics instead of blasting us with fox news propaganda.

            And “soak the rich” is a preposterous claim in a world where the rich have been stealing the wealth of productivity gains from working people for 40 years and where a small cadre of a couple hundred billionaires control more wealth than the bottom 150 million American citizens.  Soak the rich?  Hahahahahahahahaha.

      2. Right, because corporate profits are the only income that is double-taxed.  My arse.  We are all double taxed all the time.  Every time I pay sales tax, gas tax, state and local taxes, property taxes, etc., etc., that money was already taxed at the federal level and so I am being double, nay triple taxed. 

        The propaganda  flows freely from this one.

        1. It’s a meme.  Very popular with people who think they could be obscenely rich if only it wasn’t for the damn Socialists in Washington keeping the working man down by redistributing his wealth to the unworthy.

          Memes substitute for (and prevent) analytic thought, although their propagators usually don’t think of it that way.  BoingBoing is more friendly to left-wing memes for the most part, so you might not have seen this one before, but believe me I’ve been hearing this particular hogwash from my father’s peer group ever since Reagan was in office.

  4. “An extensive investigation in the New York Times today.” 

    Nope. The New York Times in the past few years has been extremely unreliable in its reporting on Apple. This is not really in dispute. It’s not only the interpretation of facts that is bogus, but the very facts themselves. 

    Any US coverage of economic and social policy continues to be too easily hijacked by extremists tearing apart the carcass of a country in a perpetual crisis. Even Groklaw has lost its way on the topic of Apple. There are very few examples of rigorous objectivity left. comes closer than most to consistent journalistic integrity.

    Americans have to figure out how to stop falling for hyperbolic mob BS.

    1. In one of their recent articles, they again brought up the suicides at Foxconn, a company that employs a million people, a company that has a suicide rate far far lower than china, and lower than your typical American university. They’ve had plenty of time to change their opinion, but somehow Apple is to blame that Foxconn has a below-average suicide rate.

  5. Shorter: If you have ever taken a legal deduction on your tax return, personal or business, STFU. You’re no better. 

    The two biggest issues with this story are actually one and the same: Holding Apple up for scrutiny, given that it’s not the only large publicly-held corporation doing this, is a distraction. The game is rigged on behalf of the corporations and their owners. And increasingly those owners are not individual shareholders but large institutions, essentially corporations themselves. 

    In the 1950s it was estimated that institutional shareholders held shares representing approximately 10 percent of the wealth invested in publicly traded corporations. By 1990 these estimates were approaching 50 percent. Today, estimates are that approximately 75 percent is in the hands of institutional shareholders.


    How many investors scrutinize the holdings of the funds they’re invested in, absent a media event like this? 

    1. ” If you have ever taken a legal deduction on your tax return, personal or business, STFU. You’re no better. ”

      What utter and complete hogwash.  Paying accountants and lawyers millions of dollars to find every possible loophole and tax-savings scheme imaginable (and some that aren’t) to take advantage of is not the same as taking some deductions on your tax return.  If Apple and the other miscreants paid a tax rate even remotely similar to what normal working people play there would be no outrage here.  GE actually manages to get tax credits (in other words 0% or less in taxes) for earning tens of billions in profits while a schoolteacher pays 25% of his income to the government for earning $50k.  Please don’t try and equate the two without bringing along a puke barge for all of us to vomit in while you make your retarded proclamations.

      1. tl;dr I don’t get the concept that legal entities engaging in legal acts means the laws should be changed. 

        I didn’t defend their actions. Corporations that exist for profit should required to pay taxes on those profits without a lot of chicanery like deferrals and carryforwards. As everyone should realize, the reason we have so much wealth in the US is because of the system, not in spite of it. It’s a crooked game, controlled by money. 

        There’s a lot to be outraged about. If you can finish this book — — without wanting some French Revolution style redistribution, you’re more balanced than I am. But holding up one company, rather than examining how all multinationals legally exploit the system, is a distraction. 

        Apple has also been mentioned as having a very small presence in Washington DC. A better focus is on who’s writing the rules, not on who is benefiting from them. 

        1.  I agree there — Apple is just doing what other large fatass corps are doing.  The only reason they get singled out is because they are in the limelight so often, which is a bad reason.  But anything that gets attention for our perverse and obscene tax code is good IMO.

  6. Proposition: create a Tax Code family tree that tracks each piece of code that creates big deductions, from the day it passes, to the representatives that backed said legislation, to those who provided the legislators with talking points and data, as well as campaign donations, further down the the major industrial giants who benefit the most

  7. being self employed hearing about what rich people pay in taxes makes me literally queazy, i don’t make six figures a year and my tax burden is more than my mortgage

    i think i need to go lay down now

    1. The true measure of Making It in this country is not just your income level but when it’s high enough to justify hiring a tax expert to make sure you keep most of it. 

      On the plus side, it sounds like you have a low mortgage payment. 

  8. I don’t know if this has been said, but the money that’s supposedly “offshore” is actually sitting in banks in New York City.  The money has been nominally transferred to the Irish subsidiary so its technically offshore.  What a joke.  I say if you’re going to offshore your money to avoid taxes you at least have to wire that shit to a foreign bank account.  I mean come on.  Can’t they make their farce even the slightest bit plausible?

    And I agree, Congress’ fake outrage is puke-worthy.  They made the laws corporations drive trucks of untaxed money through and now they whine.  A more reprehensible bunch of lying Skeksis I have never laid eyes on. 

    I would also add that Apple and the other companies that pull these scams are not required to do so by any fiduciary laws or whatever.  They do it because it saves them billions of dollars.   Are they also “required” to lobby Congress for a tax amnesty so they can “repatriate” the money sitting in NYC banks at a lower tax rate?

    Its just more of the same: the reverse-progressive tax system in the US for super-wealthy douchebags to avoid paying their fair share, and then turning around and calling the poor who pay sales taxes, fuel taxes, state and local taxes, etc. etc. moochers for not paying federal income tax.  At what point do we just start rocketing these moral monsters and their hordes of cash into space?

    1. For the record, while I can’t attest to the validity of what you’re saying, these days, money “sitting in banks” and “in New York City” doesn’t really mean a whole lot. The “physical” presence of money has everything to do with specific laws (or their avoidance) than where specific bits are stored.

  9. I would have thought that Cook’s recent testimony in front of a Senate sub-committee would have been read (or watched) by the commenters on this article before they went off the rails with their invective on “scams”, “loopholes”, and “evasion”. 

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