Apple Used An Obscure Island To Avoid Billions In Taxes, Says Report

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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Apple used an obscure group of islands as its tax haven during a time when the tech giant received criticism for using Ireland for the same purpose, according to an analysis of The Paradise Papers released Sunday.

After Irish officials and U.S. congressional investigators accused Apple around 2013 of avoiding billions of dollars in taxes through the foreign country, Apple reportedly shopped around for prospective locations to shift its profits to. It eventually settled on the island of Jersey, part of the Channel Islands, an archipelago and dependency of The Crown in the U.K.

“We pay all the taxes we owe, every single dollar,” Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed at a hearing organized by the United States Senate investigative subcommittee, prior to the subsequent discussions to potentially alter its tax arrangement. “We don’t depend on tax gimmicks … We don’t stash money on some Caribbean island.”

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) shared the set of 13.4 million electronic records known as the Paradise Papers on Sunday, which center around offshore investment dealings. A number of media outlets received the documents, and reported on them.

The cache of once-secret corporate files shows that Jersey was a prime option because Appleby, a Bermuda-based law firm that works with some of the world’s wealthiest, had an office in Jersey. Apple first approached Appleby through its U.S. counsel, and asked if the firm could prove, via a questionnaire, why Apple should move its assets there.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for us to shine on a global basis … Please could you consider the questionnaire and provide your best fee proposal for … your jurisdiction. I … would ask that you embrace this opportunity to build a closer relationship with their prestigious client,” an email from a senior Appleby executive read, according to The Guardian.

The higher-up, though, despite his overt excitement, urged caution in dealing with the matter: “Finally, for those of you who are not aware, Apple are extremely sensitive concerning publicity and do not generally permit their external counsel to disclose that they have been engaged by Apple or to make any mention (not even generically) in promotional materials to the relevant engagement.”

It is not known how much Apple exactly saved by eluding various tax jurisdictions. Richard Harvey, an ex-IRS official and Villanova law professor, told The New York Times that Apple likely transferred around $200 billion to Appleby, basing the decision off of reviewed records and disclosures in securities filings.

European Union regulators are currently pursuing $14.5 billion in back taxes from Apple, after the company allegedly used the low-tax rate country of Ireland for much of its holdings. The aforementioned Senate subcommittee ultimately ruled in a lengthy report that the company was avoiding billions in taxes by offloading them to three Irish subsidiaries. Ireland has said it will cooperate and force Apple to pay what is owed by law, but it is apparently taking too long as the E.U. has threatened to take Ireland to court if the state takes much longer.

Apple did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment by time of publication.

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