Apple’s Tax Strategy

The NYTimes published an “investigation” into Apple’s avoidance of taxes.

It centers around a local university that is upset how Apple circumvents taxes:

“When it comes time for all these companies — Google and Apple and Facebook and the rest — to pay their fair share, there’s a knee-jerk resistance,” Mr. Murphy said. “They’re philosophically antitax, and it’s decimating the state.”

This is big media trolling at it’s finest. They’re holding up the biggest company in the world, and portraying them as a thieving giant corporation.

They owe their “fair share,” right?

The problem is, “fair share” is a moral claim, one that Kyle Baxter illustrated wonderfully recently:

We can debate whether that rate should be higher, but it isn’t accurate to argue that the rich don’t pay a significant amount in taxes. They do, and they pay significantly more, whether measured as a percentage of income or in absolute terms.

“They don’t pay their fair share” isn’t an empirical claim. It’s a moral claim, and there’s a very high bar to clear when making that argument.

Apple has done nothing illegal. Every single loophole that they jumped through was enacted somehow by our government. It’s not as if they’re misreporting their income to the IRS to pay a lower amount.

It’s all legal. Oh, and everyone else does it too.

Don’t blame Apple. Don’t use them as a scapegoat. If you don’t like our tax system, if you’re going to claim that it’s outdated, blame our government. Blame the IRS and state governments that enacted these loopholes in the first place.

But don’t trash the image of a company that has done more to boom our economy than any president has done in the last 20 years.

In the end, one of our government’s major responsibilities is to create jobs, and Apple has created over 500,000 of them. Don’t blame them for the state’s mismanaging of funds, because they are paying up.

April 30, 2012