Tim Cook’s defense of Apple’s tax strategy, annotated

From The Washington Post:

Apple CEO Tim Cook offered revealing insights into his company’s tax strategies in an interview with The Washington Post’s Jena McGregor — ones that both highlight the company’s approach to global investment and its assessment of the chances for comprehensive corporate tax reform to move through Congress in the near future.

At times, though, what Cook did not say was as interesting as what he did say.

The tax-related excerpts from the interview are below. Post economic policy correspondent Jim Tankersley has annotated them, to help decode the company’s strategy and how it fits in the tax reform debate and the economy at large.

We were talking about getting advice from people before your first testimony on Capitol Hill. That hearing focused on the corporate taxes Apple pays. Apple is now awaiting a European Union ruling on whether you owe billions in back taxes, and corporate tax reform is a big election-year issue. Does either a Trump or a Clinton campaign give you or the company any hope that there could be corporate tax reform anytime soon?

I think it’s in the best interest of the U.S. to have corporate tax reform, regardless of which political party is in charge of the White House. Because if you look at it, the U.S. rules today are that international companies like us and many others can keep their earnings that they earn overseas overseas and then when they bring them back it triggers the tax liability.

What I’ve always felt should happen is that every dollar should be taxed immediately with no deferral. But as a consequence of doing that, you should have free flow of capital. What would happen is if a system like that were put in place, it should have more …

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