The view from within the electronics industry – individual comment pieces from people working in the technology sector.

The tax man

Which companies pay tax these days? Apple Operations International has no employees, no physical presence anywhere, has not filed an income tax return in any country in the world for five years and had revenues of $30 billion. Will Apple’s retiring CFO Peter Oppenheimer be in demand with other companies, wonders David Manners?

Peter Oppenheimer - Apple senior VP and Chief Financial Officer

Peter Oppenheimer – Apple’s senior VP and Chief Financial Officer

Apple should be giving a massive lob-out to Peter Oppenheimer when he retires later this year.

Not that Oppenheimer will need it. He’s going to be massively in demand from companies all over the world.

Because Oppenheimer is the guy responsible for Apple’s $160 billion cash mountain.

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By putting in structures which reduced Apple’s tax liability to 50c per $1,000 of income, Oppenheimer allowed Apple to pile up cash like a demented squirrel on speed storing nuts.

Apple has worldwide revenues as big as the California state budget, but pays no tax anywhere in the world.

Apple has a couple of tax-avoidance companies incorporated in Ireland, but managed from the US, which can’t be taxed anywhere.

One of them, Apple Operations International, has no employees, no physical presence anywhere, has not filed an income tax return in any country in the world for the 2009-12 timescale and had revenues of $30 billion in those five years.

The other comapny, Apple Sales International, had sales revenue Apple Sales International has reported more than $100 billion of profits in the last five years but paid tax on it at a rate of five hundredths of one percent.

In addition, Apple has avoided an American tax liability of $44 billion over the past four years through off-shore strategems.

So Oppenheimer is a bit of a star in avoiding tax.

The question is, now he’s leaving Apple, will Oppenheimer  be available to other companies to set up similar schemes?

And, if so, will no company in the world be paying any taxes at all in a few years’ time?

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