Want to vastly reduce your tax contribution? Then consider becoming a multi-national corporation like Apple, Pfizer, or Microsoft.
The so-called ‘Paradise Papers’, released this week by the US-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, have revealed considerable tax avoidance practices by several large U.S. corporations… a fact that has probably shocked exactly no one. Apple, now worth nearly a trillion dollars, has avoided paying billions in U.S. taxes by parking profits on the small island of Jersey, which, naturally, does not normally tax corporate income.
Jersey, by the way, is one of the Channel Islands, situated in the English Channel about 10 miles from the French shoreline. If you didn’t know that, don’t worry: you weren’t alone. The island is only about 5 miles wide, though somehow home to 100,000 (very bored) people.
The most interesting part about this whole affair is really not that gigantic multi-national corporations like Apple have been avoiding paying taxes that you or I would almost certainly go to prison for, but that they will openly deny any culpability or wrong-doing.
Just four years ago, Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, addressed this very issue in front of a U.S. Senate sub-committee formed to investigate Apple’s shady Irish subsidiaries.
While somehow holding back his maniacal laughter, Mr. Cook was able to tell the committee with a straight face that “we pay all the taxes we owe, every single dollar… we don’t stash money on some Caribbean island.”
Fair enough, Mr. Cook… Jersey isn’t in the Caribbean, after all.