Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wormy Apple

    Apple Inc. is riddled with worm holes. Congress must eradicate the worms effectively, and soon, or it will break trust with working Americans who faithfully pay payroll and income taxes day after day, and year after year.
    Otherwise, Congress may be faced with more people like Phil Hart, a former four-term Idaho state representative who failed to file federal income taxes for more than a decade, allegedly understated his income and tried to hide assets in shell corporations to shield them from bankruptcy proceedings. Hart lost his bid for a fifth term in a 2012 primary and has been pursued by government lawyers ever since.
    What’s the difference between Hart and Apple, Inc. except, perhaps, the number of tax lawyers they can afford to employ?
    Tax experts testified before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on Tuesday that Apple used innovative techniques to hide revenue and avoid paying billions in taxes to the U.S. Treasury.
    Apple executives said the company violated no laws. Harvard Law School Professor Stephen E. Shay said it’s not clear where taxes on Apple’s income are paid and that it appeared to have what’s called “ocean income”—income produced at no specific location.
    Apple execs blamed the problem on tax laws that haven’t kept up with the global economy and the digital age.
    To some degree, they’re right. While Congress argued about issues like gay marriage, American corporations may have quietly pillaged the nation’s coffers.
    Individual Americans cannot claim “oceans income.” In 2011, federal taxes paid by individuals totaled $1.1 trillion while corporations paid $181 billion.
    Within this disparity lies part of the solution to the nation’s budget woes. If Congress doesn’t find it, it may find itself faced with an ocean of Phil Harts.

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