Jackson Browne has famously told us for years that many of our lives are driven by the struggle for the legal tender. Need further proof that some things are all about the money? Or the Benjamins? Or showing someone the money?
1. Apple’s Profit Strategy = Don’t Pay Taxes. Apple has become the company that’s as American as, well, apple pie. It’s the standard for hip, cool, innovative and flush with cash. Now it’s also the standard for avoiding taxes, the true American sport. On Monday, a Senate subcommittee released a report announcing that Apple had failed to pay taxes on billions of dollars of overseas income over the past four years. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has insisted that the company has paid all the taxes it owes. Technically, that’s correct, as the company exploited technicalities in American tax laws, as well as those in Ireland where Apple’s foreign operations are based. The company does not stand accused of having done anything illegal, but folks sure are interested about all the corporate subsidiaries that were set up for no apparent purpose other than avoiding tax obligations to any country. (Pssssttttt!! Apple? I hate paying taxes, too? Can you help me? Is there, like, maybe an app for that?)
2. Apple Benefits from IRS Mess. After the Senate subcommittee determined that Apple had some suspicious tax avoidance habits, it did what any self-respecting subcommittee does, and it summoned Tim Cook to a hearing. Interestingly, most of the Senators spent the hearing fawning over Mr. Cook and his company, and asking him to enlighten them on how best to structure the country’s corporate tax code. Hooray, the tax dodger! Contrast that milk-and-cookies approach to the fire-and-brimstone attack reserved for the IRS. That agency was also summoned to Capitol Hill this week to testify about its targeted, enhanced review of tax-exempt applications from Tea Party-linked non-profits. Booooo, tax collectors! (Pssssttttt!!! Irony, thy name is Burgeoning National Deficit. Smile for the cameras!)
3. Europe Worries About Tax Avoiders, Too. The great thing about allies is that they’ll stand by you even outside the context of war. This very week, European Union leaders were meeting in Brussels to discuss the pattern of tax avoidance by large multinational companies within the EU. Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Francois Hollande both expressed frustration at the avoidance practices and made a commitment to get corporations to pay their fair share of the tax burden. Everyone agrees the leaders’ efforts are cute, much in the same way a parent’s efforts to hide the cookies from the kids is cute. Eventually, a work-around will be found, a flaw discovered. Until then, carry on, EU! (Pssstttttt!!!! Do you guys want to take the Kardashians for a little bit?)
4. Google Hates Taxes, Too! Not one to let Apple go it alone, Google also has come under fire for its tax treatments. Leaders in the United Kingdom have begun speaking out against the Internet search company, based on how it funnels its UK profits through an Irish subsidiary. Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s approach has been to blame the whole thing on the international tax regime, taking the position that his company is essentially compelled to exploit the loopholes in the law. (Pssstttt!!!! Good thinking, Eric! That’s the exact same rationale I use for over-eating at dessert! I mean, if the frozen yogurt was only supposed to be eaten one serving size at a time, that little pint would pull the lid back on. Am I right!?!? * High five* ).
5. Tesla Motors Repays Federal Loan Early. If there was a sound that combined a giant exhale and the clinking of coins in a piggy-bank, it would be the sound this news would have made. Tesla Motors, an electric car maker, received a $465 million loan from the Department of Energy in 2010. The loan was made as part of President Obama’s clean-energy initiatives, which suffered from the Solyndra scandal. Tesla, though, did not implode, and, in fact, made enough money in the markets that it was able to repay the government nine years ahead of schedule. (Psssttttt! Tesla? Good for you and all, but are you sure you’re a real “company”? Please see #1 and #3 and #4, above.)
6. Women Are Corporations, Too. Well, not really. But Forbes just published its list of the World’s Most Powerful Women, and several honorees hail, of course, from the corporate world. In fact, Forbes remarked at the “rising tide of female entrepreneurs” on the list. By all accounts, next year Forbes will break out those women especially adept at not paying taxes for special recognition, which will likely be an all-expenses paid hearing before a Senate subcommittee. (Pssstttt!!!! Forbes? I recommend you send Beyonce, regardless. It’d be fun to hear Senator Carl Levin expound on the Sasha Fierce album.)
Check back next week for the “6 Things” You Need to Know Right Now!
Associate Editor Abby Diaz is a mother, wife and lawyer who shares her opinions and her sarcasm while blogging about current events at What’s Left Over. Hailed by readers as “hilarious,” “insightful” and “related to me,” she is sure to cover a subject that resonates with you. Assuming you care about things like life, entertainment, and/or family. If reading full paragraphs is too much for you, enjoy Abby over at Facebook or Twitter.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons.