iCompanies allegedly assisting in tax avoidance
Silicon Valley computer giant, Apple Inc., has come under unwanted attention in the last few weeks after it was revealed that the US Senate is investigating it for tax avoidance. Senate officials have been particularly concerned about the company's operations in Ireland where profits from other operations in the world have been diverted to in a bid to pay less to the taxman.
According to a UK newspaper report, the investigations have focused on a group of companies registered at Apple's Cork office. The Guardian reports that although the company's holding company in the Irish city had no physical presence or employees, it made nearly $30bn in profit in four years. One of the Senate officials joked that the holding company, Apple Operations International, and others were iCompanies- i for imaginary, invisible.
An Irish accountant, Cathy Kearney, is listed as AOP's director and appears to be the only member of the board based in Ireland. The other directors are based in California. The report suggests that Kearney's directorships help satisfy Irish incorporation requirements.
However, some of the Apple companies in focus do not have tax residency anywhere in the would Kearney oversees Apple operations in Cork which means she is responsible for sales of iPads, iPhones and MacBooks to African, European and Middle Eastern markets. These markets accounted for two-thirds of the group's profits in 2011, about $22bn.