Report: Apple moves assets to evade taxes

Apple reportedly moved two of its subsidiaries from Ireland to the island of Jersey in an attempt to shield assets from European tax regulators, The New York Times reports.

The company enlisted the services of a Bermuda law firm, Appleby, in 2016 when the European Union ordered Ireland to collect $14.5 billion in back taxes from Apple, alleging it had granted the company illegal tax breaks. It decided Jersey, specifically Appleby's office on one of the Channel Islands, would make a good home since it makes its own laws and is not subject to most European Union legislation.

Leaked documents — which have been dubbed the "Paradise Papers" — from Appleby reported in NYT revealed the firm helped Apple restructure its offshore tax scheme.

"For those of you who are not aware Apple are extremely sensitive concerning publicity," Cameron Adderley, an Appleby executive, wrote to his partners in a leaked 2014 email. "They also expect the work that is being done for them only to be discussed amongst personnel who need to know."

An Apple spokesperson said the company hadn't done anything illegal.

"The changes we made did not reduce our tax payments in any country," Josh Rosenstock, Apple's spokesperson, told NYT. "At Apple we follow the laws, and if the system changes we will comply. We strongly support efforts from the global community toward comprehensive international tax reform and a far simpler system."

In response to the NYT report, the company posted a response on its website Nov. 6.  Apple notes the corporate tax rate on foreign earnings is 21 percent with 35 percent on income from overseas investments, so "the debate over Apple's taxes is not about how much we owe but where we owe it."

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