In 2012, Apple ($AAPL) paid $6 billion to the US government for federal income tax. That does not count taxes from its employees, state taxes, local levies, nor property taxes on its nearly 300 Apple Stores in the US.
For some, this is a sizable amount. For others, perhaps it's fair or even not enough. That's for policymakers to decide. But for those in charge of managing Apple Inc, taxes are a sticky issue.
Wired offers an insightful analysis of the *potential* tax liability Apple faces. In the United States.
Even as Apple lobbies for corporate tax amnesty, it has accounted for some of its potential future tax bills in filings with federal securities regulators, a move that helps Apple avoid embarrassing earnings re-statements if it is later forced to pay taxes. In the filings, Apple says it had $14.7 billion in deferred tax liabilities overseas as of Sept. 29, when its fiscal year ended. In a footnote, the company acknowledges there’s another $13.8 billion in “unrecognized deferred tax liability” from money it intends to keep perpetually out of the U.S. If the company ever decides to bring all its money home, and then pays taxes on it at currently anticipated rates, the bill would come to $28.5 billion, plus additional taxes on any profits moved overseas since Sept. 29.
Bottom line, Apple has a lot of money that will remain parked outside the US, begging to be put to good use.
Tim Cook, who has repeatedly and very publicly talked up China as a core market for its products, is, not surprisingly, now in China.
Tim Cook arrived in Beijing earlier today where he got the full sitting-in-front-of-a-fancy-painting treatment as he met with Miao Wei, minister of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
According to the government department, Tim Cook and Miao Wei discussed the tech industry in China, the global mobile market, and Apple’s progress. Cook also met with the US ambassador to the country, Gary Locke, but no other details of the CEO’s itinerary have been revealed.
Given the size and importance of the China market, and all that cash burning a hole in his pocket, I expect a big Apple - China - financial announcement from Tim Cook in the coming weeks.