Photo: Lara604 / Flickr, CC
Technology giant Apple shuttled $11bn (£7bn) into offshore tax havens in the fourth quarter of 2012, an analysis of its corporate filings has revealed.The iPad maker has slashed its tax bill by paying less than 2pc on its overseas profits, as it moves money through offshoots in low-tax countries such as the British Virgin Islands.
Apple’s completely legal tax avoidance strategies bring the total the company has sheltered from the US tax authorities to $94bn, according to a Sunday Times analysis.
Corporation tax on Apple’s overseas operations amount to just 1.9pc of profits, compared with a tax rate of up to 24pc in the UK and 35pc in the US.
Apple is estimated to have avoided more than £550m in tax in Britain in 2011. Its latest accounts show UK turnover at just over £1bn and profit at £81.3m, generating a tax bill of £14.4m.
However, analysis of its filings in America suggest a more realistic figure for UK turnover is £6.7bn. This would imply an estimated profit of £2.2bn and, at the then corporation tax rate of 26pc, a £570m tax bill, the Sunday Times reports.
Apple is the latest in a line of large companies that have been exposed for using legal tax holes which result in the company paying less tax.
Prime Minister David Cameron last week told tax-avoiding companies to “wake up and smell the coffee”, comments which drew threats from Starbucks’ UK managing director of suspending millions of pounds of investment in Britain.
Starbucks took an unprecedented step of pledging to pay £20m corporation tax in the UK, after it came under fire for paying nothing last year despite making sales of £398m.
Facebook has been accused of “immoral” behaviour after accounts showed that the social media giant paid a corporate tax bill of just over £238,000 last year, despite estimated revenues of £175m.
At the end of last month David Cameron demanded an investigation into claims of large-scale avoidance while Brussels moved to close European VAT loop-holes enjoyed by Amazon, Skype and Netflix.
The Prime Minister said HM Revenue & Customs should “look carefully” at cases where international corporations have legally been able to pay no corporation tax – or very small amounts – on billions of pounds of UK revenue.
Apple could not be reached for comment.