In May 2020, Ethical Consumer viewed the entry for Apple Inc on the Opensecrets.org website, which was published in the USA by the Centre for Responsive Politics. This stated that in 2020 the company had spent $7,410,000 on lobbying and in 2020 the company and its employees had made $1,557,095 in political donations, 92% of which went to Democrats.

40 out of 46 Apple Inc lobbyists in 2019 had previously held government jobs.

Reference:

Open Secrets generic ref 2020 (2020)

According to the Ethical Consumer lobby group members list, updated in February 2019, Apple was a member of the following lobby groups:

The Business Roundtable
The US Council for International Business

These groups were regarded by Ethical Consumer as international corporate lobby groups which exerted undue corporate influence on policy-makers in favour of market solutions that were potentially detrimental to the environment and human rights.

Apple Inc lost half a mark for each of the lobby groups of which it was a member.

Reference:

Ethical Consumer Lobby Group member list (7 February 2019)

In May 2020, Ethical Consumer viewed the 2020 SEC filing DEF 14a for Apple, which showed compensation for named executive officers for 2018. Six people had received totals of over £1 million, the equivalent that Ethical Consumer considered excessive. The highest paid received $25,231,800.

Reference:

Generic Hoovers ref (2020)

A Guardian article dated August 2016 reported that Apple had been ordered to a pay €13bn (£11bn) in back taxes to Ireland by the European Commission. In an article entitled "Apple ordered to pay €13bn after EU rules Ireland broke state aid laws" the Guardian report that the company had been presented with the huge bill after the European Commission ruled that a sweetheart tax deal between Apple and the Irish tax authorities amounted to illegal state aid.
The Commission said the deal allowed Apple to pay a maximum tax rate of just 1%. In 2014, the tech firm paid tax at just 0.005%. The usual rate of corporation tax in Ireland is 12.5%.
“Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies – this is illegal under EU state aid rules,” said the European competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, whose investigation of Apple’s complex tax dealings has taken three years.
The Commission said Ireland’s tax arrangements with Apple between 1991 and 2015 had allowed the US company to attribute sales to a “head office” that only existed on paper and could not have generated such profits.
The result was that Apple avoided tax on almost all the profit generated from its multi-billion euro sales of iPhones and other products across the EU’s single market. It booked the profits in Ireland rather than the country in which the product was sold.
The taxable profits of Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe did not correspond to economic reality, the Commission said.
Vestager said: “The Commission’s investigation concluded that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years.”

Reference:

Apple ordered to pay €13bn after EU rules Ireland broke state aid laws (30 August 2016)

A research paper released in October 2015 criticises technology giant Apple for their lack of investment in the real economy.
The report authors say that Apple was short-changing societies by acting as a financial investor when handling its enormous company profits instead of reinvesting them for the benefit of society.
The report from SOMO, 'Rich Corporations, Poor Societies: The Financialisation of Apple' explains how the multinational shrewdly minimised its corporate costs through the relentless offshoring of production and related ‘activities’ to low-wage countries and tax havens.
They say that Apple had more capital than it can productively use, for instance it has $200million sitting in offshore accounts.
As a result it is increasingly operating like a large institutional investor, investing most of its mounting cash pile in financial markets.
The report goes onto say that the case of Apple is just one example of how multinational corporations have collectively come to embrace Wall Street’s maxim of shareholder value, leading to a global ‘race to the bottom’.
They conclude that corporations rather than hoarding cash in offshore accounts should be more socially minded, paying a fair share of tax, paying living wages, and investing in research and development to directly create value in the real economy.

Reference:

apple-creates-poor-societies (27 October 2015)

In May 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed Apple Inc’s family tree on the website hoovers.com.

Apple had several subsidiaries in jurisdictions considered to be tax havens by Ethical Consumer at the time of writing, including holding companies in the Netherlands and Ireland, such as:

APPLE OPERATIONS INTERNATIONAL LIMITED, Ireland
Apple Holding B.V., Netherlands

Holding companies were considered high risk company types for likely use of tax avoidance strategies.

An internet search using the search terms “Apple tax policy statement country” found a statement from Apple dated regarding Apple's tax payments. This statement provided a degree of narrative explantation for Apple's subsidiaries in Ireland. However, Ethical Consumer found no country-by-country financial information or reporting (CBCR), nor clear public tax statement confirming that it was this company’s policy not to engage in tax avoidance activity or to use tax havens for tax avoidance purposes.

Given that Apple had more than two high risk subsidiaries in jurisdictions on Ethical Consumer's tax haven list and no country-by-country financial information could be found, the company received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for likely use of tax avoidance strategies and lost a whole mark in this catgory.

Reference:

Generic Hoovers ref (2020)

The Silicon Six and their $100 billion global tax gap, is a report published in December 2019 by the Fair Tax Mark which examined the tax conduct of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google and Microsoft over the last decade.
It concludes that the corporation tax paid by the Silicon Six is much lower than is commonly understood. Over the period 2010 to 2019:
* the gap between the expected headline rates of tax and the cash taxes actually paid was $155.3bn
* the gap between the current tax provisions (the amount the companies were expected to pay) and the taxes actually paid was $100.2bn
The report suggests that the bulk of the shortfall almost certainly arose outside the United States. Profits continue to be shifted to tax havens, especially Bermuda, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Amazon has paid just $3.4bn in income taxes this decade, whilst Apple has paid $93.8bn and Microsoft has paid $46.9bn. This is a staggering variance, especially as Amazon’s revenue over this period exceeded that of Microsoft’s by almost $80bn.
Out of the six, Apple was sixth worst (Amazon was the worst).
It presents itself as “the world’s largest taxpayer” and it certainly makes the largest tax contribution of the Silicon Six, having paid $93.8bn in income taxes this decade (albeit on profits of $548.7bn and revenue of $1,888.0bn). However, cash tax paid as a percentage of profit over the decade is still a relatively low 17.1%.
The trend of low current tax provision in connection with foreign profits continues in 2019, with just $3.9bn booked on $44.3bn of foreign profit, giving a booked current tax rate of just 8.9%.
TaxWatch have estimated that Apple has avoided £2.6bn of taxes in the UK over the years 2012-2017 inclusive.

The Republic of Ireland (and more recently Jersey) is a key part of Apple’s tax avoidance strategies, especially for the sizeable European revenue that is booked directly in Ireland. The Paradise Papers revealed that the income flowing through Ireland was even stateless for a time, from a tax point of view.
Five of the nine ‘significant’ subsidiaries recognised in Apple’s 10-K filings are Irish incorporations. In a landmark case, in August 2016, the European Commission concluded that Ireland (to where Apple
directs the vast bulk of its foreign earnings) had granted the company undue tax benefits of up to €13bn. This sum, plus interest of €1.2bn, presently sits in an escrow account pending appeal resolution.
In the UK, Apple’s subsidiaries have recently been forced to pay additional tax following tax audits. In January 2018, it was reported that both Apple (UK) Ltd and Apple Europe Ltd (which is UK incorporated) would pay £81.3m and £137m respectively in additional taxes to HMRC in relation to years prior to 2015, and much more tax thereafter.
Previously, the Apple Europe Ltd subsidiary (which is incorporated in the UK) had a transfer pricing arrangement in place that resulted in the provision of zero current tax year after year. As with Google, this settlement was widely viewed as being modest, especially given the much more substantial back taxes secured by France subsequently, amounting to €500m.

Reference:

The Silicon Six and their $100 billion global tax gap (December 2019)

In December 2015 the BBC News website reported that Apple's Italian subsidiary had agreed to pay €318m (£235m; $348m) following an investigation into tax fraud allegations.

Italy's tax authorities said that the company had failed to pay €880m in tax between 2008 and 2013. During that period there was a huge gap between the company's revenues in Italy of over €1bn and the €30m that was paid in tax in the country.

The settlement followed an investigation by prosecutors in Milan and Apple had agreed to pay the amount requested by Italy's tax office.

It had previously denied attempting to escape paying tax owed on profits made around the world.

Apple Italia was part of the company's European operation which was headquartered in Ireland, a country with one of the lowest levels of corporation tax in the EU.

As a result Apple lost a whole mark under Anti-Social Finance.

Reference:

30 December 2015