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 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)

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

In an article dated 13 November 2015, Computer Business Review reported that Apple was among a number of large corporates to be investigated by EU regulators over its allegedly paying insufficient taxes. This began after documents were exposed by a group of investigative journalists which contained evidence that the company had made secret fiscal deals with Luxembourg which enabled it to pay low taxes.

Reference:

EU parliament to grill US tech giants on Luxenbourg tax fraud (13 November 2015)