In the wake of the Paradise Papers revelations that Apple was using the island of Jersey as a tax haven to avoid ponying up, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which has covered the scheme along with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, had one big question for Apple: Why?
To hopefully get answers (or at least vent a little) they published an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook laying it all out. In the letter, the editors reminded Cook that he recently told the New York Times that Apple had a “moral responsibility” not only to help grow the U.S. economy, but also “to contribute to the other countries that we do business in.” Their use of a tax haven makes it seem like they are ignoring that responsibility.
“We’re aware that Apple is one of the largest taxpayers in the U.S. But what about abroad?” Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote. “Why do you feel entitled to not pay any taxes in a country? Did you want to make zero-tax status a precondition for establishing tax residency there? What gives you the right to do so?”
The paper reminded Apple that it bills itself as a transparent company. “If this is true, then there really isn’t any reason to stay silent, is there?” Read the full letter here.
Apple defended its use of tax haven in a statement, claiming that it adjusted its corporate structure when Ireland changed its tax laws in 2015. “As part of these changes, Apple’s subsidiary which holds overseas cash became resident in the U.K. Crown dependency of Jersey, specifically to ensure that tax obligations and payments to the U.S. were not reduced,” the company said.