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Apple’s Bond deal is the most glorious tax avoidance ruse

CERTAIN people are getting rather angry about yesterday’s bond deal by Apple:

As is par for the course, the financial media is telling a story about a major US company from the perspective of the investing classes, rather than the broader public.

The poster child is the New York Times’ Dealbook, in a story titled “To Satisfy Its Investors, Cash-Rich Apple Borrows Money.” It third paragraph reads:

Apple’s return to the debt markets raises a riddle: Why would a company with so much cash even bother to issue debt?

A full seven paragraphs later, the article gets around to the last, and arguably the most important reason:

By raising cheap debt for the shareholder payout, Apple also avoids a potentially big tax hit. About two-thirds of Apple’s cash — about $102 billion — sits overseas in lower-tax jurisdictions. If it returned some of that cash to the United States to reward its investors, it could have significant tax consequences for the company. In some ways, the bond issue is a response to that tax situation.

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Posted: 1st, May 2013 | In: Money | Comment (1)