Apple CEO Tim Cook on tax reform

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Apple CEO Tim Cook delivers brief remarks as U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and White House Director of the Office of American Innovation and the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner listen during a meeting of the American Technology Council in the State Dining Room of the White House June 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook delivers brief remarks as U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and White House Director of the Office of American Innovation and the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner listen during a meeting of the American Technology Council in the State Dining Room of the White House June 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Tax reform is sorely needed and should have been done years ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook told NBC News‘ Lester Holt.

Apple has a deep understanding of the effects of taxes on business, Cook said, telling NBC that companies don’t bring cash back to the U.S. because of taxes.

“[T]his isn’t good for the U.S. There’s no tax receipts there,” Cook said. “And it’s not good for investment in the U.S. And so this needs to be fixed. In my view, it should have been fixed years ago. But let’s get it done now.”

House Republicans are putting the “finishing touches” on a tax reform bill, as President Donald Trump pushes for “massive tax cuts.”

CFRA analyst Scott Kessler estimates that Apple is one of the companies in the technology sector that could benefit most from one specific tax reform: A lower tax rate on repatriated foreign profits (Cisco, Microsoft and Oracle could also see a boost, Kessler wrote in an Oct. 13 research note).

Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said in an August conference call that Apple ended last quarter with $261.5 billion in cash plus marketable securities, and $246 billion of that cash, 94 percent of the total, was outside the U.S.

Cook has never been shy to share his views on taxes. In late 2015, he appeared on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” when he told Charlie Rose that the idea that Apple has been avoiding taxes on overseas profits is “political crap.”

“This is a tax code, Charlie, that was made for the industrial age, not the digital age,” Cook said in a clip from CBS News. “It’s backwards. It’s awful for America. It should have been fixed many years ago — it’s past time to get it done.”

Apple is scheduled to report quarterly earnings on Thursday after the bell, when the company traditionally shares expectations for tax rates in the coming quarter. When asked if Cook anticipates Apple reaching a valuation of over a trillion dollars, Cook told NBC that Apple is focused on the customer experience.

Read more on Tim Cook’s interview with NBC News at NBCNews.com

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