Tim Cook Calls Perception That Apple Skirts US Taxes ‘Total Political Crap’

tim cook banner
Tim Cook might seem like a soft spoken, mild mannered man from Alabama — well at least compared to former Apple CEO Steve Jobs — but there are some topics that get one of America’s most high-profile execs really worked up. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s one of two things that none of us can avoid: taxes (with the other being death).

Cook sat down with 60 Minutes’ Charlie Rose for a segment that will air this Sunday, and the topic of discussion managed to crossover to taxes, and a visibly frustrated Cook did his best to explain Apple’s position on the billions of dollars that it holds overseas and has no intention of repatriating.

Cook repeated the same refrain that we’ve heard from a number of American tech companies that have also found themselves under the microscope of the U.S. government. "It would cost me 40 percent to bring it home, and I don't think that's a reasonable thing to do," said Cook. "This is a tax code, Charlie, that was made for the industrial age, not the digital age.

“It's backward. It's awful for America. It should have been fixed many years ago. It's past time to get it done."

When Rose countered that Congress determined “Apple is engaged in a sophisticated scheme to pay little or no corporate taxes on $74 billion in revenue held overseas,” Cook fired back with gusto.

"That is total political crap. There is no truth behind it. Apple pays every tax dollar we owe."

During Apple’s fiscal Q4, an astounding 62 percent of its quarterly revenue came from its overseas operations. So it’s understandable that the U.S. government would love to get its mittens on that cash. But according to Cook’s testimony before Congress in 2013, the only way that Uncle Sam is going to see that money is if it is taxed in the single-digit percentage range.