Tim CookSource: Apple

What you need to know

  • New research says tech's big four, including Apple, only pay about 60% of the average tax burden of companies worldwide.
  • Nikkei Asia analyzed 57,000 companies to compare.
  • The average ratios given for the four was 15.4%, 9.7% less than the global average.

New research from Nikkei Asia claims that Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook only pay around 60% of the average tax burden of more than 50,000 companies worldwide.

According to the report:

The average tax burden ratio for top American IT companies, collectively known as the "Big Four"-- Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon -- is about 15%, or around 60% of the average among more than 50,000 large companies worldwide, a recent Nikkei analysis finds.

The existing corporate income tax system is ill adapted to a digitized economy, as it cannot fully account for intangible assets. Competitive tax cutting among nations has come to a head, due in part to the fiscal expansion undertaken to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. Policymakers around the world now see an increasing need for global tax rules.

Nikkei sampled 57,000 companies, calculating their tax burden ratios between 2018 and 2020. According to its findings the "big four" gave average tax burden ratios of 15.4%, 9.7% less than the global average of the companies surveyed, 25.1%.

In response to the survey Apple stated "As the largest taxpayer in the world, Apple pays every dollar it owes in every country around the world." Apple CEO Tim Cook is a vocal proponent of global tax reform. In January 2020 he stated "I think logically everybody knows it needs to be rehauled, I would certainly be the last person to say that the current system or the past system was the perfect system. I'm hopeful and optimistic that they (the OECD) will find something."