So what can we take away from Apple chief Tim Cook's testimony on Capitol Hill yesterday about the company's byzantine tax strategy? Not that Apple did anything illegal, only that it's savvy enough to employ "smart accountants and tax lawyers," says the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. Given that it pays an outrageous combined tax rate of 39.1% on profits, it would be silly not to do everything in its power to reduce that bill. If senators were looking to cast Apple as a villain, they instead exposed "the folly of America's tax code." If lawmakers truly want to help, they can start by knocking that rate down to at least the mid-20s, and ideally much lower.
"The Apple case illustrates, seemingly for the millionth time, the need for corporate tax reform," adds the editorial board at the Washington Post. Generally speaking, we need to close all those loopholes in exchange for lower rates, a concept that Apple has said it would embrace even if it means a higher bill than it pays now. That's a good start, writes Edward Hadas at Reuters, but he notes that Apple's strategy wouldn't work if Ireland didn't play along. We also need "an international deal on corporate taxes," he argues. It's time to "tax profit where it is actually, not legally, earned."