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Apple’s Right, Corporate Income Tax Should Be Debated: Pulitzer Prize-Winnng Tax Expert

Daily Ticker

By Justin C. Maiman

Apple (AAPL) put a fork in the traditional music industry. Then introduced the iPad, kicking off the demise of the PC market. So, could the corporate income tax system be next?

CEO Tim Cook hopes so. He went to Washington Tuesday to defend his company’s use of tax-haven subsidiaries in places like Ireland. Cook also reiterated that Apple has no plans to bring back over $100 billion in profits stashed overseas, far outside the jurisdiction of the IRS.

Related: Apple’s Tax Dodging: Bigger Scandal Is Congress Knew About It Says David Cay Johnston

"We pay all the taxes we owe — every single dollar," Cook said before a Senate investigations committee. "We don't depend on tax gimmicks."

Gimmicks? Maybe not. Loopholes? Yes.

Perhaps Cook’s star-turn in DC will bring corporate income tax reform back into the spotlight. He suggested that the IRS should modernize the tax code. And it wasn’t so long ago that both candidates for President endorsed some type of change in the corporate tax system. Many economists and tax experts, and of course CEOs, have pushed for more drastic change – like eliminating the corporate income tax altogether.

Related: Here’s Who Pays the Bill for Apple’s Tax Avoidance

“I think it would make the system much simpler,” argues Pulitzer Prize-winning tax expert David Cay Johnston, who says it's about time for a debate over tax reform. He spoke to The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task and Henry Blodget as Cook went head-to-head with Congress.

Johnston says killing the corporate income tax outright would immediately spur growth, investment and hiring. Plus, eliminating the tax would reduce the number of tax loopholes and make a lot of the corporate lobbying in DC moot.

One proponent of far-reaching tax reform is Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. The anti-tax hawk – and tea party favorite – told the Senate subcommittee to apologize to Cook and Apple executives.

Related: America Is #1...In Corporate Taxes

"If anyone should be on trial here it should be Congress ... for creating a bizarre and byzantine tax code," said Paul. "If you want to assign blame, this committee needs to look in the mirror and see who created that mess."

That “mess” is still the tax law of the land. If Cook’s reform efforts gain steam, maybe they could call it the iTax.

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