Apple argued building was worth $200 not $1B to lower tax bill

Apple argued building was worth $200 not $1B to lower tax bill
© Getty Images

Apple argued that buildings it owned around Cupertino, Calif., where it is headquartered, were only worth $200 instead of the $1 billion tax assessors deemed in 2015, according to appeals reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The report characterized the dispute as part of an aggressive strategy by Apple to lower its tax bills. According to the Chronicle, Apple has 489 open appeals in tax disputes over property assessed at $8.5 billion in Santa Clara County, Calif., dating back to 2004.

Those appeals include the $1 billion building assessed by tax officials, as well as another $384 million property that Apple also claims is worth $200.

Apple is now valued at $1 trillion. It is also the county’s biggest taxpayer, paying $56 million in the 2017–2018 tax year.

Apple’s aggressive strategy to lower its property tax bill parallels its broader approach to taxes.

The European Union ruled in 2017 that Apple must pay back more than $14 billion in back taxes to Ireland after ruling that the company benefitted from unfair tax arrangements.

Apple was a vocal supporter of the Republican tax cuts passed late last year that significantly lowered corporate tax rates. The company stood to gain the most from lowered repatriation rates that allow it to bring assets stashed overseas back to the U.S. at a lower than normal tax rate.

The tech giant’s move to keep record sums overseas was also a part of its effort to reduce its corporate tax rate.

Since the tax cuts, Apple has jacked up the compensation of CEO Tim Cook along with the company’s other top executives and bought back massive amounts of its own stock.