Husic questions whether Apple misled parliament

Australian Labor MP Ed Husic has questioned whether Apple misled the parliament over its corporate structure, in light of evidence given to US Congress.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor on

Apple should consider revising the evidence it gave to the IT pricing inquiry, according to Labor MP Ed Husic, who has questioned whether the Cupertino giant misled parliament by not fully disclosing its global corporate structure.

After being summoned to the inquiry in March, Apple's vice president in Australia and New Zealand, Tony King, pushed the blame for the pricing disparity for IT and digital content between Australia and the United States from Apple to the content owners.

In response to a question on where Apple Australia sources its hardware, King said Apple sourced its hardware from overseas and that the prices were set in Cupertino, but the entire corporate structure was "very robust".

"We have very robust and deep accounting systems in place to ensure that all of the revenues associated with doing business in Australia are fairly reported and all of the cost of sale in terms of the hardware, transformation costs and shipping costs are fairly reported," he said.

"Certainly at a global level we are setting consistent product costs for internal use around the world. Those are a function of a number of different things but I am not privy to the underlying details within the product costs."

In Parliament on Tuesday night, Husic questioned whether, in light of evidence from the US Senate around Apple's corporate and tax structure that said price was determined by Apple in Singapore.

"I am concerned the committee inquiry has been misled, either deliberately or accidentally," he said.

"The corporate structure detailed in the US Senate report was never offered by Apple Australia and when pressed on its transfer pricing or price setting, I put it to the House that Apple deliberately avoided setting out the detail that became evident in the US Senate report," he said.

Husic said he called on Apple Australia to correct the record or provide further detail on the way it sets prices for products sold in Australia.

Apple has been contacted for comment.

The US Senate determined that Apple had implemented a complex web of subsidiaries based across a number of countries to minimise the taxes the company pays. It had been determined, for example, that Apple paid just two percent tax on profits of US$74 billion through its Ireland subsidiary.

ZDNet understands that the parliamentary committee investigating IT pricing disparity in Australia is likely to table its report in the next few weeks before parliament rises for the federal election.

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