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Apple paid only 1.9% tax

Tech giant Apple only paid 1.9 per cent of tax outside of the US in the past year, it has been discovered.

The famous US company paid about £445 million in coporation tax outside the US despite its foreign pre-tax earnings soaring to £23 billion in the year to September, according to papers filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US.

According to reports, the company shifted money off through low tax countries and tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands to avoid the regulations. It has been estimated that Apple's UK tax bill which came in at £14.4 million should have looked more like £570 million.

This meant the overseas tax rate for the company was 1.9 per cent - a further drop off from the minimal 2.5 per cent paid in the previous year. The drop came the same year as Apple sold 125 million iPhones, 58 million iPads and 13.5 million MacBooks.

It is the latest big name to come under scrutiny for its overseas tax affairs after Starbucks, Facebook and eBay faced similar criticism. Between them, it is estimated the US's top five tech companies have cumulatively avoided £850 million in tax.

Today, a Commons committee in the UK was deciding whether to throw its weight behind an investigation into tax policies for these companies. This would mark a true escalation of the campaign against tax evasion which would see top executives grilled by MPs within days.

The trio of Starbucks, Amazon and Google have already been asked to give evidence next Monday in front of a Public Accounts Committee.

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