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Senators: You - Cook. Apple guy. Get in here and bring your tax books

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Apple head honcho Tim Cook looks set to be hauled in front of a Senate committee to explain why his firm dodges taxes by keeping its cash overseas.

Cook is expected to appear in front of the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to explain why Apple has failed to repatriate up to $100bn in cash stashed in foreign countries.

It was so keen to avoid paying tax on this cash that it recently sold $17bn in bonds to help finance a $100 billion stock buyback and dividend scheme, rather than bringing the cash home to America.

Had Cupertino returned its money to the US, it would have been hit with a punitive 35 per cent tax rate, meaning it was cheaper in the long run to issue bonds and pay interest at market rates.

The investigations committee has also grilled other companies that use slick methods to keep their tax bills down, including Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard.

In total, Apple has built up a cash surplus of around $145billion.

An Apple spokesman insisted the firm paid all its taxes. “We’ve been working with the subcommittee to answer their questions about Apple, and we welcome any further questions they might have,” Apple said in a statement. “Apple is one of the largest taxpayers in the United States, having paid $6 billion in federal corporate income tax in fiscal 2012.”

Cook's potential appearance in front of the Senate comes as Google's head of European sales, Matt Brittin, explains to the UK Parliament's Public Accounts Committee why the ad giant's tax bills are so low. ®

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