Last year Apple had profits of $34.2B dollars, yet paid only $3.3B in taxes. That's a rate of just 9.8%, which is 1/3 less than the average corporate tax paid by other Fortune 500 companies. By comparison, Walmart paid a rate of over 24% in corporate income tax.
And it's all perfectly legal. How'd they do it? By claiming that most of their profits were made by Apple entities located in foreign, low-tax places such as Ireland, the Netherlands, and various post office boxes in the Caribbean. US taxes are paid based on where "value is created". If you were making cars or appliances or almost any other tangible product, the place where the factory is located would be where "value is created" and that's where taxes would be paid. But with intangibles like patent royalties and intellectual property that can be pretty much anywhere they want it to be. That's why 70% of Apple's profits are made *wink* outside the US.
I don't blame Apple or any other company who takes advantage of this gaping tax loophole. I blame our congress who created it and does absolutely nothing to fix it. But with a TRILLION dollar deficit why wouldn't they at least try, you ask?
Simple....campaign contributions, aka legal bribes. "Big Bidness" likes our tax system juuuuuust the way it is, thank you very much....subsidies, loopholes and all. And they make lots of "contributions" to make sure it stays that way. (And BTW...they're "legal" bribes only because those receiving the bribes are the same ones who get to define "legal". Pretty sweet, huh?)