BUSINESS
05/21/2013 11:28 am ET

Harvey Golub, Ex-American Express CEO, Says 'Corporations Should Pay No Taxes'

As Apple CEO Tim Cook sits before Congress to defend his company's tax strategy, one business tycoon is asserting a controversial stance on the issue.

"Corporate tax rates ought to be zero," ex-American Express CEO Harvey Golub said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. "Corporations should pay no taxes whatever."

Golub, the current chairman of financial advisory firm Miller Buckfire, said he is sure Apple's tax policies are legal and that setting the corporate tax rate to zero would lead to economic activity that would be "incredible."

Apple is accused by a Senate panel of avoiding paying billions of dollars in U.S. taxes. Despite holding roughly $102 billion of its $145 billion in cash overseas, the company said in a statement released Monday in advance of Cook's testimony that it still pays an "extraordinary amount" in taxes.

Corporations are required to pay the top 35 percent corporate tax rate on foreign profits. Yet, an exemption called the corporate offshore income deferral allows companies to wait until those profits are brought back into the United States from abroad to pay the government.

In the past three years in Ireland, Apple paid 2 percent in corporate income tax on $74 billion in income. Ireland is the home of an Apple office that recorded more than $30 billion in profit between 2009 to 2012, according to Business Insider.

Apple isn't alone when it comes to holding large cash reserves abroad. In total, American corporations held roughly 60 percent of their cash overseas in 2012, amounting to at least $588 billion, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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