Apple avoids corporate tax -

The BBC has outed Apple as a significant tax cheat after the company announced that it paid less than two percent corporation tax on its profits outside the US.

Apple only paid £445m in the year to 29 September on foreign pre-tax profits of $36.8bn, a rate of 1.9 percent.

The BBC points out that paying low corporation tax seems to be a game among the top US companies with Starbucks, Facebook and Google coming up with new methods of avoiding paying EU corporation taxes.

What is more alarming is that none of the their tax avoidance schemes are illegal and the companies involved still pay pots of cash to the UK taxman. Things like National Insurance and VAT, but money still ends up with the taxman.

But Apple's figures for foreign tax appear to be rather low, considering that it paid a rate of 2.5 percent the previous year.

Apple funnels most of its European business through a subsidiary in the Republic of Ireland, which has lower corporation tax than the 24 percent in Britain.

But Ireland charges 12.5 percent, so it is not clear how Apple is managing to save such a huge amount of cash.