Dancing in Apple Retail Stores? This Time in Protest
By Lisa Greim
There may be some dancing in the aisles next weekend at Apple retail stores around the country, but not because the consumer electronics powerhouse is launching a hot new product.
A group that seeks to draw attention to corporations that shelter profits overseas to cut their U.S. income tax burden is organizing protests for June 4 at Apple stores.
The group, US Uncut, says the so-called “Dance-Ins” at Apple stores are meant to grab the attention of 20-somethings who love Apple products but believe that all corporations should pay their fair share of taxes.
Apple and other tech companies, including Cisco, Adobe, Google, and Microsoft, support legislation that includes a proposed tax holiday.
The Freedom to Invest Act of 2011, H.R. 1834, would let corporations pay a 5.25 percent tax rate on money “repatriated” to the U.S. from foreign countries. The bipartisan bill, introduced May 11, proposes a temporary tax holiday for corporations who refuse to pay the 35 percent corporate tax rate.
Its proponents say that a similar measure passed in 2004 brought $312 billion in capital back to the United States through such companies as Oracle, Qualcomm, and Adobe. It generated more than $34 billion in tax revenue, according to a 2009 study.
But US Uncut, while noting that Apple does pay taxes, says it is disappointed in Apple’s support for what the activist group believes amounts to corporate tax amnesty.
Protests are in the works in Chicago, Boston and San Francisco, among other cities.
Activists are being asked to wear royal-blue shirts and white badges to impersonate Apple store employees, playing anti-Apple videos on in-store computers and chanting slogans like “Love the iPhone, hate the tax cheat” and “Tax cheating. There’s an app for that.”
US Uncut’s previous efforts to draw attention to tax dodging by American corporations has made headlines. It was involved in sending a fake press release to news organizations in April. The release purported to be from General Electric, and it said the company was returning a $3.2 billion tax refund to the U.S. government. GE, while acknowledging its U.S. tax bill for last year would be small, did not receive such a refund.