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Apple CEO Tim Cook tells NBC News that the US should reform the tax code now

  • Tax reform is sorely needed and should have been fixed years ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook told NBC News' Lester Holt.
  • Apple is scheduled to report quarterly earnings on Thursday after the bell, when the company traditionally shares expectations for tax rates in the coming quarter.

Tax reform is sorely needed and should have been done years ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook told NBC News' Lester Holt.

Apple has a deep understanding of the effects of taxes on business, Cook said, telling NBC that companies don't bring cash back to the U.S. because of taxes.

"[T]his isn't good for the U.S. There's no tax receipts there," Cook said. "And it's not good for investment in the U.S. And so this needs to be fixed. In my view, it should have been fixed years ago. But let's get it done now."

House Republicans are putting the "finishing touches" on a tax reform bill, as President Donald Trump pushes for "massive tax cuts."

CFRA analyst Scott Kessler estimates that Apple is one of the companies in the technology sector that could benefit most from one specific tax reform: A lower tax rate on repatriated foreign profits (Cisco, Microsoft and Oracle could also see a boost, Kessler wrote in an Oct. 13 research note).

Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said in an August conference call that Apple ended last quarter with $261.5 billion in cash plus marketable securities, and $246 billion of that cash, 94 percent of the total, was outside the U.S.

Cook has never been shy to share his views on taxes. In late 2015, he appeared on CBS' "60 Minutes," when he told Charlie Rose that the idea that Apple has been avoiding taxes on overseas profits is "political crap."

"If you sell globally, you earn money globally. If you earn money globally you can't bring it back into the United States unless you pay 35% plus your state tax," Cook told CNBC in May. "And you look at this and you go, 'this is kind of bizarre.' You want people to use this money in the United States to invest more."

Apple is scheduled to report quarterly earnings on Thursday after the bell, when the company traditionally shares expectations for tax rates in the coming quarter. When asked if Cook anticipates Apple reaching a valuation of over a trillion dollars, Cook told NBC that Apple is focused on the customer experience.

Read more on Tim Cook's interview with NBC News at NBCNews.com

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