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Apple paid just 2% corporation tax outside US

Apple paid less than two per cent corporation tax on its profits outside the US, a filling with US regulators has revealed.

The company paid $713 million (£445 million) in the year to 29 September on foreign pre-tax profits of $36.8 billion (£23 billion). This works out to be a rate of 1.9 per cent - a huge disparity from the headline corporation tax rate of 35 per cent in the US and 24 per cent in the UK.

The figures were revealed in Apple's 10K filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which shows that this form of tax avoidance is not illegal.

Apple is the latest company to ignite the debate about the bewilderingly small amounts of tax that US multinationals pay in the UK. Earlier this month both Facebook and Ebay came under fire for dodging taxes, with the former paying only 11 per cent tax and the latter accused of evading £50m in UK taxes.

According to The Guardian, Google, Amazon, Starbucks and Facebook have paid just £30m in tax over the past four years despite generating more than £3.1bn in sales.

Many multinational companies manage to pay substantially below the official corporation tax rates by using tax havens such as Caribbean islands. Apple currently channels much of its business in Europe through a subsidiary in the Republic of Ireland, which at 12.5 per cent, has lower corporation tax than Britain.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he is "not happy with the current situation" of US multinationals avoiding nearly £900m of tax.