Apple event 20111004 (iPhone 4S unveiling, Tim Cook closeup 001)

Yesterday, word got out that Tim Cook would be testifying at a senate hearing next week over Apple’s tax practices. The hearing was called after the iPad-maker took on billions in debt to fund its shareholder return plan, rather than paying taxes on its offshore cash.

The move reportedly saved the Cupertino company around $9 billion in various tax charges, bringing it to the forefront of an ongoing debate about the legality of offshore tax evasion. But in a recent interview, Tim Cook says that Apple isn’t doing anything wrong…

From Washington-based newspaper Politico:

“We don’t have a large presence in Washington, as you probably know, but we care deeply about public policy and believe creative policy can be a huge catalyst for a better society and a stronger economy,” Cook said in the interview.

He also defended his company’s conduct. “I can tell you unequivocally Apple does not funnel its domestic profits overseas. We don’t do that. We pay taxes on all the products we sell in the U.S., and we pay every dollar that we owe. And so I’d like to be really clear on that,” Cook said.”

Keep in mind that Apple isn’t the only big company that goes through great lengths to avoid paying US government taxes. Both HP and Microsoft were called before a similar Senate Permanent Subcommittee panel to talk about their offshore cash policies.

Apple’s hearing is set for Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at 9:30 a.m, and is in the Dirksen Senate Office Building if you happen to be in the area. It sounds like it’s going to be quite the show, with CEOs, industry experts and senior senators all expected to make the witness list.

Also worth noting is Tim Cook’s willingness to speak with Politico and other news outlets regarding this issue. Steve Jobs famously gave very few interviews. So either Cook is more open than his predecessor, which is likely, or all of this tax talk has Apple nervous.