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Apple pares its tax bill on profits made overseas to less than 2%

Apple paid less than 2 per cent tax on its overseas profits after slashing the amount foreign taxmen receive.

The iPad and iPhone giant paid $713 million (£445 million) in corporation tax outside the US in the year to September 29, despite its foreign pre-tax earnings surging more than 50% to $36.8 billion, papers filed with US regulators revealed.

The technology giant's overseas tax rate fell to 1.9%, compared with 2.5% the previous year and a headline corporation tax rate in the UK of 24% and 35% in the US. Apple channels much of its European business through Ireland, where the corporate tax rate is just 12.5%.

The firm is the latest to come under scrutiny for making a poor contribution to overseas coffers after Starbucks, Facebook and Google met similar criticism.