Apple paid less than 2% tax on its overseas profits, documents revealed today, after the iPad and iPhone giant slashed the amount foreign taxmen receive.

Apple paid $713m in corporation tax outside the US in the year to September 29, despite its foreign pre-tax earnings surging more than 50% to $36.8bn papers filed with US regulators revealed.

The technology giant's overseas tax rate fell to 1.9%, compared to 2.5% the previous year and a headline corporation tax rate in the UK of 24% and 35% in the US.

The slide in its overseas tax rate came as the company sold 125 million iPhones, 58 million iPads and 13.5 million MacBook laptops worldwide, including the US.

Apple was not immediately available for comment.

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

Coffee giant Starbucks reportedly paid just #8.6 million in corporation tax in 14 years of trading in Britain - and nothing in the last three years.

And America's top five technology companies, including Facebook, Amazon and eBay, legally avoided around #850 million in corporation tax last year, a Sunday Times investigation found.

Companies are able to sidestep the taxman by constructing complex global structures that allow them to move money through offshore havens.

Apple channels much of its business in Britain and Europe through a subsidiary based on an industrial estate in Co Cork, The Sunday Times reported.

Apple recorded a 45% rise in turnover to $156bn in the year, helping deliver a 63% rise in pre-tax profits to $55.8bn.

It paid $13.3bn in federal and state taxes in the US.