TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, March 2, 2012

U.S. Companies Add $187 Billion to $1.2 Trillion Offshore Profits Stockpile

Bloomberg, Cash Hoard Grows by $187 Billion in Untaxed Overseas Profits, by Richard Rubin:

U.S. companies led by General Electric and stockpiled an additional $187 billion in untaxed overseas profits over the past year, boosting their offshore holdings by 18.4%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The 70 U.S.-based companies studied hold $1.2 trillion in profits around the world. GE and Pfizer have built up the most money outside the U.S., with $102 billion and $63 billion respectively, according to securities filings. Apple, Google and Microsoft were among the companies that increased their accumulated overseas profits by more than 40% in 2011.

As U.S.-based companies expand globally, they keep profits overseas, legally out of the reach of the IRS. Lawmakers from both political parties point to the stockpiling as a symptom of a failed corporate tax system, even while they remain deadlocked over whether the U.S. should impose higher or lower taxes on its companies’ global profits.

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