Date
22 July 2017
Apple is sitting on a pile of US$181.1 billion in offshore tax havens, the study found. Photo: Reuters
Apple is sitting on a pile of US$181.1 billion in offshore tax havens, the study found. Photo: Reuters

Big US firms hold US$2.1 tln abroad to avoid taxes: Study

The 500 largest US firms hold more than US$2.1 trillion in accumulated profits offshore to avoid US taxes, Reuters reported, citing a study released Tuesday.

Those firms would collectively owe an estimated US$620 billion in US taxes if they repatriated the funds, the study, by two left-leaning non-profit groups, found.

It said nearly three-quarters of the firms on the Fortune 500 list of biggest US companies by gross revenue operate tax haven subsidiaries in countries like Bermuda, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Citizens for Tax Justice and the US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund used the firms’ own financial filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to reach their conclusions.

Apple Inc. was holding US$181.1 billion offshore, more than any other US company, and would owe an estimated US$59.2 billion in US taxes if it tried to bring the money back to the United States from its three overseas tax havens, the study said.

The conglomerate General Electric has booked US$119 billion offshore in 18 tax havens, software firm Microsoft is holding US$108.3 billion in five tax haven subsidiaries, and drug company Pfizer is holding US$74 billion in 151 subsidiaries, the study said.

“Congress can and should take strong action to prevent corporations from using offshore tax havens, which in turn would restore basic fairness to the tax system, reduce the deficit and improve the functioning of markets,” the study concluded.

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RC/FL

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