U.S.-based nonfinancial companies are parking record amounts of cash abroad, thanks largely to a tax code that encourages them to indefinitely keep profits from their foreign subsidiaries outside of the country.
Some of the largest companies in the U.S. greatly boosted their tax-avoiding cash stockpiles abroad last year, according to recent surveys of company filings from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
For example, the Jedi master of avoiding U.S. taxation, General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), increased its tax-free cash accumulation to $108 billion, up from an estimated $94 billion in 2010. Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq:MSFT) increased its stockpile to $61 billion, up 36 percent from 2011 and up from $30 billion in 2010. Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL) raised its ante to $40 billion, up 73 percent from 2011.
Sixty of the country’s largest nonfinancial corporations kept $166 billion in cash outside of the U.S. last year, shielding more than 40 percent of their profits from taxes, according to a report in Monday’s Wall Street Journal. And that’s from total overseas earnings of $1.3 trillion, up 15 percent from 2011.