U.S. companies push for tax break on foreign cash

“Some of the nation’s largest corporations have amassed vast profits outside the country and are pressing Congress and the Obama administration for a tax break to bring the money home,” David Kocieniewski reports for The New York Times. “Apple has $12 billion waiting offshore, Google has $17 billion and Microsoft, $29 billion.”

“Under the proposal, known as a repatriation holiday, the federal income tax owed on such profits returned to the United States would fall to 5.25 percent for one year, from 35 percent,” Kocieniewski reports. “In the short term, the measure could generate tens of billions in tax revenues as companies transfer money that would otherwise remain abroad, and it could help ease the huge budget deficit.”

“The Obama administration has been uncharacteristically harsh in its criticism of the idea. President Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner have said they will support it only if it is part of a corporate tax overhaul that results in no decline in federal revenues,” Kocieniewski reports. “US Uncut, a group that protests corporate tax avoidance, has criticized Apple for seeking tax breaks even as it racks up enormous growth and profits. The group has held dance-ins at Apple stores, demonstrated outside a company conference and released a video spoofing an iPod commercial, declaring ‘I love my iPod, but iHate the tax cheat.'”

Kocieniewski reports, “With the economy languishing, unemployment high and Congressional Republicans opposed to additional stimulus, the idea has gained some unlikely allies, including some Democrats, the organization Third Way and the onetime union leader Andy Stern. ‘Even if it costs the government $80 billion in the long haul, it would be worth it to try to put people to work now,’ said Mr. Stern, the former president of the S.E.I.U., who suggests dedicating the tax revenue to an infrastructure bank that would support public works projects. ‘Having it overseas doesn’t help. And we have to do something.'”

Much more in the full article here.


    1. It was listed alphabetically and numerically from what I see in the article. Interesting though how the Apple’s amount is quite smaller than Google’s or Microsoft and they’re not hiding not as much in that offshore cookie jar like the others.

  1. Obama. What a disappointing dud. He was the beneficiary of an insidious, debilitating double standard. Hopefully the U.S. public won’t be the mainstream media’s pawns again in 2012:

    1. I’m sorry but have you counted all the videos on YouTube that make George Bush look dumb. What kind of crap is this! This isn’t the Fox News app where you can bash on Obama all you want and get away with it. Go screw off you idiotic conservative!

      1. This shows how the celebrity-driven mass media attempts to control the narrative.

        Unfortunately for the U.S., it worked in 2008.

        Will you be told what to think and be led by the nose again in 2012?

        1. “Told what to think” was perfected by the Bush Administration, using nonexistent Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq as justification for an unnecessary war, and leading many “by the nose” down a rather disastrous path. Untold Billions, and much economic and social havoc later, you point to Obama as the problem. Dude, your inner Fox driven compass and perspective need some serious realignment.

          BTW, I believe it was on Obama’s watch Osama Bin Laden was killed. Something an Iraqi-distracted Bush never came close to doing. Just sayin’….

        2. “Will you be told what to think and be led by the nose again in 2012?”

          Sadly, the old adage remains relevant:
          ‘Allow a fool to vote and he’ll vote for a fool’
          There be lots o’ fools round here!

        3. I remember when Clinton was the flavor of the month. “Inevitable” I believe the media called her. If she’d have won, I suppose that would have been us being led by the nose as well?

          The world is not as simple as you’d like to pretend.

      2. You know, I’m tired of the Republicans acting like they have an answer for anything. Yes, I voted for Obama. No, I’m not thrilled with the past four years, but I wasn’t thrilled with the 8 before that either.
        Republican politicians always seem to say we need less government. Gov’t. should be downsized. If they hate government so much, why do they spend their lives earning a living from it? I don’t see Dick Cheyney’s Halliburton pals turning down their contracts or even just billing less for their shoddy work.

      “Hopefully the U.S. public won’t be the mainstream media’s pawns again in 2012”

      Yeah, but the US public were pawns of mainstream media in 2000 when Bush v2 was heralded as competent and honest, which he wasn’t. It’s all spin, propaganda, money thrown in the corner with the least resistance to the Corporate Oligarchy, or the corner that is least laughable.

      McCain/Palin was laughable. I don’t seem much better being available for 2012 at this point. It’s a shame we have a vast chasm of a Leadership Deficit here in the USA. Neither party offers much beyond the usual fights over:
      Feed the rich
      Feed the poor

      Both sides are criminally negligent in their representation of their ACTUAL bosses: The citizens. We The People are shot from both sides.

  2. The Uncut group needs to be circumcised. Apple pays foreign taxes already on foreign profits. There’s no requirement for any company to repatriate profits. Should Honda USA have to pay taxes in Japan for profits they make in their US operation?

    The fact is the US gov’t needs to overhaul the taxcode. Drop the corporate rate to 25%, eliminate loopholes, and then nooone would leave profits overseas. Yep, 20 to 25% is the rough amount the US gov’t collects, since many companies get tax breaks. Just drop it to 25% and eliminate the breaks. Sure a few tax lawyers and accountants would lose their jobs, since the code would be so much simpler, but who cries for them.

    1. That’s pretty much Obama and Geithner’s position–don’t do a one item sweetheart deal, do a real corporate tax reform where the corporate tax rate goes down in return for closing loopholes. You also saw this a few days ago with ethanol subsidies–some Republicans were arguing against getting rid of the subsidies as single item, but rather tossing the money in to corporate tax reform.

      You’ll see more and more of this–the revenue neutral way to lower the corporate tax rate is to reduce tax expenditures and use the money to lower the rate. But you’ll have companies/Republicans wanting to lower the rate AND hold onto subsidies and breaks, and you’ll have Democrats trying to convert subsidies and breaks into spending.

      Basically the key to corporate tax reform is to stop Democrats from converting tax expenditures to appropriations expenditures, and preventing Republicans from financing lower corporate rates with increased deficits rather than decreased tax expenditures.

  3. If people think this will create jobs, they are fooling themselves. Companies already have billions in cash in this country and it’s not doing a thing for Jobs.

    It’s not going to do anything to reduce the deficit either. The amounts they are talking about are a drop in the bucket toward the overall deficit.

    Im not opposed to them allowing this, but let’s stop the charade of saying this is going to create jobs and lower the deficit.

    1. Hit the nail square on the head with this one….. corporate management is raking in the money…… giving tax breaks based on “job creation” is flat out denial…..

      We are enabling our government and businesses the ability to make the American taxpayer the minority…. with no say in America.

      And telling people “If you disagree, vote differently” is BS – all of our politicians – Democrat or Republican, Conservative or Liberal – they are all there for themselves or their buddies running businesses.

  4. Palin was too dangerous to the Left to be allowed to operate as a politician. They saw Reagan II in a very attractive package.

    So, she was to be lampooned as “stupid” until it stuck and then lampooned some more until it became ingrained and then lampooned some more just for the fun of it.

    In the U.S. today, perception is reality. Actual reality is meaningless.

    And Bill Maher is a sad hollow vulture whose soul long ago rotted away.

    1. Palin is nothing like Reagan. Please don’t insult the memory of him. Reagan had a brain and was a smart guy. Palin is far from smart or for that matter has a brain. Reagan loved his country…….Palin just wants to make a buck off it.

      1. Perhaps you’re too young to remember or maybe you’re the “beneficiary” of a U.S. public education, but the Left and the mainstream media called Reagan a “stupid cowboy,” “an amiable dunce,” and much, much worse for many years. It wasn’t until after he was shot and his “Reganomics” began to bring about the greatest boom times the country has ever seen, that the Left’s campaign to brand him as “stupid” was muted.

        The Left’s modus operandi is to brand every Republican who’s a threat as “stupid” or a “hick” or both. They’ve been doing it for decades. It’s a testament to the stupidity of the general public that it continues to work.

        You don’t know anything about Sarah Palin, either.

        1. I believe you’re wrong about Reagan:
          The subject you’re referring to was air pollution, not acid rain. He maintained that much of the haze on the east coast was from the southern forests. Naturally, all the media know-it-alls made fun of him. Turns out he was right. Of course, that’s why they’re called the “Smoky Mountains”. Still waiting for their apology.

  5. … I thought that this was MAC daily news, not American Economy Daily News. Sure apple has something to do with it, but you can’t go posting every article that has a very thin tie to the Mac.

  6. @macromancer

    I agree with you. Companies have billions in cash. Companies have also made record profits while still laying people off and outsourcing. This will not create jobs. Companies aren’t in business to create jobs, they are in business to make a profit.

    If you were running a small business your goal wouldn’t be to create jobs either, your goal would be to do more with less and to eliminate jobs. Lets stop pretending that if Corporations only had more money and more breaks they would create jobs.

    As far as I can tell only new industries and/or new government spending creates jobs. I believe at times of high unemployment when companies have lots of money, it is time for corporate taxes to go up, and for the government to spend on infrastructure and other needed “social” things. Now would be the time.

    Higher taxes would actually encourage more corporate spending (so they can deduct the expense and avoid the tax). Once that happens, Corporations would start creating new industries, creating jobs, and the government could once again throttle back on taxes, finish the much needed infrastructure, and allow the private sector to thrive.

    As a business man, if I could keep my profits tax free, what would be my incentive to spend or invest?

    If the government started raising my taxes, I would start investing my money and create a new factory. Hell, why pay taxes, I may as well spend the money, lower my profit and get a factory out of the deal. Would you be any different?

    The idea that lowering Corporate taxes creates jobs is a farce.

    1. “If the government started raising my taxes, I would start investing my money and create a new factory. Hell, why pay taxes, I may as well spend the money, lower my profit and get a factory out of the deal.”

      Unfortunately those factories and jobs will be in China. There have to be incentives for that money to remain here.

  7. “The Obama administration has been uncharacteristically harsh in its criticism of the idea. President Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner have said they will support it only if it is part of a corporate tax overhaul that results in no decline in federal revenues,”

    No decline in federal revenues!… Ever notice that the government NEVER does with less?… The government talks about sacrifice, shared or otherwise, but when has the government sacrificed? Politicians like to play upon people in dire straits with options such as medicine or food, but paying any tax would ever enter THAT lexicon… ‘This unfortunate person has to decide… Whether to eat or pay taxes!”… Yeah right!

    Companies, keep your mone off seas!… In fact, find out where the Kennedy’s fortunes are, safe from greedy politicians, and park your wealth there also!

  8. Didn’t Steve say at that Cupertino City Council meeting when he introduced Apple’s plans to construct the spaceship campus, that Apple wouldn’t give free wifi, because they pay taxes and that is what the politicians (I imagine be they Federal, State, or Local) should do. Rightly or wrongly, the rules are what they are and Apple, albeit not alone, wants to change the rule and get out of paying the tax at the rate the law currently states!

    Could buy a lot of wifi I bet!

  9. The fact that there’s any financial advantage to keeping profits outside of the USA shows just how brain-dead our tax policy is.

    Gary Johnson is correct. We should abolish double taxation altogether. End the corporate income tax.


    1. Hear, hear! Common sense in this thread at last! Apple and these other companies would like to return these profits to the US but who the he’ll wants to pay US taxes again on money that has already been taxes overseas? I’d the money were repatriated it could be used by the market for business or home loans that would otherwise not be approved. More cash means more liquidity and that’s a very good thing.

  10. Of course not all of it will go to job creation. Some of it will go towards real job savings. Some will go towards capital investments and some of it will give current workers a raise or bonus to make up for the past three years of austerity.

    As long as the Obamakeeps the rates high, they get no tax revenue on that $1-2 trillion. It will sit there for years and might even encourage more job transfers overseas.

    I would rather tax it at 5.25% and bring that extra cash home. The more private money is in the economy the better we do. When the governments is throwing it’s weight around, every one takes their ball and goes home.

    That’s why when Obama tells companies they need to hire you only hear crickets – there is no one playing in the streets to listen.

  11. Don’t recall where I read it but in a hard news (as in based on facts) story recently they looked at the performance of companies that have beniffited from prior foreign tax holidays. The results where neither positive for the companies or society. Lower job creation and general decline in the profit and values of the companies that spent their energy focused on lower taxes.

  12. Excrement.
    Nobody pays the listed tax rate. Although the US has one of the higher listed tax rates for corporations, it has the SECOND LOWEST effective rate among OECD nations.

    Of course if all you know is the BS on Faux Newz, the Murdoch Street Journal & the Conservative NutBall Channel (CNBC) you would have never been told that undisputed fact.

    This is nothing more than another attempt by corporate America to avoid taxes. Thank the US Chamber of CONmerce for the effort.

    BTW- Countdown with Keith Olberman is back tonight and the podcast is in the most popular podcast listings on iTunes. Watch and learn.

  13. How about every job you created in the last 5 years, you can repatriate $1B in foreign earnings, taxfree.

    If that were the case, then apple would be homefree. I think they added about 30,000 jobs in the US in the last 5 years.

    1. Great idea Ken. Let them bring the money back as long as they spend it here. Taking corporations is just taxing ourselves. We pay for it one way or another. Maybe giving them a break will motivate them to bring more jobs back.

  14. “President Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner have said they will support it only if it is part of a corporate tax overhaul that results in no decline in federal revenues.”

    Or these companies could just keep their money overseas. No biggie for them. Now where’s that overhaul you’re talking about? Oh – you’re referring to just *talking about* an overhaul.

  15. I’ve 2 words for you: RON PAUL
    He wants to cut taxes and allow these companies to bring the money back home. Makes perfect sense (along with stopping all the wars and saving trillions in doing so).

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