Over 500 US firms said to hold $2.1 trillion overseas to avoid taxation

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500 of the biggest companies in the US retain more than $2.1 trillion in accumulated profits offshore to avoid taxation according to a study.
Income for the US government could rise by an estimated $620 billion in taxes alone if the funds were recovered by the US, according to the study published by the ”Citizens for Tax Justice” and the “US Public Interest Research Group Education”.

According to the same study, nearly three-quarters of the firms on the Fortune 500 list of biggest American companies by gross revenue operate tax haven subsidiaries in countries such as Bermuda, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Cayman Islands.

‘At least 358 companies, nearly 72% of the Fortune 500, operate subsidiaries in tax haven jurisdictions as of the end of 2014. All told these 358 companies maintain at least 7,622 tax haven subsidiaries.’

– Citizens for Tax Justice / US Public Interest Research Group Education study.

The two non-profit organisations used the companies’ own financial filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission in order to reach these conclusions.

Apple is the leading firm retaining an estimated $181.1 billion offshore, a sum that could eventually contribute an estimated $59.2 billion in US taxes, in the case that it attempted to repatriate the money from its overseas tax havens. Second in the study’s list comes General Electric with $119 billion offshore in 18 tax havens, and Microsoft is third, holding $108.3 billion in tax haven subsidiaries.

The filings of 57 firms disclosed that they would otherwise expect to pay tax at a rate of 35%, instead of 6% that they paid overseas.

The study is published during a period of time amid lots of debate about tax evation globally, related to bank accounts located in so called tax havens.