According to two non-profit blogs, Citizens for Tax Justice and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, Fortune 500 companies hold a combined $2.1 trillion dollars in offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes on those funds. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, GE, and Pfizer would owe a combined total of $620 billion in taxes if they brought that money back to the United States.
And yet, if we look back, these are the kinds of companies that constantly lobby for fewer taxes and which are constantly courted by anti-tax politicians. Apple, the biggest culprit, holds $181.1 billion overseas and would owe $59.2 billion in taxes on that money.
At least 358 of the Fortune 500 companies–that’s 72%–have money stashed away in foreign tax havens. Between them, that money is held in 7,622 locations. Just 30 of those companies admitted that, if they repatriate their funds, they would owe $1.4 trillion in taxes. Of those companies, 57 would be expected to pay $184.4 billion.
The non-profits who performed the study would like to see Congress do something to hold these companies responsible for the taxes they owe, especially as private citizens can’t get away with that.
And maybe if the government actually made these companies pay taxes on the money they’re making, they might not have to worry so much about budget problems. Any business owner knows that increasing revenue is more valuable than decreasing costs. It might go some way toward shoring up Americans’ faith in Congress and big business, neither of which seem to be particularly well trusted.