Politics

Study: Big U.S. Businesses Hold $2.1 Trillion Offshore To Avoid Taxes

| by Sean Kelly

Five hundred of the largest companies in America are reportedly holding more than $2.1 trillion in profits offshore to avoid paying taxes — with the amount they’d owe estimated to be $620 billion, according to a study released on Oct. 6.

According to the new study, three quarters of the firms on the Fortune 500 list operate tax haven subsidiaries in countries like Ireland, the Netherlands and Bermuda, Reuters reports. The study was conducted by two left-leaning non-profit groups: the Center for Tax Justice and U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.

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The study found that technology giant Apple was holding $181.1 billion offshore and would owe $59.2 billion in taxes if that money was brought back to the U.S.

General Electric also held a substantial amount offshore, with the study finding that the company had 18 tax havens holding a total of $119 billion. Microsoft has $108 billion offshore in five subsidiaries, and drug company Pfizer has $74 billion in 151 subsidiaries, according to the study.

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“At least 358 companies, nearly 72 percent of the Fortune 500, operate subsidiaries in tax haven jurisdictions as of the end of 2014,” the study said. “All told these 358 companies maintain at least 7,622 tax haven subsidiaries."

According to the filings for many of the companies listed, a number were paying roughly 6 percent in taxes overseas — compared to the 35 percent they’d pay in the U.S.

Sources: Reuters, Huffington Post / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons, Michele Ursino/Flickr