The companies have avoided U.S. taxes on almost every penny of their international profits by keeping the money offshore. And nearly that entire haul has been designated by top executives of those firms as â€śpermanentlyâ€ť or â€śindefinitelyâ€ť reinvested abroad, partly because of the 35 percent U.S. tax rate companies must pay to bring home foreign money.
That $455.6 billion, along with hundreds of billions more dollars in other earnings parked overseas, lies at the center of a tug of war between lobbyists, Congress and the White House over how to tax international profits.
U.S. multinationals have hired an army of lobbyists to sell the idea of a tax holiday to Congress, so they might repatriate a pot of overseas profits estimated at more than $1 trillion for as low as a 5.25 percent rate.
The companies â€” along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce â€” argue that repatriation would serve as an instant stimulus of sorts, allowing hundreds of billions of dollars to flow in to the economy.