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Google, Apple and Microsoft keep billions overseas

March 4, 2015, 3:39 PM UTC
Google Reports Quarterly Earnings
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - JANUARY 30: A sign is posted on the exterior of Google headquarters on January 30, 2014 in Mountain View, California. Google reported a 17 percent rise in fourth quarter earnings with profits of $3.38 billion, or $9.90 a share compared to $2.9 billion, or $8.62 per share one year ago. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Photograph by Justin Sullivan — Getty Images

Eight of the largest tech companies in the U.S. reportedly made $69 billion in offshore profits last year, according to Bloomberg.

Microsoft, Apple and Google, along with five other tech companies, enjoy a total of one-fifth of the $2.1 trillion total profit held by U.S. companies overseas, according to Bloomberg in an analysis of 304 company filings.

Additionally, the overseas profits of Microsoft, Apple and Google grew substantially in 2014—by over 20%, according to the analysis.

The report states that it’s easier for tech companies to keep money overseas than other industries, such as in finance or manufacturing, because profits come from intellectual property.

But there have been in rumblings in D.C. to apply a mandatory 14% tax on such profits, along with a 19% minimum tax on overseas earnings, according to Bloomberg. President Barack Obama’s plan, however, hasn’t passed Congress.

Joseph Kennedy, a senior fellow at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, told Bloomberg:

It just makes no sense to repatriate, pay a substantial tax on it. Computing and IT companies especially have a lot of flexibility in where they declare their profits.

The one-time tax could add an estimated $268 billion over six years.