Apple’s dividend move puts spotlight on foreign cash holdings, repatriation tax reform

“At Apple, overseas cash swelled to $64 billion at the end of its most recent fiscal quarter, up 82% from a year earlier. Over the same period, the company’s U.S. cash balance increased 37%, to $33.6 billion,” Maxwell Murphy reports for The Wall Street Journal. “When deciding on its capital allocation plans, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company focused only on domestic cash because of the taxes associated with repatriating funds from abroad.”
“Most companies pay an effective tax rate lower than that on U.S. profits, because of tax breaks and credits, and are generally unwilling to pay the full rate to bring home income earned overseas. Firms would welcome a tax holiday, but are pushing for permanent reform on the matter,” Murphy reports. “‘Repatriating the cash from offshore would result in significant tax consequences,’ Apple’s Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said on a Monday conference call with investors and analysts. ‘We think that the current tax laws provide a considerable economic disincentive to U.S. companies that might otherwise repatriate.’”

Murphy reports, “Before Monday, Apple hadn’t publicly aired its position on the matter, but it is known to be among technology companies who have lobbied for tax relief.”

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