As much as $767 billion is owed by American corporations on $2.6 trillion in untaxed profits stashed offshore.
A huge loophole allows multinational corporations to indefinitely defer taxes on earnings kept offshore. It’s a powerful incentive to keep profits overseas – and to use accounting maneuvers to shift domestic profits there, too.
In 2004, Congress created a repatriation tax holiday to encourage bringing that money home. The result: corporations cut tens of thousands of jobs, and 90¢ of every dollar in profits brought home went into stock buybacks and dividend payouts.
Let’s hope they don’t make the same mistake again.