After Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) announced that it would contribute $350 billion to the U.S. economy, there has been at least some attention to how it gets there. The reality is that this is a tax reform move, although the company did not mention tax reform in its press release. One of the big direct portions of the contribution is going to be around repatriation.
Apple indicated that it will pay $38 billion in repatriation taxes under the new tax law. Apple says that it is already the largest U.S. taxpayer, and it said that a payment of that size ($38 billion) likely would be the largest of its kind ever made.
24/7 Wall St. has tracked companies with the largest cash balances before, and many are in technology. If the 15.5% repatriation rate, down from 35% previously, were applied all-in on cash for Apple it would translate to a whopping $245 billion in cash. That being said, there is also a rate of 8% that is applied under the new tax code for illiquid assets and Apple may be including some of that rather than this being all cash.
Forbes once used a figure of an estimated $3.1 trillion in earnings stockpiled overseas going back to 1986. Not all of that is coming back and some of it may have already come back. Here is how you get to just over $1 trillion (rounded, using the most recent quarterly financial reports) back into the United States.
Obviously, not all that cash is held overseas. That being said, many companies, particularly technology companies, have been holding an overwhelming majority of that cash overseas. Many have even issued debt in the United States to fund buybacks, dividends and acquisitions here at home.
Here’s how you get to $1.01 trillion in cash, short-term and long-term investments with just 16 companies:
- Apple holds $269 billion in cash and investments.
- Microsoft holds $143 billion.
- Alphabet holds $107 billion.
- Cisco holds $76 billion.
- Oracle holds $71 billion.
- Coca-Cola holds $50 billion.
- Amgen holds $41 billion.
- Qualcomm holds $38 billion (spoken for in NXP merger, if Broadcom doesn’t win).
- Facebook holds $38 billion.
- Gilead Sciences holds $41 billion.
- Intel holds $27 billion.
- IBM holds $25 billion.
- Pfizer holds $24 billion.
- Merck holds $23 billion.
- Procter & Gamble holds $21 billion.
- Pepsico holds $20 billion.