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US tech giants stop reporting overseas cash holdings

Some of California's biggest tech giants have stopped reporting their overseas cash, Bloomberg reports. Correspondent Brandon Kochkodin said that companies including Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Oracle and Netflix have stopped disclosing data on their cash holdings outside the US. He explained: “The reason is it's not required anymore, so they're not doing anything wrong but the ramifications are that it does make it harder to see whether companies are actually repatriating their cash.” The number of companies choosing not to disclose overseas cash data is also a reflection of a lack of clarity on requirements from America's tax authority, the IRS, Kochkodin added.

One of the changes introduced by the Trump administration's tax reforms last year was that US companies could repatriate cash to the US for a one-off tax of 15.5 per cent, a reduction from 35 per cent on overseas cash repatriations. With some of America's biggest companies now dropping their overseas cash disclosures from their latest quarterly reports, this makes it far less clear whether last year's tax reform on cash repatriation is achieving its desired effect to stimulate domestic investment.

Bloomberg states that Apple stopped reporting its foreign cash holdings in September 2017, while Microsoft stopped in December and Google, Netflix and Oracle stopped their foreign cash disclosures in 2018. However, these tech giants are not leading a trend – the majority of companies continue to report on their overseas cash positions, including Facebook, Qualcomm and Cisco Systems.

CTMfile take: It will be interesting to see if other companies follow suit or whether further regulation could come out of the US to try to enforce disclosures on overseas cash holdings.

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