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US companies bring $1 trillion home after changes in international tax law

Even so, the total remains well short of the $4 trillion President Donald Trump said would return as a result of the 2017 tax law

Reade Pickert | Bloomberg 

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Corporations have brought back more than $1 trillion of overseas profits to the US since Congress overhauled the tax system and prodded to repatriate offshore funds, a report showed Thursday.

Even so, the total remains well short of the $4 trillion President Donald Trump said would return as a result of the 2017 tax law.

The flow rose to $95.3 billion in the third quarter from a downwardly revised $70.4 billion in the previous three months, according to Commerce Department data, reaching a total of $1.04 trillion since the end of 2017.

Investment banks and think tanks have estimated that American corporations held $1.5 trillion to $2.5 trillion in offshore cash at the time the law was enacted. Before the overhaul, were incentivized to keep profits overseas because they owed a 35 per cent tax when bringing it back and could defer payment by keeping funds offshore. The law set a one-time 15.5 per cent tax rate on cash and 8 per cent on non-cash or illiquid assets.

The repatriation figures were included in the quarterly report on the current-account deficit, which narrowed by $1.1 billion to $124.1 billion in the July-to-September period. The gap is considered the broadest measure of trade because it includes income payments and government transfers.

First Published: Thu, December 19 2019. 20:25 IST
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