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The Daily

How Accounting Standards Help in Sheltering Foreign Profits

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Apr 26, 2016
Globe on moneyThe Wall Street Journal pointed to current accounting standards on tax liabilities as a major factor in the billions of dollars held offshore to avoid U.S. taxes. Public companies under U.S. GAAP do not have to deduct taxes on foreign earnings if those earnings are considered to be "indefinitely invested." This has allowed multinational corporations to save billions that would have otherwise gone to the IRS. However, The Journal argues that the bar for what actually counts as "indefinitely invested" is so low that it can be thought of as more of a loophole. This is because companies don't necessarily need to make these investments, only plan to make them. Many companies are aware of this, as a Journal article from 2013 noted that corporations has a total of $1.9 trillion indefinitely invested overseas.