US multinational companies are holding over $2.1 trillion (£1.4 trillion) in accumulated profits in tax havens, two left-wing think tanks said today.
The report, by the Citizens for Tax Justice and US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, accuses the companies of ripping off the US Treasury and operating in a way that puts them at an unfair advantage over smaller firms.
The filings of 57 of the Fortune 500 for which the relevant data is available revealed they were paying an average six per cent tax rate, compared with the 35 per cent rate in the UK.
Assuming this average rate is the same for all 358 companies known to have offshore holdings, the report claims the companies would owe $620bn in additional federal taxes.
Apple was the worst offender, with $181.1bn held offshore, according to the research. The tech giant would owe $59.2bn in taxes if the profits were repatriated, they said.
PepsiCo holds $37.8bn abroad while pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer holds $74bn.
“Congress, by failing to take action to end to this tax avoidance, forces ordinary Americans to make up the difference,” the researchers said.
They called for the US to adopt the OECD’s recommended international tax framework and to stop companies from selling intellectual property to companies they own at inflated rates, another way to dodge taxes.