Goldman suggests Obama may reduce tax on repatriation of corporate cash stockpiles

Goldman Sachs have suggested that Obama's new tax scheme could signal support for the low-tax repatriation of foreign profits.

The bank's comment team has listed 50 S&P500 companies with as much as $1.8 trillion (£1.2 trillion) invested overseas in 2012.

Here's the list of the companies with the most assets overseas, by Goldman's reckoning:

  • General Electric $108bn
  • Pfizer $73bn
  • Microsoft $61bn
  • Merck & Co $53bn
  • Johnson & Johnson $49bn
  • IBM $44bn
  • Exxon Mobil $43bn
  • Citigroup $43bn
  • Cisco Systems $41bn
  • Apple $41bn

These changes could be huge for the US. This year we saw Apple launch a record non-financial corporate bond issue, despite having huge cash piles offshore.

That's because it would be cheaper to pay interest on bonds than to repatriate that cash. A low-tax repatriation scheme could fix the mess and see firms using their cash stockpiles more effectively.