US companies have about $3.5 trillion accumulated profits abroad today, the analysts noted, and they expect up to 90% of companies they surveyed to repatriate “at least part of” that money.
The analysts believe the GOP’s new tax policies, which took effect in the beginning of the first quarter, could still help by removing a “large penalty” for repatriation.
Under the tax legislation, multinationals have to make a one-off payment on profits socked away overseas — 15.5% on cash holdings and 8% on illiquid investments. And after that, they can bring foreign profits home tax-free. The former tax policy levied a top rate of 35% on repatriation.
Apple announced in January that it would bring about $252 billion of its offshore cash back to the US, but other multinationals have been slow to follow. And the dollar, which in theory should get a boost from repatriation, has shown it.