Study: Apple tops list of biggest tax-avoiders using tax shelters abroad

According to a new study authored by researchers from Citizens for Tax Justice, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy and the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, 73% of U.S. Fortune 500 firms — more than 300 corporate giants — have money stashed in tax shelters abroad, including the Netherlands and Bermuda. Five of the top 10 biggest tax-avoiders — ranked by dollar amount held offshore — are big tech companies, with Apple ranked as No. 1 and Microsoft at No. 3.

Using corporate tax loopholes isn’t illegal, and, as this Money article notes, plenty of companies take part. According to the report, by stashing more than $200 billion overseas, Apple has avoided more than $65 billion in U.S. taxes — legally. Here's the full top 10 list, ranked by amount of money held offshore:

  • Apple: $214.9 billion
  • Pfizer: $193.6 billion
  • Microsoft: $124 billion
  • General Electric: $104 billion
  • IBM: $68.1 billion
  • Merck: $59.2 billion
  • Google: $58.3 billion
  • Cisco Systems: $58 billion
  • Johnson & Johnson: $58 billion
  • Exxon Mobil: $51 billion