Who’s not paying?

Even NPR can’t get it right.

This morning I heard the NPR reporter say, “But when Apple pays no taxes, Congress can’t ignore it.”

Apple paid 7 billion in U.S. federal taxes last year. Yes, they are holding more than $70 billion in foreign earnings outside the U.S., and aren’t currently paying federal taxes on that. However…

General Electric is currently holding more the $100 billion in foreign earnings outside the U.S. The last year that G.E.’s taxes were reported to the public, 2010, they paid just under 1 billion in U.S. taxes. Which is a lot more than they paid in 2009, because in 2009 they exploited U.S. tax law to get the government to refund more money than they put in. (Apple paid about 5 billion in U.S. taxes that year that G.E. paid less than zero).

Exxon paid about 3 billion last year, and according to the Wall Street Journal is holding more of its foreign earnings off shore than Apple (though less than G.E.).

I haven’t been able to find all the numbers for Google, but Bloomberg reports that Googles holds most of its billions in foreign profits in an Irish subsidiary, just like Apple.

So who’s not paying?

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