Google (Nasdaq:GOOG) is being hunted down by european tax collectors controlled by austerity starved politicians. Google and other American companies are seen as fat cows. Minimal local political consequences to extracting a few pounds of flesh.
Google rolls up the revenues to Google Ireland and then shunts the cash off to an affiliate in Bermuda. Pretty clever except UK, France and Germany feel they are not getting their fair share.
Come back to USA. Huge amounts of corporate cash are parked off shore. Corporations do not want to pay US income taxes on funds earned elsewhere. Not a bad argument if local taxes had been paid. But if the funds are in Bermuda and Ireland no one has paid something substantial.
So far the argument has been a classic push. Competing governments have not been able to break the logjam. Several corporations have huge off shore cash reserves with no immediate plans to deploy.
US politicians are under increasing pressure to resolve the issue. The uninformed electorate sees big buck off shore held by uber-large entities and joins the local Occupy Wall Street movement. End of electorates analysis. One person one vote does not equal sound financial/economic thought.
Corporations to be frank are motivated by stupid tax rules. Most of the key executives are domiciled in the US and would probably prefer to see capital returned to US and then move globally without restrictions.
Congress will most likely mandate local state taxes be paid on internet transactions. Politicians also would love to be able to say they forced the repatriation of billions from overseas back to US. This will appease the Occupy crowds.
Watch for tax treaties between the US and major European governments (EU as well) which will disadvantage off shore cash.
Investors after the initial sticker shock of increased tax rates will see cash coming into play more easily. Demands for effective economic deployment will grow. Investors did not buy to hold cash they can do that on their own.
George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective.