"Trapped Cash" in the Technology Sector: Accounting Disclosures of Permanently Reinvested Foreign Earnings & Foreign Cash Levels

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Engel, Russell P.; Lyons, Bridget M.
technology industries; Corporate Finance; International Business
article description
Permanently reinvested earnings in foreign subsidiaries and cash balances held outside the United States have increased dramatically in the technology sector over the past five years. These values, as well as related unrecognized deferred tax liabilities, are significant to investors, regulators and others. We examine disclosures of the largest technology firms over the 2007 to 2013 period and find that, as a group, the firms have increased the information provided but by fiscal 2013 only four of the ten firms disclosed both foreign held cash and an estimate of the unrecognized deferred tax liability related to permanently reinvested earnings.