Even though it did not meet President Donald Trump's expectations, American corporations returned a large amount of off shore profit into the U.S. in 2018.
According to the data released by the U.S. Commerce Department, it is estimated that companies brought back $85.9 billion in the Q4 2018 and a total of $664.9 billion for full year 2018. These numbers fell woefully short of the the Trump Administration's estimated $4 trillion of repatriations.
To encourage corporations bring back cash to U.S., who otherwise park the cash overseas owing to the high tax rate of 35% in U.S., the government in late 2017 had revised the tax rate to one-time tax rate 15.5% on cash and 8% on other assets – a sizeable reduction from the initial 35%.
Tech giants like Apple kept huge stashes of cash abroad, but said last year after the rate-cut that it is planning to bring back nearly all of its $250 billion offshore cash back into the country. While the tax break was meant to raise money for the US government and to give corporations more cash to invest, the revenue raised was far lower than expected and much of the cash went to stock buybacks, which hit a record $1.1 trillion last year.
By some estimates, American companies held between $1 trillion and $2.5 trillion in cash offshore, before the tax cuts.