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Here's Tim Cook's idea for bringing back the billions of dollars US tech companies have stashed overseas

  • With most of its $256.8 billion cash overseas, Apple has taken some creative measures to keep its tax bill low.
  • Cook has some suggestions for the plan that he calls "draconian," including keeping a reasonable tax on international earnings, and banning any deductions
Tim Cook
Mark Neuling | CNBC
Tim Cook

Apple has billions of dollars in cash overseas — and CEO Tim Cook has a political proposal for how to bring it back.

Speaking to Bloomberg Businessweek, Cook said bringing that money back is "what's good for America." Cook suggested that a more reasonable percentage — 10 percent or 20 percent — repatriation should be required.

"The issue is not that there's a tax on international earnings. The issue is the existing tax has been crazy," Cook said. "No one would bring it back at a 40 percent—I mean, 35 percent federal and then state taxes. That's the problem. I think it's smart for the United States to have some kind of tax revenue for international earnings—if that tax were reasonable."

It's not the first time that Cook has suggested Apple has an unreasonable tax burden. With most of its $256.8 billion cash overseas, Apple has taken some creative measures to keep taxes low in places like Ireland.

But now, Apple could benefit from President Donald Trump's proposals for a repatriation tax on offshore earnings of 10 percent, compared with the current 35 percent. Apple's not alone — tech companies like Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle and Alphabet could be big winners under the plan, according to CNBC analysis of figures from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Still, Cook has some suggestions for the plan that he calls "draconian," including keeping a reasonable tax on international earnings, and banning any deductions.

For more on Cook's policy ideas, see the full article at Bloomberg.com

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