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I was interested in an opinion or two, and perhaps an explantion, on the issue of the repatriation tax. I am not certain I fully understand it and its effects on shareholder value.

I believe MSFT was at one time mentioned in the discussion of this issue. But this goes beyond MSFT and many large companies in the S&P 500.

If I understand the issue -- and I am not an expert on tax science -- companies do not want to bring money generated overseas back to the U.S. to pay dividends because they have to pay a tax on top of the tax they paid locally on foreign shores. But, if MSFT, for sake of simplicity, earned $1 billion in profit overseas, when it is reported in the 10K, does that $1 billion get added in to the amount that stays on foreign shores, or is the after-tax number reported? In other words, does MSFT get an earnings benefit by not realizing repatriated profit?

My other question is, what do shareholders think of this? If MSFT makes $1 billion overseas, and it could bring back, say, $600 million to pay in dividends based on after-tax numbers, wouldn't shareholders want the company to pay the tax and get their money? I don't currently own MSFT, but I, like probably everyone here, owns an S&P mutual fund, and I would like all companies to maximize their dividend payments. I wanted to hear an explanation as to how MSFT's shares could be hurt by paying this kind of tax. Thank you for reading.
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