What a problem to have!
Apple, the world's biggest company, says it just has too much money!
But now it has a plan.
Apple is sitting on nearly $98 billion dollars in cash and securities.
Now it will start paying some of it out to shareholders in the form of a dividend and share buyback program - something the company hasn't done since 1995 because Steve Jobs resisted such calls.
The quarterly dividend will be $2.65 per share starting in July.
That works out to just over ten bucks annually, or just under two percent of the current stock price.
Apple said the $10 billion dollar share buyback program will begin at the end of September, and run for three years.
Investors had been expecting the move driving up Apple shares 37 percent since January.
Today, shares are hitting an all time record of $601 dollars.
Current CEO Tim Cook says when Apple began analyzing how much it could give out to shareholders, it looked at how much cash it has in the U.S.
They are just using "domestic cash" when it comes to these dividends.
Like many other big companies, which I’ll outline in a moment, Apple has much of its cash overseas.
But Apple is reluctant to bring back that $64 billion dollars because of this number: 39 percent.
That's the U.S. corporate tax rate; the highest in the world once Japan lowers its rate in April (when you combine federal and state tax rates.)
So those profits, which have already been taxed in their respective countries, would then be subject to the 39 percent corporate tax rate.
Apple's CFO Peter Oppenheimer says: "current tax laws provide a considerable economic disincentive to U.S. companies that might otherwise repatriate a substantial amount of foreign cash."
And, as I mentioned, in no way is Apple alone with this problem.
According to Moody's Investors Service, non-financial U.S. companies are sitting on one and a quarter trillion dollars in cash as of December.
But, get this: More than half of that money, or nearly $700 billion dollars is being stockpiled overseas.
The two other biggest culprits?
No surprise here... General Electric and Pfizer.
GE has more than $100 billion dollars overseas; Pfizer $63 billion.
Tech giants Google and Microsoft joined Apple with boosting their overseas profits in 2011 by more than 40 percent.
So what, if anything, is Washington doing about this problem?
As usual, not much because each side of the aisle wants something different to be changed.
According to reports, companies like Google, Cisco, Qualcomm and Oracle are waiting for Congress to repeat a 2004 tax repatriation holiday that would set a maximum rate of five and a quarter percent.
Republican Congressman Kevin Brady from Texas has sponsored such a bill.
But Obama and other democrats argue a one-time tax holiday is too much of a giveaway to big corporations.
And we all know how this administration feels about big business!
The other idea is a more permanent fix. A proposal from Republican Congressman Dave Camp of Michigan shifting the U.S. tax code to a "territorial tax system" that exempts 95 percent of foreign profits.
According to Bloomberg, this plan is very similar to the tax systems in the UK, Japan and Germany.
All four republican presidential candidates support this plan.
And that's what it's going to take for changes to the tax code to become a reality.
Someone in the White House who is not anti-corporation, not anti-profits.
Until this country fixes its onerous double taxation problem, don't expect to see these big corporations bring this money back home, and put it to use hiring people in America.