Twenty-seven U.S. companies that report holding $538 billion in untaxed profits outside the country have invested 46 percent of that total in U.S. banks or assets, according to a report by Senator Carl Levin.

Levin, a Michigan Democrat who opposes a tax break on repatriating offshore profits, released the report yesterday to counter companies' claims that their earnings are "trapped" outside the country by the tax system, he said.

The companies surveyed, including Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc., have been lobbying Congress for a reduced tax rate on bringing back profits to the U.S., and they maintain that such a tax holiday would spur economic growth.

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