The Apple Inc. logo is displayed on the back of the new MacBook Pro David Paul Morris-Bloomberg via Getty Images
Apple's (AAPL) $102 billion in cash stored overseas is becoming a big problem for CEO Tim Cook, who was testifying before Congress on Tuesday about this issue. How big? That mountain of money is larger than the GDP of many countries, and the U.S. government can't get its hands on the cash even though most of it was earned here.

In fact, as Citizens for Tax Justice noted, that money is out of reach of the taxing authorities of any government. As leader of the iPhone and iPad maker, Cook insists his company hasn't done anything wrong. Sadly for American taxpayers, he's right.

As the nonprofit tax organization notes on its website: "Under current law, corporations can indefinitely defer paying U.S. income taxes on their offshore profits."

Companies disclose in their financial reports how much in taxes they would have paid if there were no deferral. In Apple's case, it's $35 billion. The company notes that it does pay plenty of taxes -- about $6 billion in 2012. Still, by shifting its cash around the globe, Apple kept at least $74 billion out of the IRS' reach between 2009 and 2012, according to The New York Times.

Speaking before the U.S. Senate, Cook argued that Apple doesn't depend on "tax gimmicks."

"We pay all the taxes we owe -- every single dollar," the Los Angeles Times quoted him as saying. "We not only comply with the laws, but we comply with the spirit of the laws."

Other companies, such as Google (GOOG) and General Electric (GE), have made similar arguments. These giant corporations use strategies such as "Double Irish" and "Dutch Sandwich" that sound like they could be titles for 1940s pulp detective novels.

Cook and other business executives have long argued that the U.S. tax code is too cumbersome and that business tax rates are too high. Add another complaint to that list: unfair to hardworking, taxpaying Americans.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

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