Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s cash pile has been the subject of huge debate among investors and the target of a lawsuit filed by David Einhorn. But does that cash pile actually make the company the richest one in the U.S.? It really depends on which number you look at.

Apple Earnings

Apple By The Numbers

MarketWatch contributor Dan Gallagher examined various numbers from FactSet. He noted that the site lists General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) as the richest company in the U.S. It has approximately $138.1 billion in cash.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is in second place with $74.5 billion, while Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) comes in third with $50.1 billion in cash. Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) is fourth with $47.4 billion, and then we finally get to Apple, which the site has listed as having $39.1 billion in cash.

But what about that $144.7 billion number Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been more commonly reported as having? Gallagher pointed out that it’s the only company out of the top five on FactSet’s list of the wealthiest U.S. companies which breaks down its long term investments on its balance sheet. When those investments are included, Gallagher says we make up the difference between the $39.1 billion and the $144.7 billion.

Apple To Angle For A Tax Break?

Another important piece of information to note is that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) reported in its most recent Securities and Exchange 10Q filing that approximately 71 percent of its cash is offshore. All that offshore cash has raised some eyebrows among lawmakers, and for good reason.

CEO Tim Cook is scheduled to testify today before a Senate subcommittee about his company’s tax practices. Of course Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will probably never admit to using any of the tax practices that are commonly used by major corporations to dodge taxes in countries with high corporate tax rates. In fact, it sounds as if the company might be using Cook’s testimony today to focus attention on why it “might” be avoiding taxes rather than whether it actually is or not.

Cook is expected to say that if his company was to repatriate its offshore cash, it would have a 35 percent tax rate. That said, it sounds as if Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may be angling for an amnesty day so they can repatriate its offshore cash without taking a huge hit.