By Kim Dixon

Technology giants Microsoft Corp and Hewlett-Packard Co used offshore units to shield billions of dollars from U.S. taxes by taking advantage of loopholes and stretching the limits of the tax code, a Senate panel said on Thursday.

Calling tax avoidance rampant in the technology sector, the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said tech companies used intellectual property, royalties and license fees in overseas tax havens to skirt U.S. taxes.

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