The global operations of U.S. multinational companies complicate the task of tax collectors and regulators.

Current U.S. tax law permits deferral of American taxes on most income left abroad, allowing companies to shelter their profits in European banks or foreign bonds.

"Very little U.S. tax revenue is collected on income of U.S. foreign subsidiaries," says a Treasury Department aide.

In planning their foreign exchange transactions and borrowing, U.S. multinationals to not always take positions that help the dollar. U.S. companies probably moved funds out of dollars during the "October panic" last year, complicating the Carter administration's efforts to halt its decline.

But a Treasury aide noted, "it's not up to Firestone to look after the dollar -- it's up to Jimmy Carter."

The activities of multinationals in Rhodesia have been cited as evidence that the companies are beyond government control.

The 1968 United Nationals trade embargo has not kept Dunlop from continuing to manufacture tires in that country.

While the parent company in England has severed all relations with its Rhodesian subsidiary, the local frim produces tires using local raw materials.

Dunlop Rhodesia also provides tires to Goodyear's small Rhodesian branch office, which it then sells under the Goodyear label.

"Goodyear's branch office is completely independent," a spokesman explained. "It purchases all of the tires it markets from the Dunlop tire factory located in Southern Rhodesia and markets those only in Southern Rhodesia. This is consistent with the Rhodesian sanction regulations of the U.S. Treasury."