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Tax Fairness Coalition Decries Burger King’s Plan to Desert America for Canada to Dodge Paying Its Fair Share of Taxes

WASHINGTON – Frank Clemente, Executive Director of Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), released the following statement about recent news reports that Burger King, based in Miami, Florida, is in talks with Tim Hortons, Inc. a Canadian company to strike a deal that would result in Burger King buying Tim Hortons but then become a subsidiary of Tim Hortons to achieve a so-called tax inversion. Tim Hortons, itself a former American company, underwent an inversion in 2009 to become a Canadian company.

“Burger King’s announcement is one big whopper. If the company goes through with an inversion and deserts America, its customers are likely to bring their business down the street to the nearest McDonald’s or Wendy’s. Walgreens got the message that its inversion would be very damaging to its brand, and it walked away from an inversion with a Swiss company. Hopefully, Burger King will do the same. While changing its address to Canada rather than a tax haven country may not appear on the surface to be so objectionable, if the intent is to dodge paying its fair share of taxes the American people are likely to be no less sympathetic to Burger King.”

“There is nothing stopping Burger King from simply merging with Tim Hortons and achieving whatever business synergies are expected that make this deal attractive. The only reason to do an inversion is to dodge paying U.S. taxes.”

“Burger King pays very low wages and few if any benefits to its American workers. In effect, American taxpayers provide huge subsidies to its low-wage employees through public health programs, such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program; through wage subsidies, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit; and through Food Stamps and many other public services and benefits. American taxpayers will continue to provide these subsidies for Burger King, even if the company deserts America for Canada. It will just expect us to pick up even more of its tab. That should enrage its American customers.”

The public strongly opposes corporate inversions. A recent poll found that about half of likely voters are aware of the issue. Over two-thirds of likely voters disapprove of corporate inversions, including 86% of Democrats, 69% of Republicans and 80% of Independents.  The poll conducted for Morning Consult from July 25-27 with a national sample of 1,752 likely voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 2%. It is the first known public poll to gauge opposition to corporate inversions.

 

Americans for Tax Fairness is a diverse coalition of 425 national and state organizations that collectively represent tens of millions of members. The organization was formed on the belief that the country needs comprehensive, progressive tax reform that results in greater revenue to meet our growing needs. ATF is playing a central role in Washington and in the states on federal tax-reform issues.