MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – Burger King may be the Home of the Whopper but Canada may be the new home of Burger King.
Burger King, established in 1954 and which is currently headquartered Blue Lagoon in Miami, is currently in discussions to purchase Tim Hortons, a coffee and doughnut chain headquartered in Canada and established in 1964.
Miami-Dade Deputy Mayor Jack Osterholt says this announcement came as a great surprise and—if it goes through—that it wouldn’t be good for South Florida.
“It would mean most likely that their headquarter staff would move to wherever their headquarters was going to be and that would be jobs lost in South Florida,” said Osterholt.
Burger King Headquarters employs hundreds of people.
Sources close to Burger King argue there wouldn’t be any meaningful changes at the local headquarters should Burger King become a Canadian Corporation.
CBS4 spoke with University of Miami Professor of International Tax and Banking Law, Stanley Langbein.
“I’m not sure why they would negotiate that kind of handcuff,” said Langbien.
Burger King opened in South Florida. It’s been headquartered in Miami since 1954. The deal raises the possibility of yet another American company switching its national citizenship to lower its tax bill–it’s called tax inversion.
Tax inversion is becoming more and more popular with US companies, something that President Barack Obama doesn’t like.
The President recently said accountants are approaching big US corporations, “and these accountants are saying ‘you know what we found a great loophole. If you just flip your citizenship to another country, even though it’s just a paper transaction, we think we can get you out of paying a whole bunch of taxes.’ Well, it’s not fair. It’s not right,” President Obama said.
Burger King’s corporate tax rate is 27 percent. In Canada, it could be anywhere from 15 to 20 percent. Though Burger King says this is a business structure plan and has nothing to do with a tax inversion.
“We hope that we can get in touch with them and that we can set up a meeting so we can talk to them about what their plans are, so we can see if we can make at least a counter offer,” Osterholt says,
What that offer would be is unknown because so many details of the alleged buyout are unknown.
“We hope we get to talk to them about their plans before they’re settled,” Osterholt said.
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