Burger King Boycott: Tim Hortons Deal Infuriates American Taxpayers

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Some ardent American whopper fans are not impressed with the burger giant’s bid to buy Canadian coffee-and-doughnut darling, Tim Hortons, to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Die-hard patriots have even started using the b-word: boycott.

“If you attempt to buy Tim Hortons for the purposes of evading U.S. taxes, I will NEVER step food in another Burger King again…

"Don’t do it,” wrote Gabe Givens on the company’s Facebook page.

News the two fast-food giants are in discussions about a possible merger was confirmed in a joint statement from the two companies on Sunday, saying a potential deal would “deepen” the connections consumers have with the two brands. Both companies will continue to exist independently.

The plan would see Burger King’s Miami headquarters move to Canada, where the federal corporate tax rate is slightly lower.

The Financial Times reports that Burger King has a tax rate of 27 per cent in the U.S., compared to roughly 26 per cent in Canada.

But the corporate tax rate in the U.S. can range as high as 39 per cent for some companies.

And it's a tax-saving proposal that has ruffled feathers among many tax-paying Americans.

The burger giant’s tax inversion plan would also move its foreign earnings out of the Internal Revenue Service’s reach.

“You are going to Canada? Reducing your US taxes? So long, it’s been good to know you. Prefer to support companies that support the US,” said Karin Schwartz.

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Some Canadians also dipped into the company's comments section, condemning the American burger chain’s reach to acquire Timmies.

“Burger King, keep your hands off our Tim Hortons. It is not for sale,” wrote Nikolai Wataja.

“Stay the hell away from Tim’s. We don’t want you there,” said Lisa Browning.

Though some consumers may not be responding warmly, Canada’s conservative government may be.

Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper took office in 2006, the federal corporate tax rate has dropped from 28 per cent to 15 percent – one of the lowest rates in the world.

Burger King’s announcement is the first since U.S. President Barack Obama condemned the practice of tax inversion on July 24, calling it “not fair” and “not right.”

He labelled companies who flee the U.S. to more tax-friendly countries as “corporate deserters.”

“The lost revenue to Treasury means it has got to be made up somewhere, and that typically is going to be a bunch of hard working Americans who either pay through higher taxes themselves or through reduced services,” he said at the time.

Despite the savings in corporate taxes, the double-deal could spell a public relations “disaster” for the two companies, according to Forrester Research retail analyst Sucharita Mulpuru.

“This makes rational sense from a pure dollars and cents standpoint, but there are many bigger issues that need to be taken into account like the impact of the brand and consumer feedback,” Mulpuru told Mashable.

Despite the backlash online, markets have been more receptive to buzz around the possible merger: Shares in both companies jumped 17 per cent before the opening bell on Monday.

The deal pegged at $18 billion would make the new company the world’s third-largest publicly traded fast-food corporation, behind Subway Inc. and McDonald’s. The companies do not plan to make further comment on the talks until a deal or dissolution of discussions is reached.

The hamburger franchise was founded in 1954 and has grown to operate nearly 13,000 locations around the world.

Tim Hortons currently operates 3,630 franchises in Canada and 866 locations in the U.S.

With files from the Canadian Press