The White House resisted a chance Monday to denounce Burger King for potentially relocating its headquarters to Canada as part of a possible purchase of doughnut and coffee chain Tim Hortons, even though President Obama has repeatedly ripped such corporate moves.
“I’m not in a position to comment on those specific transactions,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. “I will reiterate, though, what the Treasury Department has said, which is that they are considering a range of administrative options that are available to the administration to make those kinds of financial transactions less appealing to countries — or to companies that may be considering them.
“The president, again, speaking as a general matter, not as it relates to any specific transaction that’s being contemplated, doesn’t believe that a company simply switching their citizenship, filling out a few papers to switch their citizenship to avoid paying their fair share in U.S. taxes, is good policy,” he added.
If the deal is approved, Burger King would move its headquarters to Canada, which offers a lower corporate tax rate than the U.S.
As the administration explores possible executive actions, some analysts have questioned where the president has the legal authority to do anything on so-called tax "inversions."
The White House on Monday said it still preferred a legislative fix to the problem, one it said could be pursued separately from a broader tax reform package. Republicans say they prefer more wide-reaching tax reforms.