- - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Let us assume for the sake of argument that Burger King is acquiring Tim Hortons restaurants in a thinly veiled effort to skirt United States tax liability through a move to Canada (“Burger King plans expansion of Tim Hortons,” Web, Aug. 26). Certainly Burger King has some responsibility to fund essential functions of government in the United States so long as it maintains locations here, but should it be excoriated for seeking to maximize return to shareholders by locating its headquarters in a more tax-friendly jurisdiction? I think not.

I think Burger King’s action and that of other like-minded American companies should be a strong signal to our “leaders” that our system of taxation is broken, unwieldy and costly, and that it is badly in need of radical reform. The corporate income-tax rate of 35 percent, which many companies admittedly do not pay, is riddled with loopholes and is too high, placing the United States at a competitive disadvantage with other countries.

Even worse than the corporate-tax structure is the levy that is inflicted on the average citizen, a system of gobbledygook that is so complex, convoluted and incomprehensible that even the individual with the simplest tax return often must pay for professional assistance or waste precious time having his or her return prepared by volunteers. The best idea then-Sen. Arlen Specter had was to enact a federal income-tax system that would enable the return to be filed on a postcard. If Specter was serious, had been elected president and had sought to adopt such a system, lobbyists would have come out of the woodwork to fight it tooth and nail, and they likely would have won.

If members of Congress and the president wish to provide a massive and powerful boost to the economy, they will bring down the corporate-tax rate, eliminate its loopholes and tear out by the roots a federal income-tax system that ties the average citizen into knots each and every year. Are they up to the task? I doubt it.

OREN M. SPIEGLER

Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

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