In May, billionaire Warren Buffett blasted the very corporate “tax inversion” schemes his firm Berkshire Hathaway is about to finance as part of Burger King relocating its headquarters to Canada to lower its tax burden.
CNBC’s Joe Kernan: “Why do you make a distinction between that [investing in wind farms to score tax credits] and what some of the U.S. companies are doing when it comes to an inversion?”
Warren Buffett: “Well, I think they can do it with an inversion if they want. I think that is one that’s likely to get–I’m not saying they’re doing anything illegal at all in following the rules on inversion. I would personally change that part of the law.”
A tax inversion is when a company acquires a foreign company and then relocates its headquarters in the foreign company to pay a lower tax rate.
In the CNBC interview, Buffett also said he is happy to pay higher tax rates.
“We do not feel that we are unduly burdened by federal income taxes,” said Buffett. “But it does get a little annoying to us when we see other people paying far lower tax rates while engaging in the same sort of business that we engage in.”
Buffett added: “But Berkshire operated under 52 percent tax rates and 48 percent tax rates, and we make a lot of money under U.S. tax rates.”
News of Buffett’s investment in Burger King has sparked American ire and charges of hypocrisy, as the “Oracle of Omaha” was a strong backer of President Barack Obama and a vocal critic blasting citizens for not paying their “fair share” in taxes.
Similarly, Obama has said corporate tax inversions are akin to American companies “renouncing their U.S. citizenship.”
Obama added, “You know some people are calling these companies ‘corporate deserters.'”