McDonald’s has denied a report by French weekly L’Express that claims the US fast-food giant transferred profits abroad to evade French taxes.
According to the report, published in the French magazine’s Wednesday edition, McDonald’s has transferred 2.2 billion euros to foreign tax havens since 2009.
L’Express, quoting French tax officials, says the money was sent to subsidiaries in Luxemburg and Switzerland “thereby evading VAT and corporate taxes in France”.
In a statement published on Tuesday, shortly after the report was leaked to the French press, McDonald’s acknowledged that French tax authorities had searched its offices in the Paris suburb of Guyancourt in October, but denied any wrongdoing.
"McDonald's firmly denies the accusation made by l'Express according to which McDonald's supposedly hid part of its revenue from taxes in France," the statement read.
The hamburger giant, which owns 314 outlets in France, said it had paid 1 billion euros in taxes to the French state since 2009.
Budget Minister Bernard Cazeneuve refused to comment on the report Wednesday, but said on France Info radio station that the government was “determined” to fight tax evasion.
France, which has a corporate tax rate of 33 percent compared with an EU average of nearly 23 percent, is clamping down on international companies that shift profits to other countries with lower taxes.
President François Hollande's Socialist government has also pressed more than 11,000 individuals with bank accounts abroad to declare their assets in France.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-01-22