Despite state-aid investigations by the EU Commission, McDonald’s is continuing its strategy of tax avoidance with increased efforts. This is the result of a new report published today by trade unions in the EU and the USA. In 2015 they had shown in a first report how McDonald’s saved more than one billion euros in taxes between 2009 and 2013 through sophisticated corporate structures. McDonald’s channeled its profits generated in Europe through Luxembourg, where hardly any taxes were due thanks to a bilaterally negotiated tax ruling. As a result, in December 2015 the EU Commission opened a state-aid investigation against Luxembourg, which has not yet been concluded. The brief report published today reveals that McDonald’s has since then even complicated its corporate structure and is now exploiting new tax loopholes in the US and in the UK as well as in its crown colonies and overseas territories.
MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:
“McDonald’s has learned nothing from criticism of its tax dumping. Instead of paying fair taxes in Europe, McDonald’s prefers to pay tax consultants. It is bold how McDonald’s is making its corporate structures even less transparent, while the EU Commission is still investigating illegal state aid. McDonald’s is no longer using Luxembourg to avoid taxes, but the US tax haven Delaware and the tax havens connected to the UK. In the Brexit negotiations, the EU must ensure that the UK and its crown colonies and overseas territories really crack down on tax avoidance in the future. Anyone who wants access to the European Single Market must not undermine European tax rules. European Member States must not be intimidated by Trump and should also blacklist US tax havens such as Delaware and Nevada.
The ingenious restructuring of McDonald’s once again demonstrates the importance of transparency in the fight against tax avoidance. We finally need country-by-country tax transparency on who pays how much tax in which country. The European Parliament has been waiting for almost a year for an agreement with the Council, but the Grand Coalition in Berlin is the biggest drag in the negotiations.
We Greens have urged for McDonald’s to appear before the European Parliament’s Special Committee on Tax Avoidance on 21 June. We will not accept vague answers as in the previous hearings. If McDonald’s does not cooperate with the committee, the lobbyists will lose access to the European Parliament.”
New report on tax avoidance by McDonald’s in 2018:
Report on tax avoidance by McDonald’s in 2015:
Press release of the EU Commission to open formal investigation into Luxembourg’s tax treatment of McDonald’s: