PARIS Jan 22 McDonald's France has
confirmed tax inspectors visited its local headquarters but
denied wrongdoing after French media reported it had transferred
over 2.2 billion euros ($3 billion) abroad since 2009 to dodge
The French arm of the U.S. hamburger chain said in a
statement it cooperated with inspectors who visited its
headquarters near Paris last October as part of what it said was
a regular check.
"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," it said in a statement issued late
Tuesday, referring to the media group that owns the l'Expansion
business website on which the report appeared.
L'Expansion reported that tax inspectors visited the site on
Oct. 15 as part of a probe into the suspected transfer since
2009 of around 330 to 650 million euros of revenue per year to
Switzerland and Luxembourg.
McDonald's France said the group and its 314 local
franchises paid corporate taxes in full to the French state,
amounting to 1 billion euros since 2009.
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 Francois Hollande's Socialist government has also
pressed more than 11,000 individuals with bank accounts abroad
to declare their assets in France.
Budget Minister Bernard Cazeneuve declined to comment on any
action by tax authorities targeting McDonald's.
"What I can tell is that we have at our disposal a full
arsenal to fight against fraud and tax optimisation," he told
France Info radio.