How McDonald's dodged half a billion dollars in Aussie tax
MCDONALD'S has used aggressive strategies to avoid paying $497 million of tax in Australia over the past five years by moving profits through Singapore, a new report claims.
The report Golden Dodges: How McDonald's Avoids Paying its Fair Share of Tax, commissioned by a coalition of global trade unions, doesn't allege the world's largest fast food company has done anything illegal in its tax strategies, only that it has taken advantage of loopholes in current laws that benefit multinationals.
"McDonald's uses royalty payments from franchisees and foreign subsidiaries in major markets to route profits to tax havens," the report states.
"These strategies may have allowed it to avoid up to US$1.8 billion in tax in those markets in the years between 2009 and 2013, including €1 billion across Europe and AU$497 million in Australia."
The report claims the food giant makes extensive use of tax havens, with at least 42 subsidiaries and branches in tax havens around the world, including 31 that the company does not disclose in its annual report.
McDonald's tax practices have been investigated around the world and in 2013 the Australian Tax Office investigated the company and its franchisees regarding the tax treatment of the sale of franchises.
A spokeswoman for McDonald's was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as saying: "We have always been committed to paying our fair share of tax in Australia. In fact, over the past five years, McDonald's Australia has paid in excess of $500 million in tax."