1.1 billion euros fine! McDonald’s breaks the record in French tax history

This invoice is likely to remain on the stomach of the clown Ronald. As revealed in the next edition of the monthly Capital, on newsstands Wednesday, May 25, the giant McDonald’s will have to pay more than 1 billion euros to France to close a dispute with our tax administration. This amount, greater than the 965 million euros that the Google search engine had to pay in 2019, is a record. A maxi best of that neither Bercy nor the king of the burger wanted to comment on.

To deal with such a tile, the American has already boxed 500 million dollars (474 ​​million euros), recorded in its accounts in the first quarter of 2022. A sum intended for “a possible settlement linked to a tax question international,” acknowledged CFO Kevin Ozan on April 28, without giving further details. Cocorico, so it’s with us that it happens! To this fine, intended for the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF), will be added an adjustment (with penalties) imposed by the National and International Audit Department: a hefty penalty of around 600 million euros. Here again, the group, providing foresight, has already provisioned 530 million euros in the balance sheet of its French subsidiary in 2020. The settlement should take place shortly within the framework of a legal agreement in the public interest (CJIP ): created in 2018, this system aims to put pressure on companies in the event of suspicion of tax evasion to speed up the procedures and close the proceedings initiated.

This comes to settle a very long affair, started in 2013 and marked by searches at the company’s headquarters in Guyancourt (Yvelines) and by the custody of three former leaders (Denis Hennequin, Jean-Pierre Petit and Salvatore Perri) . The origin of the problem ? The French tax authorities accuse McDonald of having applied an abnormally high level of royalties to its restaurants to transfer a significant part of its turnover to Luxembourg and then the United Kingdom. With the aim, of course, of reducing the basis on which the tax is calculated and thus limiting the tax bill. The tax rate at the time was 1.8% in Luxembourg against 33.3% in France. In return for the use of the American group’s brand and know-how, the 1,495 fast-food restaurants paid royalties to the French structure, which itself retroceded to the Grand Duchy 5% of its turnover up to in 2009, then 10% after signing a new agreement with its parent company. This increase remained across the throat of the administration, especially since our country of fine mouths is the second most lucrative market of the group after the United States.

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Let’s be precise, this system of tax optimization is not reprehensible in itself, but it must be supported by technical elements. The agreement with Bercy will allow the Chicago firm to secure the acceptable percentage of royalties to be fixed. At a level below 10%…

Find this survey, and many others, in Capital n°369 on newsstands Wednesday, May 25. Take advantage of attractive prices by subscribing to the magazine.

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