McDonald's denies report of suspected tax evasion in France

McDonald's on Tuesday denied a magazine report that tax authorities in France suspect it of trying to avoid paying taxes on 2.2 billion euros ($3 billion) of income from its 314 French eateries.

The French magazine L'Express said in its Wednesday edition that the US fast-food giant has since 2009 funnelled that sum through its Swiss and Luxembourg subsidiaries, thereby paying less value-added and corporate profits tax than in France.

"The loss for the French state is likely to be several hundred million euros," the magazine said.

It added that French tax authorities searched McDonald's main office in France on October 15 last year.

But McDonald's "firmly" denied the report, saying it complies with "applicable laws in France" and all its franchised restaurants in the country pay corporate tax in France.

"They have paid one billion euros in company taxes since 2009," the company said.

McDonald's did confirm, however, "an information request" from French tax authorities in October.

The French finance ministry declined immediate comment to AFP on the report.

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