EU mulls McDonald’s tax probe: Margrethe Vestager considers investigation into sweetheart deals

McDonald’s may face an EU Commission investigation into its Luxembourg tax dealings
The EU’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager is considering adding McDonald’s to the list of companies being investigated over sweetheart tax deals.

The Danish commissioner is weighing up an inquiry following claims by campaigners and unions of an alleged deal with Luxembourg that allowed the fast-food chain to massively reduce its tax bill on European sales.

A probe would add to investigations already taking place concerning Luxembourg’s tax arrangements with Amazon and Fiat. The Commission is also looking into the tax deals of coffee chain Starbucks in the Netherlands, Apple’s Irish arrangements and Belgium’s tax arrangements for multinationals.

Vestager – said to have inspired the popular TV show Borgen – has also launched anti-trust probes against US internet giant Google and Russia’s Gazprom. Yesterday she said EU regulators will miss a June deadline to decide whether tax deals granted to companies, including Apple and Starbucks, are legal because they lack some data.

Vestager said: “It is clear that obtaining information is both challenging and time consuming. We do not necessarily get the information the first time or the second time. Therefore, we will not meet the first deadline to be done by the end of the second quarter.”

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