America’s best known burger chain is facing a tax probe in France.
McDonald’s (MCD) says that French tax authorities are investigating claims that its French unit had improperly sent $3 billion to Switzerland and Luxembourg since 2009 in order to avoid paying higher taxes in France. McDonald’s said it “firmly denies the accusation,” which has appeared in prominent French newspapers, Reuters notes.
In France, the corporate tax rate is 33%. That’s significantly higher than other European nations. The average corporate tax rate among European Union nations is just 23%.
The burger giant said that it has paid all taxes due under French tax law. McDonald’s has 314 local franchises in France. It says it has paid more than 1 billion euros in taxes in France since 2009.
McDonald’s said that French investigators had visited its corporate headquarters outside Paris as part of the probe. The company says it is cooperating with the investigation.
MCD stock slipped slightly in Wednesday morning trading. MCD stock hit a high over $102 a share in April, but MCD stock has slowly declined since. MCD stock has risen just over 2% during the last twelve months.