On March 17, UK-based War on Want released a new report revealing that in 2020 McDonald’s avoided at least £295 million in tax in the United Kingdom. The scheme relies on the McDonald’s corporation’s business model of selling “the idea” of burgers to franchisees rather than actually selling burgers; since profits are taxed where they are made, the “idea” is moved to wherever the corporation is taxed at the lowest rate. This is yet another questionable way for McDonald’s to maximise their profits on the backs of their workers, the environment and our communities.
- During the same period, McDonald’s received £872 million in UK-government tax breaks and support around the COVID-19 pandemic while also paying out close to £3 billion in shareholder dividends
- The report builds on War on Want, EFFAT, EPSU and SEIU’s 2015 report which first detailed McDonald’s flagrant tax avoidance
- McDonald’s and several other fast food chains have continued to turn record-breaking profits while throughout the pandemic, McDonald’s workers have reported a lack of personal protective equipment and other issues related to Occupational Safety and Health
Ian Hodson, President of the IUF affiliate Bakers’, Food & Allied Workers Union, stated, “During much of the COVID-19 pandemic, McDonald’s did not have to pay their workers’ wages in the UK because of the government’s furlough scheme. Apparently they did not pay their taxes either. Many of the McDonald’s workers, even during full-time employment, find they need to claim benefits to subsidise the poverty pay they earn, despite working for a multi-billion dollar profitable corporation. This is just one example of how the corporations made sure they were ok whilst the taxpayers picked up the bill.”