McDonald’s to turn down Olympics tax break

FAST-FOOD CHAIN McDonald’s has decided not to take up its entitlement to UK tax breaks for Olympic sponsors, amid mounting pressure on fellow sponsors to do the same.

The multinational yielded to an online campaign and turned down the tax break, less than two weeks before the start of the Games, reports the Guardian.

It comes after a story appeared in Ethical Consumer magazine and the 38 Degrees campaign group collected more than 150,000 signatures urging sponsors to waive the breaks.

British Airways said the break was not applicable to UK companies, while other international sponsors, including Coca Cola, are understood to be weighing up their decisions.

Although brief, the Olympic site will effectively be a tax haven during the Games on account of special tax rules that formed part of the bid. As a result, sponsors could pay no tax at all on earnings generated in the Olympics.

The cost of declining the break will be minimal, according to McDonald’s, as revenue from the Games would make up less than 0.1% of its annual sales in the UK.

In a statement, it said: “We will not be making any corporate income tax exemption claim with respect to any activity concerning our involvement with the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

The temporary legislation also affords income tax exemptions on any earnings to any foreign nationals working on the UK Games. Those exemptions include journalists, representatives of official games bodies, judges as well as the athletes themselves.

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