MCDONALDS HAVE become the first Olympic sponsor to refuse their Olympic tax break.
The move follows revelations by Ethical Consumer magazine and also pressure from the online campaign group 38 Degrees.
Under HMRC rules the Olympic site in East London has now become the world's latest tax haven. The result is that most of the giant multi-nationals sponsoring the tax-payer funded Games could avoid paying millions of pounds in tax on their Olympic profits, said Ethical Consumer.
Tim Hunt from Ethical Consumer welcomed the news that McDonald's have agreed to forgo its tax break,?but will continue to press the company to publish the amount of tax paid on its Olympic profits.
We are now calling on all the Olympic sponsors to do the right thing and follow McDonald's lead and pay in full the taxes on their Olympic profits. These companies also need to be open about how much tax they are paying on these profits.
Next on the hit list is Coca Cola. Ethical Consumer surveyed all 11 of the IOC's Olympic Partners and all seven of the London Olympic Partners. The results show that apart from British Airways all these companies including Adidas, Coca Cola and Lloyds have subsidiaries in tax havens. Tax expert Richard Murphy from the Tax Justice Network said "It is bound to cost the UK tens of millions of pounds to give tax concessions to all the large companies who are operating at the Olympic site. We're giving money away that we need to solve our debt crisis and to preserve essential public services.
Corporate tax avoidance is believed to cost the Treasury billions of pounds every year. There have already been some high profile media stories this year but NGOs are keen to name and shame more.