McDonald’s Fiscal State Aid Clearance: Questions Still Pending


Published in: Kluwer International Tax Blog - 4 december 2018

Following three years of investigation, McDonald’s has been cleared from the charge that it received fiscal state aid from Luxembourg, by virtue of the European Commission’s concluding decision of 19 September 2018. Thus, the Commission seems to have closed one of the various fronts opened in the fiscal state aid area in the last five years, including cases like Apple, Starbucks and Engie. Yet, the war is much ampler and critical questions remain still pending.

From a business perspective, the ongoing fierce debate entails important implications and requires close monitoring. On the one hand, taxpayers need to ensure their timely intervention in cases concerning tax measures from which they themselves or their competitors have potentially benefitted. On the other hand, major part of the Commission’s recent investigations focuses on tax rulings, questioning their validity as an instrument to obtain tax certainty. The outcome of the debate shall determine the expectations taxpayers can place on the tax rulings they have or request from EU Member States and subsequently their alternatives to ascertain their tax liability in the Single Market.