EXCLUSIVE By Graeme Bailey Follow on Twitter
The midfielder started 27 games in the Premier League last season after impressing in his debut campaign at Goodison Park having joined the club on transfer deadline day in September 2013.
But McCarthy has seen a number of his team-mates - and even manager Roberto Martinez - handed new contracts without receiving an offer of his own.
McCarthy has also seen Tom Cleverley become one of the highest paid players at the club after his transfer from Manchester United, offering the Republic of Ireland international direct competition for his place.
McCarthy, meanwhile, remains one of the lowest paid players in Everton's first-team.
A source confirmed to Goal: "This is not about money, in no way shape or form.
"It is about respect, and there is little doubting that James and his representatives feel that that Everton have shown him very little in the past 12 months. It is now a matter of principle."
McCarthy has long been admired by a host of clubs, with Tottenham and Manchester City keeping close tabs on the midfielder.
Goal understands Spurs were keen to test Everton's resolve to keep McCarthy in January with a player-plus-cash bid.