The Carlsberg Foundation’s Tax Policy


The Carlsberg Foundation is one of Denmark’s oldest and largest industrial foundations, interacting with the whole of Danish society.

Dividends received from the Foundation’s shares in Carlsberg A/S are used by the Carlsberg Foundation, the New Carlsberg Foundation, and the Tuborg Foundation to allocate several hundreds of million DKK every year to basic research, culture, art, and civil society as well as to the Carlsberg Research Laboratory and two internationally acclaimed museums: Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek and the Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle.

According to the Golden Word in the charter, the Carlsberg Foundation strives for the highest possible quality in everything that it does, and that the operation of the Carlsberg brewery should never focus solely on business today and an immediate profit, but also give thought to the future, to maintain a long-term view. This ambition has ensured that the Foundation today is the controlling shareholder of one of the world’s largest brewing groups owning some of the industry’s strongest brands.

The Carlsberg Foundation wishes to exercise good foundation governance in accordance with principles that ensure utmost professionalism, openness, and transparency in relation to the Foundation’s governance and decision-making, also concerning tax.

Tax revenue forms an essential part of a well-functioning society and constitutes a fundamental building block and funding source in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals which focus on improving welfare, justice, education, emergency services, health, and environmental and climate protection in developed and developing countries.

Internationally, there has been a growing focus on preventing aggressive tax planning and achieving increased transparency within the area of tax, resulting in a range of important international initiatives. Further, societies and stakeholders have increased focus on taxes paid by corporations and foundations, and in this document the Carlsberg Foundation describes its tax policy.

The Carlsberg Foundation Tax Policy

Accountability & Governance

The Carlsberg Foundation’s tax policy was approved by the Board of Directors of the Foundation on 21 January 2021 and applies to the Carlsberg Foundation, the Tuborg Foundation, the Carlsberg Research Laboratory and the Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle. The Board of Directors of Carlsberg Group has defined and described a separate tax policy relating to Carlsberg Group.

Read the Carlsberg Group's Tax Policy (PDF)

Tax risk management is exercised by the Board of Directors, management, and relevant staff in the Carlsberg Foundation and Carlsberg Group.

Compliance of the Carlsberg Foundation’s tax policy is monitored annually by the Foundation’s Board of Directors, and the Foundation welcomes anyone to address questions on its tax handling and comment on tax compliance directly to the Foundation.

The tax risk management includes risk assessments before entering any tax planning on significant transactions, and the Carlsberg Foundation draws upon external advisors to assist in cases where relevant expertise is lacking internally. External advisors are also drawn upon for significant transactions and decisions where tax considerations play a key role or where material uncertainty exists regarding the interpretation of existing laws and regulations.


The Carlsberg Family aims to comply with the tax legislation of the relevant geographic territories and to pay the right amount of tax at the right time, where we create value, based on relevant interpretations of applicable law aligned with the substance of the economic and commercial activity.

We prepare and file tax returns as required, providing complete, accurate and timely disclosures to all relevant revenue authorities. Where tax law is unclear or subject to interpretation, we evaluate the likelihood and where appropriate, we seek an external opinion to ensure that our position would be upheld.

We apply the arm’s length principle in line with best-practice guidelines issued by the OECD and apply this consistently (contingent on local laws).

Business Structure

We establish business structures that are driven by sound commercial rationale, are aligned with business activity, and which have substance. We do not seek abusive tax results.

A list of all group entities is included in the annual report for the Carlsberg Fundation and Carlsberg Group.

We do not establish so-called ‘tax havens’ to avoid taxes on activities which take place elsewhere. Entities based in low or nil-rate jurisdictions exist for substantive and commercial reasons.

Relationships with Authorities

We seek, wherever possible, to develop cooperative relationships with tax authorities based on mutual respect, transparency, and trust, and we follow established procedures and channels for all dealings with tax authorities, government officials, ministers, and other third parties in a professional, courteous, and timely manner.

We are open and transparent with tax authorities, responding to relevant tax authority enquiries in a straightforward and timely manner (providing information held in other jurisdictions where relevant) to assist in the evaluation of tax liability.

We seek to enter an early dialogue with tax authorities wherever possible if significant uncertainty about tax rules exist. Any rulings from tax authorities to confirm an applicable tax treatment, is based on disclosure of all relevant facts and circumstances. Where there are misunderstandings of fact or law, we seek to work with tax authorities, and where possible, to identify the issues and explore options to resolve any misunderstandings or disagreements. We will not bribe or otherwise induce tax officials, government officials or ministers with the aim of obtaining more beneficial outcomes with respect to tax matters.

Tax Incentives

Where we claim tax incentives offered by government authorities, we seek to ensure that they are transparent and consistent with statutory or regulatory frameworks and implemented in the manner intended within the relevant statutory, regulatory, or administrative framework.

Effective Tax Systems

We engage constructively in national and international dialogue with governments, business groups, and civil society to support the development of effective tax systems, legislation, and administration.


We provide regular information to stakeholders, including investors, policy makers, employees, civil society, and the public about our approach to tax and taxes paid.

Our approach to transparency includes:

  • Publication of the current tax policy approved by the Board of Directors of the Carlsberg Foundation and Carlsberg Group.
  • An overview of our group structure and a list of all entities included in the annual report for the Foundation and Carlsberg Group.
  • Annual information that explains our overall effective tax rate and provides information on taxes paid.

Scope of the Tax Policy

The Carlsberg Foundation’s tax policy relates to all activities controlled by the Board of Directors of the Foundation. In relation to describing the Foundation’s tax policy, it is relevant to view the scope of the policy concerning the following:

  • Exercising engaged ownership through the holding of shares representing the majority of votes in Carlsberg A/S.
  • Managing the activities in the Carlsberg Foundation, including:
    • Investment of the available capital of the Foundation until the funds are donated
    • Donation of funds according to the Carlsberg Foundation’s charter.
Carlsberg Group

The Carlsberg Foundation is the principal shareholder in Carlsberg A/S, and the Foundation exercises engaged ownership of Carlsberg Group, working to maintain a high quality in brewing and giving back to society by supporting natural and social science, the humanities, art, and civil society through donations. Carlsberg A/S is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Copenhagen stock exchange.

Established in 1847 by brewer J.C. Jacobsen, Carlsberg Group is one of the leading brewery groups in the world with a large portfolio of beer and other beverage brands. Carlsberg Group has a portfolio of 140 brands, which spans core beer brands, craft and specialty brands and alcohol-free brews. Core beer brands include the international brands Carlsberg and Tuborg and strong local power brands, such as Ringnes in Norway, Lvivske in Ukraine, and Wusu in China. The largest craft and speciality brands are French 1664 Blanc and Belgium abbey beer Grimbergen.

The Carlsberg Foundation’s tax policy has been considered as a part of the tax policy for Carlsberg Group. The Carlsberg Group tax policy has been adopted by the Group Supervisory Board on 10 December 2020 and is described in a separate document setting out the tax policy related to the global activities of Carlsberg Group. 

Read the Carlsberg Group's Tax Policy (PDF)

The monitoring of compliance with Carlsberg Group’s tax policy and risk assessment and the management of tax risks in Carlsberg Group are handled by the management of Carlsberg Group.

Investments made by the Carlsberg Foundation

The Carlsberg Foundation invests free funds not bound by the Foundation’s charter to be invested in shares in Carlsberg Group to obtain interest, dividends, or other forms of proceeds with a view to increase funds available to increase possible future donations according to the Foundation’s charter and to maintain the majority of the votes in the Carlsberg Group.

When investing free funds, the Foundation recognizes the importance of tax as an integral measure in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals as well as a responsible tax behavior.

The Carlsberg Foundation invests in all material respects through external investment managers (Managers) who are informed of the tax policy of the Foundation. The Managers have accepted to use their best efforts to ensure compliance with applicable tax law and regulations within the jurisdictions where the investments are made and in such a way that consideration and foresight are given to tax-law developments and international initiatives.

The Carlsberg Foundation expects efficient management of the investments and encourage the Managers to consider tax planning opportunities that prevents double taxation and maximizes the after-tax return. However, the Foundation urges the Managers to carefully consider such planning and only to undertake non-aggressive tax planning, which aims to ensure fair competition and avoid double taxation.

The Carlsberg Foundation supports increased transparency and international initiatives implemented at OECD and European levels towards increased transparency. In line with these principles, the Foundation expect the Managers to also support these initiatives by exercising caution when investing in portfolio companies and by not investing in intermediary holding companies incorporated or tax residents in (a) jurisdictions that are deemed ”noncompliant” according to the OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes peer review process at the time of the investment, or (b) jurisdictions listed on the EU’s list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions at the time of the investment.

The Foundation expects the Managers to be transparent in their approach to tax and further expects the Managers to engage cooperatively in dialogues with the Foundation as well as society.

Grants and Donations

The Carlsberg Foundation receives dividends from the shares in Carlsberg A/S. These dividends have been taxed in Carlsberg Group, as the dividends derive from income that has been taxed according to normal corporation tax payments, value-added taxes, and other taxes paid by Carlsberg Group.

The dividends received by the Foundation are – as a main rule – tax free. However, other income received by the Foundation is subject to normal taxation.

According to the Danish Foundation Tax Act, foundations may reduce their tax payments based on the charitable grants and donations they issue, but only to the extent the grants and donations exceed the tax-free dividends received.

Charitable grants and donations paid are as a main rule taxable income for the receiver of the grants and donations. 

This means that the Carlsberg Foundation in all major respects allocates income already taxed in Carlsberg Group to receivers of the grants and donations who subsequently pay taxes when spending the donations.

The Carlsberg Foundation is – in line with other industrial foundations - not likely to pay additional income taxes if the amount of charitable grants and donations are at the high level that they have been historically.

According to the Charter of the Carlsberg Foundation, the Foundation donates grants to society by:

  • fostering and supporting the natural sciences, mathematics, and philosophy, the humanities, and the social sciences
  • granting funds to the Carlsberg Research Laboratory
  • maintaining and developing the Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle
  • granting funds for socially beneficial purposes through the Tuborg Foundation, especially in support of Danish trade and industry.