In August 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed KKR’s SEC Filling Form 10-K (Exhibit 21.1) for the year ending 31st December 2020. It contained a list of subsidiaries. The vast majority of these, numbering in their hundreds, were located in jurisdictions that The Ethical Consumer considered to be tax havens. These included Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Delaware (US), Guernsey, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jersey, Luxembourg, Mauritius and Singapore. Many of these were also high risk company types (namely holding companies) for the likely use of tax avoidance. For example:
Aerosmith Holdings LLC (Delaware)
Echo Holdings GP Limited (Cayman Islands)
KKR Ark Holdings Pte. Ltd. (Singapore)
KKR Europe V Holdings Limited (Cayman Islands)
Neptune Management Holdings, LLC (Delaware)
Raptor Investment Holdings GP LLC (Cayman Islands)
Furthermore the company’s UHC was incorporated in Delaware despite being headquartered in New York.
An internet search using the search terms “KKR tax policy statement country” found no country-by-country financial information or reporting (CBCR).
The company did have a UK Tax Strategy Statement dated December 2020.
It stated, "We analyse, and may avail ourselves of, tax incentives or exemptions to the extent they may be available in a particular case in order to mitigate tax expense to the extent legally possible in order to enhance value to our investors and unitholders. However, even where tax incentives or exemptions may be available, we still may not pursue them to the extent their use may carry with it significant reputational risk to our investors, stakeholders or KKR, or if there would be a risk of damaging our relationship with HRMC". This was not considered to be clear public tax statement confirming that it was this company’s policy not to engage in tax avoidance activity or to use tax havens for tax avoidance purposes; nor was there a narrative explanation for what each group entity located in a tax haven was for, demonstrating that it was not being used for purposes of tax minimisation.
Given that KKR had its UHC, as well as multiple high risk company types, located in jurisdictions on Ethical Consumer's tax haven list and no country-by-country financial information, nor adequate policy statement and narrative explanation, the company received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for likely use of tax avoidance strategies and lost a whole mark under Tax Conduct.