The billionaire Lowy Family — who made over half a million dollars in secretive “donations” to the Liberal Party weeks before last year’s federal election — paid zero tax on over $1.5 billion of revenue.
Three private companies owned by the former shopping centre tycoons — LFG 6 Pty Limited; LFG 17 Pty Limited; and LFG 22 Pty Limited — reported earning “total income” $1.5063bn between them in 2020-21.
Yet not one of the companies paid a cent in income tax, Australian Taxation Office (ATO) records reveal.
This double-checking is why there is a year lag in the data, and why data for the 2020-21 financial year is the most recent available information.
That the “total income” and “tax payable” fields are blank for LFG 6, LFG 17 and LFG 22 in the ATO report means those amounts are either zero or that are negative, such as a tax credit or a tax refund.
The ATO said it was not allowed to publish figures for zero or “negative” tax payments under its rules.
As revealed earlier this week, the Lowy Family Group, or LFG, is behind $550,000 in secretive political “donations”, all made in March last year and all to the Liberal Party.
“Donations” to the Liberal Party by “Oryxium Investments Limited”. Source: AEC
Investigations revealed the donations were made from an obscure Sydney company called “Oryxium Investments Limited”, which has no website, no telephone number and “no employees”.
The signed legal document disclosing the “donations” states Oryxium Investments Limited does not “operate or conduct business under any other names”.
As revealed, this is false because Oryxium Investments Limited is actually part of the private business empire of the Lowy family, estimated to be worth $9.8bn.
Annual donor disclosure form filed for “Oryxium Investments Limited”. Source: AEC
Submitting a “false or misleading” disclosure return with the Australian Electoral Commission is an offence under the Criminal Code Act 1995, carrying the penalty of “imprisonment for 12 months”.
Despite the seriousness of the revelations, the Lowy family has repeatedly refused to comment, regarding both the “donations” and the income tax paid by their companies.
Questions put to family patriarch Sir Frank Lowy, and to sons David Steven and Peter, received no response.
The Lowys are one of Australia’s best known business families, having created the global Westfield shopping centre empire, which they sold in 2018 for $32.7 to French property giant Unibail-Rodamco.
At the time, founder Frank Lowy said “we want to change our roles in the world … we would rather be investors than executives.”
“We would rather be investors than executives” – Frank Lowy
Investigations by The Klaxon show Oryxium Investments Limited is part of a complex web of companies forming the Lowy Family Group.
Oryxium Investments Limited, the only entity named in the AEC disclosure, is highlighted in yellow below.
Circled in green are LFG 6, LFG 17 and LFG 22.
A portion of the “Lowy Family Group” structure. Only “Orxium Investments” (highlighted) disclosed to AEC. Source: ASIC filings. Graphic: The Klaxon.
The ATO is required to publish annually tax information on “any corporate tax entity that has total income” of $100 million or more, and “Australian-owned resident private companies” with total income of $200m or more.
Companies are required to pay income tax of 30 per cent on their profits.
The first report the ATO published was for the 2013-14 financial year.
The only report that LFG 6, LFG 17 or LFG 22 appear in is the latest report, 2020-21.
Another Lowy Family Group company, LFG 16 Pty Limited, appears in the ATO report for 2019-20.
None of the other companies shown above, including Oryxium Investments Limited, appear in any of the other ATO reports over the past decade.
The 2019-20 ATO report shows in that year LFG 16 reported total income $211.18m, “taxable income” of $23.79m and “tax payable” of $6.35m.
The last set of financial reports that LFG 6, LFG 17 and LFG 22 lodged with corporate regulator the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) were for the 2012-13 financial year, lodged in 2013.
ASIC filings show that 100 per cent of the shares in each of LFG 17, LFG 22 and LFG 6 are owned by companies Tanguy Pty Ltd, Gomez Pty Ltd and Tangom Pty Ltd, respectively.
The shares in each of Tanguy, Gomez and Tangom are 100 per cent controlled by Frank Lowy, David Lowy, Peter Lowy and Steven Lowy, ASIC filings show.
None of the three companies have lodged annual financial statements with ASIC.
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