Ahead of the upcoming dividend payment, the Liquidator has asked all creditors to submit their bank account details and verify their claim amounts and dividends received to date. Unfortunately, it has been so long since claims were made contact person details and physical addresses have changed and so many creditors have not received the necessary forms that were mailed out to them in physical form.
If you are a creditor and have not received these forms, please contact Amicus and we can verify your claim amounts and ensure the appropriate forms are emailed to you and the Liquidator has your updated details (all at no charge). This is a task we have now completed for each of 36 creditors who engaged us to file their claims.
During March, Amicus attended the creditors’ meeting for the Lehman Brothers Australia (LBA) group of companies. The Liquidators have been adamant they were unwilling to pay final dividends until the ATO issues a clearance certificate for all the companies within the LBA group. This is because if the ATO subsequently presents a tax bill and all the assets of the group have been distributed then the Liquidators are personally liable for the debt. Fortunately, resolutions were passed at the creditors’ meeting that will enable all the companies within the group to be liquidated; a necessary first step in this process.
The Liquidators gave an update on the overall group tax position and their discussions with the ATO. They reported the initial $50 million tax liability has now been resolved and they had received rulings that no tax was payable after an “exhaustive process”. However, the ATO still needed to make the formal assessment and issue a tax clearance (being a final notice that no tax was payable) before the Liquidators could start the dividend payment process.
The Liquidators flagged that before they could submit the final tax returns to the ATO, there were some “ancillary matters regarding compliance issues” that needed to be addressed. The Liquidator is in discussions with the ATO regarding the documentation the ATO needs to determine these issues so the Liquidator can complete its outstanding tax returns.
Only when the tax issues are resolved and the tax clearances issued will the Liquidators start the dividend payment process. This is a process where the Liquidators need to announce the proposed payment of a dividend and call for any final claims to be submitted. The process can take between 35 and 60 days as a statutory notice period depending on potential creditor responses.
In Amicus’ opinion it is now looking increasingly likely the actual payment of a dividend will not take place until the third quarter of the current calendar year (the first quarter of next financial year), even if the ATO issues are completed in the second quarter of the current calendar year.
Lastly, for any potential claimant out there who thinks they may have a claim, time is running out to submit as once the final dividend is paid there will be no more monies left in the estate. If you have even the smallest doubt as to whether you may have a claim, please contact Amicus and we can advise you on this issue again for no charge and with no obligation. Amicus has prepared successful claims for 36 clients and is very experienced in this area.