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Can I Close a Company With Debts and Start Again

Have you ever wondered, “can I close a company with debts and start again?” It’s a thought that crosses the minds of many business owners facing financial challenges.

However, closing a company and starting a completely fresh company is not as straightforward as it may seem. In this blog post, we will explore the complexities of liquidating a business and establishing a new one, along with the legal and financial implications that come with it.

Navigating the intricacies of the question, “can I close a company with debts and start again?” requires a comprehensive understanding of company liquidation options, employee transfers and contract changes, personal liability and debt guarantees, and strategies for building credit and managing finances in the of starting a new company. Let’s dive in.

Short Summary

  • Understand the different liquidation options available for a limited company and their respective rules.
  • Take necessary steps to protect personal assets when closing a company with debts and starting anew.
  • Utilise strategies such as timely payments, low credit utilisation, secured credit cards, etc., to build good financial foundations in the new business.

Understanding Company Liquidation Options

When faced with mounting debts, it’s crucial to understand the various liquidation options available for closing a limited company.

These options include Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL), Compulsory Liquidation, and Administrative Dissolution. Each has its unique process and consequences, making it essential to select the most appropriate path for your company.

Remember, it’s not just about closing the doors of your old company but paving the way for a new beginning as well.

Selecting the right liquidation option requires a thorough understanding of the rules and restrictions surrounding each path.

One critical aspect to consider is the correct valuation of company assets during liquidation. This is vital to avoid fraudulent activities and any ensuing legal ramifications.

Furthermore, company directors must adhere to strict rules to ensure a smooth transition from existing company to a new business.

Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL)

Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) is a formal procedure that allows directors of an insolvent company to voluntarily cease trading and engage a liquidator to liquidate the company’s assets.

Initiated by the directors of companies house to inform creditors themselves, a CVL involves holding meetings with both shareholders and creditors to discuss the company’s liquidation.

The insolvency practitioner appointed by the court leave the members and creditors has three primary objectives during the CVL process: to realise assets for distribution to the same directors and creditors, investigate the former company director’s affairs, and submit reports to creditors and the court, ensuring compliance with the company directors disqualification act.

During the 14-day period following the distribution of the report to creditors and government agencies, the licensed insolvency practitioner addresses all creditor claims, disposes of applicable assets, and submits the necessary documents to governmental authorities.

It’s crucial to note that directors may face serious consequences, such as criminal prosecution, a ban, a fine, or personal liability for the company’s debt, if they fail to fulfill their duties.

Compulsory Liquidation

Unlike CVL, compulsory liquidation is a court-based insolvency procedure initiated by a creditor presenting a winding-up petition to the court.

This process is not a voluntary arrangement, and is forced upon the company by its creditors. Compulsory Liquidation entails selling or closing the business, identifying and selling the company’s assets, contacting and receiving claims from creditors, and sending progress reports to creditors.

Upon completion of the compulsory liquidation, all creditors are fully compensated, and any residual assets are allocated to the shareholders.

However, it’s worth noting that it is possible to initiate a Creditor’s Voluntary Liquidation even after the compulsory liquidation process has begun, provided there is sufficient time, especially for a limited company with outstanding debts due.

Administrative Dissolution

Administrative Dissolution is an option that allows the director to retain control and avoid incurring unnecessary costs. Unlike CVL and compulsory liquidation, this process does not necessitate the participation of third parties or the intervention of an insolvency practitioner.

When properly conducted, Administrative Dissolution will not have any adverse effects on the directors. This option gives directors the liberty to wind up their company independently, making it an attractive alternative for those who want to maintain control over the company dissolution and process.

Starting a New Company After Closing One With Debts

Starting a new company after closing one with debts requires a comprehensive understanding of the legal and financial intricacies involved.

It’s not just about opening a new company; it’s also about ensuring that the company is set up for success and adheres to the necessary regulations.

Some critical aspects to consider include name restrictions, security deposit requirements from HMRC, and asset sale and valuation.

Before taking any action, it’s advisable to seek professional advice and plan carefully to ensure the process is completed accurately.

Restarting a former, limited liability company with debts due can be a viable solution for those dealing with debt, but it’s imperative to execute the process properly to mitigate any risks and pave the way for a prosperous new business.

Name Restrictions and Reusing Old Company Names

As per Section 216 of the Insolvency Act 1986, it is forbidden to use the same or a similar name as the old business when establishing a new one after compulsory liquidation.

This restriction is in place to prevent phoenix companies, where a newly formed entity is established after the liquidation of its predecessor, with the same assets and typically the same directors.

The old company name cannot be reused in general. However, there are three exceptional cases. The first exception is if the new company acquires the entirety or a substantial portion of the insolvent company, with the arrangement managed by an insolvency practitioner.

The second exception is if the new company can request permission from the court to reusing old company names or reuse the former same or similar name as new company’s name. The third exception has specific conditions that must be fulfilled in accordance with rule 4.230.

Understanding and adhering to these regulations is crucial for a successful transition to a new company.

Security Deposit Requirements from HMRC

When starting a new company after closing one with debts, it’s important to be aware of the security deposit requirements set forth by HMRC.

A security deposit is a bond or fixed security payment that is required if HMRC believes there is a risk of the company failing to pay its taxes on time. This deposit will be used to settle the balance if the company is unable to pay its taxes.

It’s important to note that property or high-value items are not eligible to be used as a security deposit for HMRC.

Understanding and complying with these security deposit requirements are essential for establishing a new company and ensuring its financial stability.

Asset Sale and Valuation

In the process of closing a company with debts and starting a new one, asset sale and valuation play a crucial role. Properly valuing and selling company assets during liquidation is vital to avoid fraudulent activities and any ensuing legal ramifications.

Additionally, it’s important to note that selling assets of an old company at a price lower than their market value is not permissible.

When a company is facing financial difficulty, it has the ability to offer assets at a reduced rate. However, it’s essential to ensure that the assets are sold at a fair market value to avoid any legal complications.

Understanding and adhering to the rules surrounding asset sale and valuation will help facilitate a smooth transition to a new company.

Employee Transfer and Contract Changes

When closing a company with debts and starting a new one, the transfer of employees and changes to their contracts are subject to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulation, or TUPE.

TUPE is a set of regulations to protect the rights of employees. It preserves their contractual terms, working hours and other entitlements.

However, there are exceptions to TUPE regulations that allow for changes in contract terms and benefits. Understanding the nuances of TUPE regulations and their exceptions is crucial when transferring employees between companies.

It ensures that the rights of employees are protected while providing the new company with the flexibility to adapt contracts and benefits to suit its needs.

TUPE Regulations and Exceptions

TUPE regulations apply when the business or a portion of the business retains its identity following the transfer. These regulations protect employees’ rights, ensuring that they are not left vulnerable during the transition between companies.

It’s important to note that there are no exceptions to TUPE regulations, making it essential for companies to adhere to these strict rules when transferring employees.

While TUPE regulations ensure the protection of employee rights, it’s crucial for employers to understand the implications of these regulations and their applicability in employee transfers.

This will help ensure a smooth transition for employees and minimise disputes or legal complications that may arise from the transfer process.

Changing Contract Terms and Benefits

Altering contract terms and benefits requires mutual agreement between the employer and employee. Employers should provide a valid business rationale for implementing any changes and clearly communicate the reasons for them to employees.

Consultation must always be a genuine and meaningful dialogue concerning the necessity of a change and what type of change is suitable.

Employees should be included in the consultation process and provided with the opportunity to express their opinions regarding the proposed alterations.

By involving employees in the decision-making process, companies can foster a positive working environment and ensure that any changes made to contract terms and benefits are fair and mutually beneficial.

Personal Liability and Debt Guarantees

Closing a company with debts and starting a new one can also have implications for personal liability and debt guarantees.

Directors may be held personally liable for company debts, even after the company goes into liquidation. This is particularly true for those who have signed personal guarantees or have overdrawn director’s loan accounts.

Understanding the potential risks and consequences of personal liability and commercial debt guarantees is essential for directors when navigating the process of closing a company with debts.

It’s crucial for directors to be aware of the potential pitfalls associated with personal guarantees and overdrawn director’s loans.

By understanding the legal and financial consequences of these actions, directors can make informed decisions and protect their personal assets when closing a company with debts and starting a new one.

Personal Guarantees

A personal guarantee is a legal agreement in which a director assumes responsibility for the company’s debts should the company be unable to pay them.

When a director signs a personal guarantee for company borrowing, they become personally responsible for repaying the debt if the business is unable to do so.

This can have severe consequences for the director, as their personal assets may be at risk if the company fails to meet its financial obligations.

It’s imperative for directors to understand the risks associated with signing personal guarantees and to carefully consider their options before committing to such an agreement.

By being aware of the potential consequences and seeking professional advice, directors can make informed decisions that protect their personal assets and minimise the risks associated with personal guarantees.

Overdrawn Director’s Loans

An overdrawn director’s loan occurs when a director withdraws more funds from a company than they have contributed, resulting in a negative balance in their director’s loan account.

If a company goes into liquidation with an overdrawn director’s loan, the liquidator will take action for up to five years for up to five years to ensure the debt is repaid, potentially putting all the creditors and director’s personal assets at risk.

Directors should be aware of the potential consequences of having an overdrawn director’s loan account and take steps to prevent this situation from occurring.

By closely monitoring their director’s loan account and ensuring that funds are not withdrawn in excess of their contributions, directors can protect their personal assets and mitigate the risks associated with overdrawn director’s loans.

Building Credit and Managing Finances in the New Company

Building credit and managing finances in a new company after closing one with debts can be challenging due to poor credit history and limited credit accounts.

However, there are strategies that can help overcome these challenges and set the new company on a path to financial success.

These strategies include ensuring timely payment of bills, maintaining a low credit utilisation rate, and considering the use of a secured credit card.

By implementing these strategies and diligently managing the company’s finances, directors can foster a positive relationship with creditors, access additional credit products, and ensure the efficient management of the new company’s financial resources.

With careful planning and persistence, it is possible to overcome a poor credit history and build a strong financial foundation for the new company.

Limited Credit Accounts

Having limited credit accounts can make it difficult to obtain loans or credit cards, as lenders may be hesitant to lend to someone with a limited enough credit account or history. Additionally, it can be challenging to gain approval for a mortgage or other large loan due to having limited credit accounts.

However, there are advantages to having limited credit, such as fostering a positive relationship with creditors, providing more favorable terms in the future, and helping to manage finances efficiently.

To build credit with limited credit accounts, it is important to ensure timely payment of bills, maintain a low credit utilisation rate, and consider using a secured credit card.

By taking these steps, individuals can gradually build their credit history and improve their chances of securing loans and credit products in the future.

Overcoming Poor Credit History

Timely payments can assist in establishing a positive credit score, which can lead to improved interest rates and loan terms.

Additionally, it may help to avoid late fees and other associated penalties. To effectively manage debt repayment, it’s important to create a budget and adhere to it.

Consolidating debt into one loan with a lower interest rate or negotiating with creditors to lower the interest rate or payment amount may also be beneficial.

To dispute errors on your credit report, you must contact the credit bureau that issued the report and provide evidence of the error.

Additionally, you can contact the creditor that reported the error and request a correction. By proactively addressing errors on your credit report and taking steps to improve your credit history, you can overcome poor credit and set your new company on a path to financial success.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you close a company with debt?

Closing a company with debt can be a difficult task. The directors of the company purchasing assets must attempt to settle any outstanding debts before commencing dissolution. If not, the company purchasing assets could go through a Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation process to repay what is owed and bring the former limited company with debts to an end.

It is important to consider all potential costs and implications before proceeding.

Can you restart a business after liquidation?

Yes, you can restart a business after liquidation by registering a new limited company with Companies House. Once the new limited company is approved and registered, it will be possible to open bank accounts, apply for financing, and begin trading again.

Can you close company with HMRC debt?

Yes, it is possible to close a limited company with HMRC debt. The most common advice is to cease trading immediately and seek professional advice to prioritise creditor interests.

A formal insolvency process called Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) can help protect you from misconduct allegations and offers other potential benefits. You can also attempt to either pay creditors off the full amount owed or enter into an arrangement with HMRC to clear the debt over time.

Can you wind up a company with debts?

Yes, you can wind up a company with debts. An insolvency process known as Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) allows the company business operations to be brought to an end and the company debts to creditors to be repaid as much as possible.

The first step is to appoint a qualified insolvency practitioner to handle the compulsory liquidation route.


Closing a company with debts and starting a new one is a complex and challenging process, but with the right knowledge and guidance, it can be navigated successfully.

By understanding company liquidation options, employee transfers and contract changes, personal liability and debt guarantees, and strategies for building credit and managing finances in the new company, business owners can make informed decisions and pave the way for a successful fresh start.

Remember, embarking on this journey requires careful planning, professional advice, and persistence. With determination and a solid understanding of the legal and financial complexities involved, it is possible to close a company with debts and start anew, opening the door to new opportunities and a brighter financial future.

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