20+ Years Experience

Specialist Insolvency Practitioners

Licensed Insolvency Practitioners

Insolvency Practitioners Nationwide

I Want To Close My Business and Walk Away

It’s a bittersweet moment when you decide “I want to close my business and walk away.” On one hand, you’re leaving behind a chapter of your life, while on the other hand, you’re opening new doors and embracing new opportunities.

But before you can truly move on, there’s a whole process you need to go through to ensure the smooth closure of your business.

This can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to dealing with legal responsibilities and financial implications.

That’s where this comprehensive guide comes in. We’ll walk you through the entire process, from understanding your business situation to handling outstanding debts and legal responsibilities.

By the end of this blog post, you’ll have the necessary knowledge and confidence to close your business, knowing you’ve addressed every important aspect, and confidently say, “I want to close my business and walk away.”

Understanding Your Business Situation

Before diving into the process of closing your business, it’s crucial to know whether your company is solvent or insolvent.

This determination will significantly impact the liquidation process and the steps you’ll need to take.

As a business owner, it can be challenging to make this assessment, especially when emotions are running high. But worry not – we’re here to help.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss the differences between a solvent business and an insolvent business, as well as what you can expect during the liquidation process for each scenario.

This information will provide you with a clear understanding of your business’s current situation, allowing you to make informed decisions as you move forward.

Solvent Business

If your business is solvent, it means that it’s capable of paying its debts in full. In this situation, the appropriate liquidation process is called Members’ Voluntary Liquidation (MVL).

This process allows a solvent company to cease trading and pay its creditors. Any remaining funds will be distributed amongst shareholders.

MVL offers beneficial tax treatments, such as distributions of capital gains instead of income. Additionally, Business Asset Disposal Relief can be claimed to reduce your tax liability.

Company directors must declare that the company is solvent to initiate the MVL process.

This resolution needs to be approved at a shareholder meeting. Afterwards, the company’s assets are liquidated, and any remaining funds are distributed among the shareholders.

All required steps are fulfilled. As a result, the company is deleted from the Companies House register.

Insolvent Business

On the other hand, if your company is insolvent, it means that it cannot pay its debts when they are due.

In this case, the appropriate liquidation process is Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL). The CVL process enables directors to comply with their legal obligations and safeguard creditor interests.

In a CVL, the insolvency practitioner will notify the creditors of the company’s situation and invite them to make their claims.

As a business owner confronting insolvency, it’s crucial to observe all applicable laws, including consulting with personnel regarding layoffs and securing legal counsel.

Additionally, it’s essential to be transparent with your creditors and follow the proper procedures to ensure the best possible outcome for all parties involved.

Navigating the Liquidation Process

Now that you understand whether your business is solvent or insolvent, it’s time to delve into the liquidation process.

This process can be complex and emotionally challenging, but it’s essential to handle it professionally and efficiently to protect your interests and minimize any potential adverse effects.

To guide you through this journey, we’ve broken down the liquidation process into three key stages: Preparing for Liquidation, Selling Company Assets, and Finalizing the Liquidation.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss each stage in detail, providing you with a clear roadmap to navigate the liquidation process and close your business smoothly.

Preparing for Liquidation

The first step in the liquidation process is preparing for it. This involves notifying all relevant parties about your business closure, including employees, suppliers, and customers.

It’s essential to communicate transparently and professionally during this stage to maintain goodwill and minimize any potential legal repercussions.

One critical aspect of preparing for liquidation is declaring your company solvent for MVL or insolvent for CVL.

As mentioned earlier, this will depend on your company’s ability to pay its debts. The directors of MVL must declare that the company is solvent.

A resolution must be passed in a shareholder meeting to confirm this. For CVL, the insolvency practitioner will notify the creditors of the company’s situation and invite them to make their claims.

Selling Company Assets

After taking the necessary preparatory steps, it’s time to focus on selling your company’s assets.

This stage is crucial because the funds generated from the sale of assets will be used to pay your creditors and settle any outstanding debts.

The process of selling company assets includes determining which assets to sell, assessing their value, locating buyers willing to pay fair market value, negotiating the sale price, and documenting the sale.

It’s important to have a strong team and corporate structure during this process, as it will make your business more attractive to potential buyers and ensure a smoother transaction.

Finalizing the Liquidation

Once you’ve sold your company’s assets and used the funds to pay your creditors, it’s time to finalize the liquidation process.

In a Members’ Voluntary Liquidation, any remaining funds are distributed among the shareholders, and the company is removed from the Companies House register.

In a Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation, any remaining debts are discharged, and the company name is also removed from the Companies House register.

It’s important to note that upon dissolution, any money or assets still in the business are transferred to the government.

Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that you’ve taken care of all outstanding matters, including taxes and legal requirements, before finalizing the liquidation process.

Handling Outstanding Debts and Creditor Claims

Dealing with outstanding debts and creditor claims is a crucial part of the business closure process.

It’s essential to manage these aspects professionally and responsibly to minimize any negative consequences and fulfil your obligations as a business owner.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss the importance of prioritizing creditors and settling debts before finalizing the liquidation process.

This information will help you navigate this challenging aspect of closing your business and ensure that you’re properly handling your financial responsibilities.

Prioritising Creditors

When it comes to handling outstanding debts, it’s essential to prioritize your creditors. This means paying secured creditors first, followed by unsecured creditors, and then any other creditors.

An insolvency practitioner plays a key role in this process by assessing your company’s financial circumstances and approving strategies for repaying its debts.

By prioritising creditors and following the advice of your insolvency practitioner, you can ensure that your debts are handled fairly and responsibly.

This approach will not only fulfil your legal obligations but also minimize any potential adverse effects on your reputation and future business endeavours.

Settling Debts

After prioritizing your creditors, it’s time to settle your debts. This involves negotiating with your creditors to reach an agreement that benefits both parties.

Some possible solutions include proposing a lump sum payment, a payment plan, or other arrangements.

By being candid and transparent about your financial situation, you can work with your creditors to find a mutually beneficial solution.

This approach will help you fulfil your obligations and give you peace of mind knowing that you’ve responsibly dealt with your outstanding debts as you close your business.

Tax Implications of Closing Your Business

Closing your business can have significant tax implications, and it’s essential to be aware of these potential liabilities.

Depending on the closure procedure and the amount of profit available to be distributed to shareholders and directors, you may face Corporation Tax and Capital Gains Tax obligations.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss these tax implications in more detail, along with the potential benefits of Business Asset Disposal Relief.

This information will help you navigate the complex world of taxes and ensure that you’re adequately prepared for any tax liabilities that may arise as you close your business.

Corporation Tax and Capital Gains Tax

When closing your business, you may face Corporation Tax and Capital Gains Tax liabilities.

Corporation tax is a levy on the profits of a company, while capital gains tax is applicable to gains made from the sale of assets that have appreciated in value.

It’s important to understand the relationship between these taxes and how they can impact your business closure process.

By being aware of these tax implications, you can take the necessary steps to minimize your tax liabilities and ensure a smoother closure of your business.

This includes considering the most tax-efficient way to complete your final tax return, such as using a Members’ Voluntary Liquidation (MVL) when appropriate.

Business Asset Disposal Relief

Business Asset Disposal Relief is a form of tax relief that can help reduce your Capital Gains Tax liabilities when disposing of your business assets.

This relief can potentially reduce the amount of Capital Gains Tax payable to as low as 10%, compared to the standard rate of 20%.

To be eligible for Business Asset Disposal Relief, you must have owned the asset for at least one year prior to disposal, and the asset must have been disposed of within a qualifying period.

By taking advantage of this relief, you can minimize your tax liabilities and ensure a more financially favourable outcome as you close your business.

Legal Responsibilities of Business Owners

As a business owner, you have numerous legal responsibilities that you must fulfil when closing your business.

These responsibilities include abiding by tax laws, employment laws, and environmental regulations, as well as maintaining company records and reporting any changes to the appropriate authorities.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss two key aspects of your legal responsibilities when closing your business: Personal Liability and Redundancy Pay and Allegations. Understanding these obligations will help you navigate the closure process while minimizing any potential legal issues.

Personal Liability

Personal liability refers to the legal responsibility of a business owner for any debts or obligations that the business incurs, regardless of whether or not they are covered by the business’s assets.

This is an important aspect of your legal responsibilities as a business owner, as it can have significant financial implications for you personally.

As a sole trader, you are personally liable for any debts incurred by your business, meaning your personal assets can be used to satisfy a court judgment against you.

It’s crucial to be aware of this liability and take the necessary precautions to protect your personal assets when closing your business.

Redundancy Pay and Allegations

Redundancy pay and allegations refer to the legal obligations of a business owner to provide compensation to employees who are laid off or terminated due to the closure of the business.

This includes any unpaid wages, vacation pay, and other benefits that may be owed to the employee.

As a business owner, it’s essential to understand these legal obligations and ensure that you’re properly handling any redundancy pay and allegations as you close your business.

By doing so, you can minimize any potential legal issues and ensure a smoother transition for both you and your employees.


Throughout this comprehensive guide, we’ve covered the essential aspects of closing your business, from understanding your business situation to navigating the liquidation process, handling outstanding debts and creditor claims, and dealing with tax implications and legal responsibilities.

As you prepare to close your business and walk away, remember to utilize the knowledge and guidance provided in this blog post.

By doing so, you can confidently close your business, knowing that you’ve addressed every important aspect and are prepared to embark on your next chapter.

We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I just walk away from my limited company?

Ultimately, it depends on the financial position of your company. If your company is solvent, voluntary strike-off is an option but doesn’t provide protection from creditors.

Alternatively, a member’s voluntary liquidation or a creditor’s voluntary liquidation are options that may be more suitable.

Whether you can close your limited company and walk away depends on the financial situation of your business.

It’s recommended to seek professional advice if you’re uncertain of the best course of action, as voluntary strike-off, members’ voluntary liquidation and creditors’ voluntary liquidation are all potential options available to you.

Can I close my limited company if I owe money?

You can close your limited company if you owe money. However, it is essential to follow the correct procedure and understand the risks of doing so.

Creditors can apply for a court order to pay off their debts and if you are deemed to be acting fraudulently, the penalties can be severe.

How do I permanently close my business?

To permanently close your business, you will need to go to your Business Profile and select the ‘Permanently Closed’ option under ‘Hours’.

Make sure to click on the link you will be provided with and then your customers/ clients will know that your business is no longer in operation.

Business Debt Information

Here are some other informative articles about closing a limited company in the UK:

Areas We Cover

About Insolvency Practitioner

We are Insolvency Practitioners based in Barking who are dedicated to providing expert solutions for financial distress.

Contact Us