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What Happens To A Company After It Goes Into Liquidation?
After a company goes into a liquidation process, its assets, i.e. property and stock, are "liquidated" - turned into cash for payment to the company's creditors, in order of priority. This results in your company being removed from the register at Companies House as it ceases to exist.There are three types of liquidation:Creditors Voluntary Liquidation Compulsory Liquidation Members Voluntary Liquidation (cash is returned to the members as the company is solvent)Note that shareholders and directors start the voluntary liquidation process. However, in compulsory liquidation, the creditors start the process by applying for a court order. What is Creditors Voluntary Liquidation? Creditors voluntary liquidation (CVL) is the most common process in the UK, with about 15,000 of these liquidations each typical year.Usually, the company runs out of cash and cannot pay its debts on time. The directors are concerned that the business is simply not viable as creditors threaten legal action. In essence, it is appearing as an 'insolvent company'.The company directors then ask a liquidator, who must be a licensed insolvency practitioner (IP), to convene a meeting of the company's creditors within 14 days. At the meeting, which is now often held virtually, the IP will present a statement of affairs of the company to outline the current position and explain the procedure. The creditors then vote on the appointment of the liquidator to "liquidate" the assets to try and repay them (hence it is called a "creditors" liquidation).Once the liquidator is appointed, the directors no longer have any control or duties in relation to the company, but they are duty-bound to cooperate with the licensed insolvency practitioner and provide information in a timely manner. The IP will then look into the directors' and if there has been very bad practice, misfeasance or fraud, they may become subject to a disqualification. What happens to the assets after liquidation? After the company has gone into liquidation the assets (if there are any!) are sold in order to pay back the creditors. The Insolvency Practitioner will often employ a Chartered Surveyor to achieve the best price so they can't be accused of selling assets on the cheap. Sometimes the directors can buy back the assets after liquidation but again they must be at a fair price. What happens to the debts after the liquidation? If the assets sold do not cover any or part of the debts then they are effectively written off. However, if there are some monies to be distributed then the creditors are paid in accordance with their ranking. See this page for the creditors ranking. Generally in a liquidation the unsecured creditors get nothing. What happens to the shares after liquidation? The shareholders are the very last in line for getting any payout from the sale of assets. So, basically the shares are worthless. Any shareholder can write these losses off against tax. What are the implications for the directors after the liquidation?As a director, if you owe the company money, i.e. have an overdrawn directors loan account, then the liquidator will seek to claim this from you. If the loan is substantial and not justifiable, they will take action against you. Personal guarantees will be called in if applicable as lenders are unlikely to get all their money back. The liquidator will investigate your conduct, but as long as you have behaved reasonably and properly then there shouldn't be anything to worry about. Be aware that the use of Bounce Back Loans to fund personal spending over and above what would be expected in normal times could cause you problems. See this page for more information. You may find that gaining senior employment in sensitive government departments/insurance companies and banking will be a bit more difficult as you may need to go through a "vetting procedure."Can the directors start a new company after liquidating the old one? You can liquidate a company and start the same or a new business again, but only under strict rules and conditions. Restarting is a potential legal "minefield" and you need to take proper advice.In summary;Most importantly, you cannot use the same or similar trade or business name as the liquidated company without leave of the court or permission from the IP. HMRC will likely ask for a VAT deposit from the new company if they have been a significant creditor in the previous company. You may find that business insurance will be a bit more expensive, or less choice, for you in any new company.Call us or read our Experts Guide to Creditors Voluntary Liquidation (see link below) if you want more details. Likewise, call us on 0800 9700539 for a free chat through your company's issues.Why not download our 2022 voluntary liquidation guide?Additionally, if you would like to liquidate your company, call us on 0800 9700539 or you can fill out a form on our www.liquidatemycompany.com website and get a quote in minutes. We can talk you through the process, organise the legal paperwork and begin proceedings. What Happens In Compulsory Liquidation? A compulsory liquidation is when the company's creditors have lost all patience to try to collect the debt. The debt must be over £750, undisputed, and the creditor must have notified the debtor of its intent to collect the debt. This often involves issuing a statutory demand first. If the debtor fails to pay the Statutory Demand in 21 days and does not dispute the debt, then the creditor may issue a winding-up petition.If the judge grants the winding-up order, then the official receiver will interview the director and liquidate the assets of the business to try and repay the creditors. This process generally takes much longer than a voluntary liquidation and is more stressful and hassle for the directors involved. What is more, the official receiver has more resources and a willingness to use their powers to investigate the behaviour of the directors. They will also have more resources to pursue any money that the directors owe the company which could result in personal insolvency. Can I stop the process? Once a winding-up petition is issued then it is difficult to stop the process. The only way to stop the liquidation is to pay the debt or get the petitioner to agree to withdraw the petition. It may be possible to get an adjournment of the winding-up hearing to allow more time to find the funds or maybe even get a company voluntary arrangement organised, but you will need to move very quickly! What are the implications for the directors in a compulsory liquidation? As mentioned earlier, it is likely that the official receiver will more aggressively collect monies owed by the director to the company. The directors have to attend a lengthy interview process at the court. They also have more resources to use their powers to investigate the directors’ actions compared to a liquidator in a voluntary liquidation. What Happens In A Members Voluntary Liquidation? A Members Voluntary Liquidation (MVL) is the formal process to bring a solvent company to a close. It can be known a 'solvent liquidation'. A licensed insolvency practitioner is appointed as liquidator and will realise the company’s assets, settle any legal disputes and pay any outstanding creditors and then distribute the remaining surplus funds to the company’s shareholders/members. In a MVL, the company must have paid or be able to pay all of its creditors and contractual liabilities. Once the liquidator has completed these formalities and received clearance from HMRC, the company will be dissolved and formally removed from the companies register, meaning it will no longer be registered at companies house.An MVL requires 75% of shareholders who have been given notice of the meeting of members to pass the winding-up resolution.This type of liquidation is appropriate when a company plans to close or wants to reduce taxes.And now to some common questions, we hear: What is the process? Each type of liquidation has a similar yet unique approach. There are some basic steps that each liquidation involves:The appointment of an insolvency practitioner/liquidator Liquidation of the assets of the company. Creditors, in order of priority, are paid using the liquidated funds. Shareholders receive any extra cash once everyone else has been paid according to their priority.In most situations, the end result is the company ceasing to trade, thus being struck off the register at Companies House. How much time does it take? This is variable to each situation. Once the insolvency practitioner is appointed, it takes between 2 and 3 weeks for the company to be placed into liquidation.Remember:If you have received a statutory demand from a creditor, you only have 21 days to pay it, and if unable to be settled, a winding-up petition will be applied for by the creditor (since they have the right), which takes up to 2 weeks. Within 14 days of the winding-up petition, it is a legal requirement to conduct and engage in a winding-up hearing.Until the process is fully complete, the liquidator remains responsible in overseeing the process in its entirety. To find out more about the role of the liquidator, see our page here. How much does the process cost? The costs of liquidation can put directors off but not doing anything is likely to cost you more in the long run! Generally, the costs start at around £4000 + VAT. This would be for liquidating a company with a single creditor, such as having an unpaid Bounce Back Loan (BBL) or HMRC. For more than one creditor issue, we would expect the fee to be approximately £4,500 plus VAT. For more complex issues, including companies who have landlords, employees, BBLs and supplier debts we will provide a written quote after our meeting with the directors to discuss the company’s options. Do get in touch to discuss your company’s liquidation, don’t delay and hope the problem will go away! Liquidation is a highly regulated insolvency process and there are NO shortcuts. Who gets paid first after a company goes into liquidation? Employees If you are an employee of the business, you may not receive your last month's wages, but you will be able to claim from the redundancy payments office for arrears of pay, holiday pay, and money in lieu of notice. You are unlikely to receive any expenses that are owed to you. Please see our page for employees here. A creditor of the company Realistically, you are unlikely to receive much money in liquidation - maybe 5p in the £1. If you are a secured creditor, i.e. if you have a charge over the assets of the company, then you may receive more or even everything back, but it completely depends. For more information on who gets paid first in liquidation then see our page on creditors priority.Read
Winding Up Petition in Scotland
We are a Scottish registered company and a creditor has threatened a winding up petition. Is the procedure in Scotland different to that in England? Yes. If a creditor issues a winding up petition your options are even more limited than in England. The reason is to do with the advertisement of the petition. To summarise, in England after the Winding Up Petition has been served, advertising cannot take place for seven days. (Please note that for the Petition to proceed it must be advertised no less than 7 days after service and at least 7 days before the Hearing). It is the advertising that can be the end of the company. Banks have a continual watching brief on the Gazette, where it is advertised. Once advertised they will almost certainly freeze the company's bank account, often the end of the company.The reason behind the freezing is logical. If the WUP is ultimately granted, any dispositions which took place after the service of the Petition can be claimed by a liquidator as void, or voidable. This is because the legislation allows the Liquidator to claim back any monies paid out which he or she determines were not in the interest of creditors as a whole. In that event, the bank will be required to repay any such dispositions (payments). The freezing of the account itself is not a legislative requirement as such, it is merely a mechanism used by the banks to protect their position against possible claims by the Liquidator. In Scotland however: The Winding Up Petition (minimum debt in Scotland £10,000) dates from the presentation of the Petition at the court offices; when it is lodged. At this point a First Order is given. This First Order is the authority to serve and advertise. At the same time, it is ‘Walled’. This is the damaging part! Walling literally means the the Notice is pinned to the Court notice board for all to see...including the company’s bank! What do the bank do on spotting the walled petition? Freeze the bank account...immediately!Whilst the respondent has 8 days to lodge defences, there is NO delay period for advertising- the Petition is advertised at the same time as service and, more damagingly, it is Walled immediately. So in this case, if the bank has spotted this (and they will...remember they hold a watching brief on all wallings) and frozen the bank account, how would a director or board of directors manage to pay staff, pay suppliers for on-going stock, or pay lawyers and advisors to help prepare an answer to the petition and a CVA proposal? Sadly the answer is often, they cannot and the company is fatally damaged by this knock out blow and not even make it to the lodgement of answers resulting in an Interim Liquidator being appointed by the Court, leading to Liquidation.One unfortunate side effect of this loss of grace period is that a petition may be issued maliciously and so damage the company. We advise clients in Scotland to lodge a caveat in both their local Sheriff court and the Court of Session. The effect of the caveat is that the court is required to notify the party who has lodged the caveat of the intention to proceed with the Winding Up. Then a Hearing will be fixed. If it is in a busy Sheriff court then the hope is that the Hearing might be a few weeks off. In a less busy court the opposite is the case. The important point is that some notice is given which will allow directors the opportunity to prepare answers and a proposal to put to creditors for the repayment of debt over time while the bank account is operational. This is obviously vital for the company to continue to trade during this time. A WUP can be the death knell for any company, especially so in Scotland so it is vital to lodge caveats, as a matter of course, and act quickly if you sense a petition may be about to be served. Often there is a solution – the trick is to apply it before a Petition is lodged.So if you feel under threat then DO NOT DELAY and talk to Eirlys Lloyd our expert advisor on these matters on 0131 242 0081 or 08009700539Read
What Is A Winding Up Petition By HMRC or Other Creditor
A winding up petition is a legal notice put forward to the court by a creditor. The creditor petitions to the court if they are owed more than £750 and it has not been paid for more than 21 days. The application, in effect, asks the court to liquidate the company as they believe the company is insolvent.Read
Linder Myers Solicitors Served A Winding Up Petition
Update 1 August 2023Linder Myers cases are now being handed by Gordons. You can contact Gordons LLP directly by calling 0113 227 0385 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.Hundreds of jobs could be at risk after HMRC issued a winding-up petition against law firm Linder Myers Solicitors.The 100-year-old firm, one of 14 legal brands run by Metamorph Group, has locations in Manchester, Chester, Lytham, York, and Shrewsbury.Three of these names—Linder Myers, Donnelly and Elliott Solicitors in Gosport, and SLC Solicitors in Telford—combine to form MLL Ltd, which was this week served with a petition for winding up.The group is "working hard and in collaboration with HMRC to resolve any outstanding matters in relation to our company MLL" a representative for the group told TheBusinessDesk.com.MLL is currently four months behind on its accounts for the year ending in June 2021.Donnelly and Elliott Solicitors, SLC Solicitors, and Linder Myers Solicitors were combined as part of a reorganisation, which resulted in a £2.1 million deficit for the 18 months ending in June 2020, according to MLL's most recent filed accounts.The company had more than 300 employees and assets worth £4.5 million at the time, yet its financial statements also had a signed promise from Metamorph Group to offer help for at least a year if necessary.The company stated in the notes to the financial statements that "Covid-19 has had a mixed impact on the group, with some areas such as trusts and probate and family increase in demand for services throughout the period and in other areas, the courts slowing down has reduced our ability to complete cases.“Furlough was used to help manage the financial impact of this situation, which also enabled the retention of key skills and capacity within the business.”In a statement addressing the action taken by its creditor, Tony Stockdale, the founder, CEO and Chair of the group, said, "We are working to resolve matters with HMRC and we are very confident of a successful outcome".He said the group had "a supportive group of shareholders and management team who remain committed to our strategy"."That said, the action of HMRC was a shock to everyone. As a result we will be making a number of changes in the business to avoid a repetition."Read
A landlord’s and tenant’s guide to commercial rent arrears recovery (CRAR)
For the better part of 250 years, landlords enjoyed the right to claim ‘distress’ for unpaid rent – meaning that they could seize (distrain) and sell their tenants’ goods to recoup the loss of earnings.The Rent Act 1977 stripped this right from residential landlords1, but commercial landlords continued to be able to exercise distraint until April 2014, when distress laws were replaced with the commercial rent arrears recovery (CRAR) process2, 3. So what exactly is CRAR? Like most archaic UK legislation, distress law was unnecessarily complicated and, many felt, rather unfair. The CRAR rules that supersede them are intended to be simpler and more balanced, with a greater focus on tenants’ rights than their predecessors.CRAR still allows a landlord to collect overdue rent without the need for a court order; however, it applies only to commercial tenancies, and the tenancy must be subject to a written lease. It can only be used to recover rent and any interest and/or VAT payable under the terms of the lease. Landlords: enacting the CRAR procedure Before claiming unpaid rent from a commercial tenant, you must remember the following:The arrears must be at least seven days’ worth or more at the time the notice is served and at the time of enforcement You do not have the right to seize your tenant’s goods yourself; they can only be seized by a certified enforcement agentOnce you have found an authorised enforcement agent, you will need to fill out a Warrant of Control form to enable them to begin enforcement action. The enforcement agent will then take over the process, issuing a seven day notice to your tenant in the first instance.If the rent remains unpaid at the time of enforcement, the agent will enter the property and take control of certain goods located thereon to be sold at public auction. Tenants: your rights under CRAR Firstly, you must remember that a notice of enforcement binds goods to remain on the property, meaning you cannot sell or remove them. You can, however, delay enforcement by applying to court for a delay of execution or a set aside.It is possible to enter a controlled goods agreement in order to repay what you owe over time. Under such an agreement, the goods will remain on the premises, but your landlord’s enforcement agent will be able to remove them if you default on your agreed repayments.If goods are taken, the enforcement agent must provide you with an inventory of everything seized as specified by section 33 of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013.If your lease has expired, your landlord can only use the CRAR process if:the lease ended within the last six months; the lease did not end by forfeiture; the rent was owed by you at the time the lease ended; you still possess some of the goods formerly located on the premises; you occupy the goods under a commercial lease; and your old landlords was, at the time the lease ended, entitled to immediate reversionBeing unable to pay debts, such as commercial rent, when they become due is a warning sign of insolvency. If this described your company’s situation, it is highly recommended that you seek insolvency or turnaround advice from a professional firm.References1. Rent Act 1977, s 147(1)2. Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, s 713. The Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013, SI 2013/1894Read
What is a Validation Order?
A validation order is where a company can apply to 'unfreeze' the company's bank account. This is a court order that essentially "validates" transactions going through the account and prevents a liquidator from holding the bank liable for money being withdrawn, whilst there is a winding up petition.Read
What is the effect of a winding up petition on a football club?
Firstly...what does 'being served a winding up petition' mean? If a company or football club has been served a winding up petition then it usually means that all previous attempts at settling the debt have been unsuccessful. As such the creditor uses the "nuclear option" whereby they say that the club has to be wound up as it simply cannot pay its debts. An application, or petition, is made to the High Court (this is the winding up petition) to ask the court to wind the company up. Southend United were the latest to feel this action. And the process? An application is made to the high court to ask the court to wind the company up.20-75 days after the petition has been sent to the company and a hearing is arranged in the High Court or Court of Session in Scotland, for the Court to consider whether it should put the company into compulsory liquidation or not.Note, the winding up petition has to be advertised more than 7 days before the hearing. This puts the process in the public eye and gives a very public indication that the club has not paid some of its debts. As expected, this makes everyone worry about the future of the club. Will the players be paid? Will the club continue to play? Will it be deducted points?For most businesses once a winding up petition has been advertised the business is in effect paralysed as the bank will freeze the account in order to avoid any "disposition of assets". Football clubs are not run purely for profit but also for pleasure by their (usually) wealthy owners. As such, the freezing of the bank account of the club does not usually mean that the club has to shut immediately. Money is often forthcoming from other sources connected to the owners. Of course, it is also not unusual for the monies outstanding to be paid personally by the owners to avoid administration. The personal circumstances of the owners are often complex and there are other companies that are involved in the actual running of the club. As such the effect of a winding up petition does not necessarily mean the end of the football club.But the petition pressure and director being worried about wrongful trading can lead to a situation whereby insolvency proceedings are taken by the directors. This usually involves placing the company into administration. The company must then enter a CVA to exit administration usually with a new owner or funder so it can regain its licence to play in the Football League, Premier League or the Scottish equivalents. The club will be deducted at least 10 points.If the CVA is rejected, as happened before in the case of Leeds United when the administrator sells to a new buyer, then a further points deduction is made - often 15 points. This led to two relegations for Leeds.Interestingly the CVA must pay the football creditors (players and leagues) 100p in £1 BEFORE any creditors like HMRC! Otherwise the CVA is not valid and further points can be deducted or the licence to play in the relevant league withdrawn the ultimate sanction. Given that HMRC are now preferential there is unlikely to be any payments for other creditors. HMRCs Involvement In the football world it is usually HMRC who serve the petitions as it is the main creditor (as of December 2020 anyway!).What is more, with the level of players wages, the total PAYE liability of the club is usually very high. Any delay in the payments of these amounts over the HMRC does give the club a cashflow boost. Updates At the most recent Owners’ and Executives’ Conference and AGM, a number of new rules were decided regarding the insolvency process and football clubs. The League’s Insolvency Policy has been changed to include the following:Football clubs are no longer required to enter a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) 12 points deduction for a club going into administration (up from 10 points) Continuing to support the Football Creditors Rule whereby football debt is paid before any other creditor (like HMRC). Administrators must have 21 days at least to market a football club that’s in administration, and meet the club’s supporters’ trust to allow them to put forward a bid. Buyers of football clubs (in administration) must pay back creditors a minimum of 35p in the pound over three years (or 25p if transferred by shares). If this isn’t followed, there will be a 15 point deduction the next season. If an individual buys a club with 10% shareholding or more, he/she must inform the Football League.The League wants to focus on strengthening their insolvency policy to make it fair to employees, supporters and creditors.A possible downside to the 21 days rule could be the club is on the market for a considerable amount of time. This could cause the business to lose value over time if suppliers and customers lose faith.Read
What Is The Difference Between Voluntary Liquidation and Compulsory Liquidation?
It’s important to understand what the difference is between compulsory and voluntary liquidation. Both are insolvency proceedings, but have very different implications for you, as a director, and for your company. What Is Liquidation? Liquidation is a formal insolvency process when a liquidator ‘winds up’ a company’s affairs. It sells all of the insolvent businesses’ assets and the proceeds go to as many creditors as possible. The proceeds are distributed in order of priority.By the end of the liquidation process, the company is completely dissolved and struck off the Companies House register. The Insolvency Service will also investigate the conduct of the company's directors. They will be looking for signs of wrongful or fraudulent trading.There are two main types of liquidation; compulsory and voluntary. As their names suggest, the main difference relates to how the proceedings come about. Compulsory Liquidation Compulsory liquidation is forced on a company by its creditors. This is usually after the approval of a winding up petition in Court.After approval, the Official Receiver will take over the company's affairs. They will freeze bank accounts and begin the investigation into what led to the company’s insolvency.A liquidator will be appointed if there are assets to recover. The proceeds from this will cover the cost of the liquidation. Any remaining funds will go to the creditors, however it is unlikely that they’ll receive anything like the full amount owed. It is the Official Receivers statutory duty to carry out an investigation into the directors conduct. Voluntary Liquidation Also known as a Creditors Voluntary Liquidation (CVL), a voluntary liquidation starts when the directors, and owners, decide to close their business as they cannot pay their creditors. The company has to be insolvent for this to happen. See this page to find out if your business is insolvent.The directors then ask us as licensed insolvency practitioners to seek a decision from the creditors and the shareholders as soon as possible (within 14-21 days) to put the company into liquidation with the liquidator appointed by the creditors. In most cases we will ask for "deemed consent" whereby a date is fixed, no earlier than 7 days into the future, and if no objections by creditors have been received then the company will be deemed to have been put into liquidation. The vast majority of liquidations (95%) are done this way now. However, in larger and more complex cases it is more likely that a creditors meeting is held.Neither the Court or Official Receiver are part of voluntary liquidation. The process is quicker than a compulsory liquidation. Which type of liquidation is best for you and your company? So, the main difference between compulsory and voluntary liquidation is whether or not the process was the director's idea. In both situations, the company is insolvent with no prospect of turnaround.The compulsory liquidation process is not ideal for any business. Disadvantages of Compulsory LiquidationWaiting for creditors to wind up the company suggests that directors were unaware, or ignoring, their company’s financial state. If the Official Receiver finds this to be the case, the director could be held personally liable for debts accrued since they knew the company was insolvent. What is more the whole process takes a long time. Being wound up by the court will appear on Companies House records.So, the option of a voluntary liquidation may be your best option as it has several benefits; Advantages of Voluntary LiquidationThe directors are seen to be acting proactively in the creditors’ best interests. This is very important when it comes to the conduct investigation later on. Also, the process is much quicker which means that employees can receive compensation from the redundancy payments office in good time. It also ensures that the directors remain in control of the process, and the company closes down in an orderly manner. This helps if the directors wish to create a phoenix company, or start over in the same industry. In a voluntary liquidation the directors can receive pre-insolvency advice about the likely impact of the liquidation on them personally and take appropriate action.How can you avoid being liquidated compulsorily?Paying the debt Defending the petition at court Entering a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) Choosing a CVL before the hearing ( this can only be done with permission of the petitioner i.e. they must withdraw the petition )If you are concerned about liquidation or your company’s finances, please get in touch with our insolvency experts today. They’ll provide advice tailored to your company’s situation, and suggest several options you can take.Additionally, if you would like to liquidate your company, call us on 0800 9700539 or you can fill out a form on our www.liquidatemycompany.com website and get a quote in minutes. We can talk you through the process, organise the legal paperwork and begin proceedings.Read
Winding Up Petition Dismissed Or Adjourned
In order to dismiss a winding up petition you will need to instruct a lawyer to attend court. A petition will be dismissed if the debt is paid before the court date or the judge deems it to be invalid or an abuse of processRead
Scunthorpe United Receives Winding Up Petition
HM Revenue and Customs has served Scunthorpe with a winding-up petition for an alleged unpaid tax bill. The petition hearing has been adjourned until the 1st March.Club chairman Ron Martin said earlier this week that he was committed to obtaining bridging finance which will "fill the 'funding gap', caused by successive relegations and loss of income during the pandemic".In a statement on the club website, he continued: "The money owed to HMRC is a legacy debt accrued during the period of the pandemic. Those bridging funds will, in part, be applied against the HMRC debt with a view to withdrawing the petition.Owner Swann is attempting to sell the National League club, but a takeover that appeared to be nearing completion last month has yet to materialise.Swann has acknowledged the petition's online publication but has made no further comment.Last season, the Iron were relegated from the Football League after 72 years and currently sit at the bottom of the division.Begbies Traynor, the company dealing with offers for the club, told BBC Radio Humberside that the winding-up petition "shows the urgency required by any potential purchaser".Read
Compulsory Liquidation – A Worried Directors Guide
Compulsory Liquidation is when a company is liquidated by the official receiver who is appointed by the Court. This process is started by a creditor issuing a winding up petition to say that the company company cannot pay its debts.Read