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1 This guide will show you how to: Assess whether your business needs to close Close an insolvent business Understand the implications of closing down your business Consider your options for starting again

2 Exiting a failing business. Does your business need to close? Closing an insolvent business. Striking company off register. Implications of closing down your business.

3 Exiting a failing business and starting again. If your business is facing difficulties, it s important to consider your prospects and options. Sometimes, cutting your losses and starting over may be the best way forward Does your business need to close? If you re facing serious financial difficulties, it may not mean the end for your business, just that you need to make changes. Prepare a business forecast with the help of your accountant, and if the business has good prospects: identify ways of improving your cashflow investigate selling into new markets consider ways of cutting costs, even in the short term use a qualified turnaround specialist to improve your chances of success If the business is unlikely to survive it s important that you stop trading and try to pay your debts. Continuing to trade until you run out of money will lead to insolvency, and you may be held liable for wrongful trading if you are a company or partnership. See also: Dealing with insolvency

4 Closing an insolvent business If you can t pay your business debts or the assets of your business are less than your debts, you are technically insolvent. In this case you must take steps to make sure your outstanding debts are settled. You can try and do this through a voluntary arrangement. This means: a proposition showing how you will repay your debts is put to creditors at a meeting if 75% of the creditors by value agree, all creditors are bound by the agreement Payment plans can last a long time and you won t be able to close your business while one is in place. Alternatively, if you re a limited company you can: voluntarily liquidate the company be wound up by court order by any creditor owed 750 or more If you re an individual you can: declare yourself bankrupt be made bankrupt by any creditor owed 750 or more In all cases: an insolvency practitioner will be appointed to sell assets and repay debts anything left over can be kept by the individual or members of the company concerned

5 The process of closing down what to do and who to tell Closing a business takes planning, time and organisation. Plan a date when you cease trading and: stop taking new business pay all of your debts sell your assets run down your stocks tell your employees about redundancies inform your bank inform customers and collect your debts inform suppliers and pay off anything outstanding hire professional advisors where necessary Once you ve closed the business: tell HMRC in writing within 30 days apply to cancel your VAT registration within 30 days pay any outstanding PAYE and National Insurance within 14 days issue P45s draw up a final set of accounts and final tax bill consider if any capital gains have been made on the disposal of shares or business assets

6 Striking a company off the register A company that hasn t traded for three months can apply to be struck off the register at Companies House. You can t do this if you are subject to insolvency proceedings. To get your company struck off: fill in the companies house form DS01 and have it signed by the directors pay the filing fee give a copy to all shareholders, creditors and employees An advert will be placed in the Gazette to give interested parties the opportunity to object. If a valid objection is raised the company can t be struck off. The implications of closing down your business The negative effects of closing your business will be minimised if you conducted your business affairs in good faith and have repaid all of your debts. If your company was insolvent You won t be allowed to become a director of or promote, form or manage a company with the same or a similar name. If you re blamed for the insolvency you could be prosecuted for wrongful trading and banned from being a director for up to 15 years. If you were made bankrupt You can t be a company director during the period you are bankrupt. Your credit rating will be affected for many years and you may find it difficult to borrow money. Money that you do borrow will be subject to higher interest rates.

7 Starting again. Your options

8 Starting again your options If your business fails, it doesn t mean you ll fail again. A new business is a new start but it s vital to: spend some time analysing what went wrong, talk to people you traded with and learn from your mistakes work hard to network and build a good reputation learn all you can about the industry, markets and customers in your chosen field draw up a business plan, and discuss it with as many advisors as possible form a projected cash flow and identify your financing requirements well in advance choose the right business structure for your new venture start slowly A business owner with experience of an unsuccessful venture is likely to be even more focused on getting it right next time round. Be aware, however, that some of your new partners, suppliers and customers may be curious about what happened to your last business, so it s important to carefully manage the way you present the information: be positive and transparent: have a strong clear message to tell about what happened don t try to hide the truth: evasiveness could generate suspicion and backfire badly when someone finds out what really happened turn your experience to advantage: focus on the positives of what happened and show how what you ve learned from the experience will benefit your new customers

9 Useful links HMRC: Closing or selling a business Business Link s closing a business checklist Dealing with insolvency Companies House information on striking a company off the register

10 We aim to provide the highest level of customer service possible. However, if you experience a problem, we will always seek to resolve this as quickly and efficiently as possible. A copy of our How to voice your concerns leaflet can be obtained in branch or by contacting your relationship team. The complaint procedures are also published on our website: Contact us. While all reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information in this business guide is accurate, no liability is accepted by Bank of Scotland for any loss or damage caused to any person relying on any statement or omission in this business guide. This business guide is provided for information only and should not be relied on as offering advice for any set of circumstances and specific advice should always be sought in each instance. When using these services your agreement will be with the relevant third party and their terms and conditions will apply. Bank of Scotland shall not be responsible or liable to you for any failure by the third party to provide these services or in relation to use by the third party of any confidential information supplied to them by you. Please contact your business team or branch if you d like this in Braille, large print or on audio tape. We accept calls made through RNID Typetalk. Calls may be monitored or recorded in case we need to check we have carried out your instructions correctly and to help improve our quality of service. Bank of Scotland Business is a trading name of Bank of Scotland plc and serves customers with an annual turnover of up to 15m. Bank of Scotland plc. Registered in Scotland No. SC Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ. Bank of Scotland plc are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority under numbers Licensed under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 under registration number Both companies are members of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and the Financial Ombudsman Service. (Please note that due to the schemes' eligibility criteria not all Bank of Scotland customers will be covered by these schemes.)

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