0800 644 6080
Call FREE from Landline and Mobile
Est. 1989

Cheap company liquidation – is it possible?

Licensed UK Insolvency Practitioners FREE Meeting for Company Directors

We can help with serious company debts, HMRC and creditor pressure, VAT/PAYE/Tax arrears, cashflow problems and raising finance.

Cheap company liquidation – is it possible?

Reviewed: 21st May 2019

Cheap or Free Company Liquidation – is it Possible?

If your company is struggling to pay the bills and you’re concerned about insolvency, you may be wondering whether it’s possible to liquidate a company cheaply. The straightforward answer to this is “yes” but there are a number of issues that you need to consider.

Liquidation is a complex process that must be carried out by a licensed insolvency practitioner (IP), so the procedure does incur professional fees. These fees may seem expensive at first glance, especially if you compare them with quotes from some unlicensed insolvency ‘experts,’ but it’s crucial not to appoint unregulated practitioners simply because it’s the cheaper option.

The consequences of doing so can be expensive in the long run, and not only in financial terms. Directors who fail to follow statutory process when their company is liquidated face sanctions on a personal level, and if creditors are adversely affected in the process, potential disqualification for up to 15 years.

Avoiding cheap liquidations by unlicensed insolvency ‘experts’

It’s a common process for unlicensed and unregulated insolvency ‘specialists’ to charge you a fee and then simply refer you to a licensed IP to carry out the process, so essentially you’re paying twice.  

In order to avoid problems in the future, you also need to be aware of other pieces of advice that are commonly offered by unregulated insolvency advisors, including:

  • You can dissolve your company even though it has debts

Company dissolution only costs £10, but it’s highly likely that HMRC and/or other creditors will object to the application on the grounds that they’re owed money - rogue advisors are unlikely to tell you that the company can be reinstated to the register if creditors object. This is sometimes referred to the Spongebob Plan and we have come across numerous directors to have attempted this method of closing a company only for them to later face an Official Receiver investigation after the company was reinstated to the register.

  • Pre pack administration is your best option

Pre pack administration sometimes involves the directors of a failed company purchasing their business assets and setting up a new limited company without the debt. This is a heavily regulated procedure, however, and assets need to be professionally valued - the practice of purchasing your own business assets at undervalue is against the law.

So is there a form of liquidation that can be carried out cheaply whilst ensuring you meet your legal duties as a director, and if so, how much would a cheap company liquidation cost?

Liquidating your company cheaply via Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL)

Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation is a process that offers a number of benefits to directors, and also helps to minimise losses for creditors. Being able to voluntarily place the company into liquidation offers you more control as a director, and there’s no need to wait for a creditor to wind up the company.

So what are the other benefits of voluntary liquidation?

  • It can be a cheap way to liquidate a company
  • Unlike dissolution, the company cannot be reinstated to the register at Companies House once it has been closed down
  • You can choose your own liquidator (for approval by creditors)
  • The risk of wrongful trading is minimised
  • You may be eligible for director redundancy

Voluntary liquidation costs around £4,000 on average, for businesses with relatively straightforward affairs, so how can you fund this cost when the company is insolvent?

How to fund company liquidation

Sale of assets

Business assets, including work-in-progress, are sold to repay creditors during the liquidation process and depending on the number and value of these assets, sufficient cash may be generated to also pay the costs of liquidation.

Personal funds

In some instances, directors may be able to fund the costs of company liquidation from their own personal finances. If you can fund the liquidation in this way it can help you avoid compulsory liquidation and a higher risk of personal liability.

Director redundancy

If your company owes you money, as a director you may be able to claim redundancy pay and other entitlements such as arrears of salary and holiday pay. You must have worked for the business as an employee for at least two years, working a minimum of 16 hours per week in a role that’s more than just advisory.

The money paid out in redundancy could be used to pay for the liquidation process, and as the average director redundancy claim is £9,000 there may be money left over with which to pay some of the company’s debt.

What about compulsory liquidation – how much does that cost?

If all other options have been exhausted with regard to voluntary liquidation – there are no assets of value to sell, you can’t afford to pay the cost of liquidation from your own personal funds, and you don’t qualify for director redundancy – being forcibly would up by one or more of your creditors may be your only option.

Compulsory liquidation costs nothing for your business in terms of professional fees but the potential cost to you and fellow directors could be significant, largely due to the level of investigation that compulsory liquidation triggers.

If anything untoward is found during these investigations, the potential ramifications for directors include:

  • being held personally liable for some or all of the company’s debts
  • disqualification as a director for 2-15 years
  • criminal charges if fraud is detected

Clearly, Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation is the preferable route when there’s no chance of company rescue or sale as a going concern. CVL places the interests of creditors first, ensures you meet your obligations, and can be carried out relatively cheaply.

Is cheap liquidation possible for companies?

Cheap company liquidation is certainly possible for limited companies, but it’s important to obtain advice that you can rely on from independent licensed insolvency practitioners. To find out more about cheap company liquidation and the steps you need to take, call one of our licensed IPs at Real Business Rescue.

We’re a major part of Begbies Traynor Group, the UK’s largest professional services consultancy, and specialise in corporate insolvency. We’re able to offer you a free same-day consultation, and operate from an extensive network of offices around the country so you’re never far away from professional help.

Who we help
  • Company Directors
  • Finance Directors
  • Sole Traders
  • Accountants
  • Small Businesses
  • Large Businesses
  • Partnerships
Contact our team
Jonathan Munnery
Gillian Sayburn
Julie Palmer
Processing...
or Find your Nearest Office

Here at Real Business Rescue we take your privacy seriously and will only use your personal information to contact you with regards to your enquiry. We will not use your information for marketing purposes. See PRIVACY POLICY

Business Rescue Advice for Directors
Free Guide for Limited Company Directors
Business Rescue Advice for Directors
  • How to manage company cash flow problems
  • Advice on dealing with HMRC
  • Understanding rescue and closure options
  • And much more...
Free Guide Download
Desling with your Insolvent Clients
Business Rescue Guide for Accountants
Dealing with your Insolvent Clients
  • Helping you advise insolvent clients
  • Spotting signs of client distress
  • Exploring business rescue options
  • And much more...
Free Guide Download
Our numbers speak for themselves
75
Number of UK Offices
30000
Directors Helped
70+
Licensed Insolvency Practitioners