In the event you are considering or facing a business closure or transfer, we have listed some important information below.
If you are a sole trader, the process is quite straightforward. You simply cease trading and inform your clients and suppliers that you are no longer in business. You need to retain financial and other records for 6 years following closure.
You can cancel your tax and VAT registration with Revenue by filling out a Tax Registration Cancellation Notification (form TRCN1)(pdf).
If your business is incorporated as a company, you may wish to close it due to retirement or personal reason. Liquidation is the process of winding up a company so that it no longer exists, by using its assets to pay its debts. A liquidator is the person appointed to wind up the company and whose principal function is to dispose of the company’s assets, pay or settle its debts and distribute any surplus to its members. When a company is in liquidation, the liquidator usually takes over the powers of the directors. There are 2 types of voluntary liquidation as follows:
Members’ voluntary liquidation: This is when the members of a company that can pay its debts decide to wind it up. Part of this process is that a majority of the business directors must make a declaration of solvency. This declaration means that they have enquired into the affairs of the company and believe that it would be able to pay its debts within a certain period.
Creditors’ voluntary liquidation: This is when a company is unable to pay its debts when they are due. Sometimes this happens when a members’ voluntary liquidation is converted into a creditors’ voluntary liquidation. In other cases, it is when the members of a company decide that the company’s debts are such that it should be dissolved as a creditors’ voluntary liquidation.
Involuntary liquidation means that a company is wound up by the court. This happens mainly at the initiation of any member or creditor of the company. In some circumstances, it can happen by order of the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation. The court appoints the liquidator and supervises the liquidation process.
A receiver may be appointed by the court or when a loan agreement is being enforced. The receiver is appointed to take control of the assets of the company that have been used to secure a loan, such as a mortgage. Where a loan is secured on certain company assets, the receiver sells these assets on behalf of the lender.
If a company goes into examinership, it means that the company's financial health is ailing, but that the company is still potentially viable. An examiner is a person appointed to a company by the Court to assess the company’s position and prepare a rescue plan for the company.
Employees and Closing a Business
When a business is closed, the law protects the rights of employees.
If you no longer require the services of some of your employees (because you are in financial difficulties or you are reorganising your firm) you may need to make them redundant. All eligible employees are entitled to a statutory redundancy payment when they are made redundant.
You must ensure that fair procedures are followed. These include fair selection criteria, giving the employee at least 2 weeks’ notice and paying the redundancy payment due to the employee on the date of dismissal. Your employees may be entitled to bring a claim for unfair dismissal if they consider that they were unfairly selected for redundancy or consider that a genuine redundancy situation did not exist.