Closing a Limited Company: What Directors Need to Know!

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Closing a limited company can have far-reaching implications, from financial and tax ramifications to legal obligations and responsibilities. It’s an intricate procedure laden with legalities and formalities that require comprehensive understanding and meticulous attention to detail.

Understanding how to close your limited company correctly is crucial, not just to comply with the law, but also to protect your interests and those of your stakeholders. It ensures you follow all necessary protocols and helps you avoid unintended consequences, which could range from penalties for non-compliance to unexpected tax liabilities.

This guide aims to shed light on this process. It walks you through the step-by-step procedure to strike off a limited company from the Companies Register, explores the different solutions for closing your company, and shows you how to navigate this journey in a way that minimises your tax liabilities.

Stay informed, stay compliant, and make the process of closing your limited company as smooth and as hassle-free as possible.

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Understanding the Process of Closing a Limited Company

Closing a limited company, also known as dissolving, striking off or winding up, means you are bringing the existence of the company to an end. It involves a series of procedures and tasks, including settling any debts, dispersing company assets, notifying all relevant parties, and finally, removing the company from the Companies Register.

Closing a limited company is not just a decision that you can make overnight. There are numerous steps to undertake and legal obligations to meet. Depending on the circumstances of your company, there are several solutions to choose from when deciding to close. These solutions vary depending on whether the company is solvent (able to pay all its debts) or insolvent (unable to pay its debts).

Voluntary Strike Off

A voluntary strike off is the most straightforward method of closing a solvent company. This process involves applying to Companies House to strike off the company and dissolve it.

Members’ Voluntary Liquidation (MVL)

For solvent companies with assets over £25,000, an MVL is a more appropriate route. This process involves formally winding up the company, realising its assets, and distributing them amongst the shareholders.

Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL)

If your company is insolvent, a CVL is a common route to closure. In this process, a licensed insolvency practitioner liquidates the company’s assets to pay off as much debt as possible, after which the company is dissolved.

Compulsory Liquidation

In situations where the company is insolvent and an order is made by the court for the company to be wound up, this process is referred to as compulsory liquidation. This usually happens when a creditor who is owed more than £750 applies to the court to get their money back.

Each of these solutions has its own procedures and legal requirements, which we will explore in more detail further on. It’s important to note that, while the process can seem daunting, expert guidance from a licensed insolvency practitioner can simplify the process and help ensure you fulfil all your legal obligations.

Steps to Strike Off a Limited Company from the Companies Register

Striking off a company is a serious decision, and it’s important to approach the process methodically. This step-by-step guide will help you understand how to strike off a limited company from the Companies Register:

Ensure the Company Can Be Struck Off

Before initiating the process, confirm that your company has not traded or sold off any stock in the last three months, hasn’t changed names, and hasn’t been threatened with liquidation or has any agreements in place with creditors such as a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA).

Settle Outstanding Debts

Pay any remaining company debts. If your company is unable to pay its debts, it may be deemed insolvent, and you will need to seek advice from a licensed insolvency practitioner or a legal advisor.

Hold a Board Meeting

Conduct a meeting with your company’s directors to pass a resolution that the company should be struck off. You should keep minutes of this meeting as part of your company’s records.

Notify Stakeholders

Notify all relevant parties affected by the proposed strike-off. This includes shareholders, creditors, employees and pension managers. This is a legal requirement.

Apply to Companies House

Fill out a DS01 form and submit it to Companies House, along with the payment for the application fee. The form must be signed by the majority of the company’s directors.

Wait for the Gazette Notice

After receiving your application, Companies House will post a notice in the Gazette to give any interested parties the chance to object to the company’s strike off.

Company is Struck Off

If no objections are received within two months of the Gazette notice, Companies House will strike off the company, and it will cease to exist. A second notice will be posted in the Gazette to confirm this.

This process seems straightforward, but it’s essential to take each step with caution. The legal implications of incorrectly striking off a company can be serious, potentially resulting in fines or personal liability for company debts.

If you’re unsure about any aspect of striking off your company, we recommend you seek professional advice. Our team at Company Doctor is always here to help. As licensed insolvency practitioners, we offer advice and solutions to struggling directors with insolvent companies, including facilitating Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidations. You can call us on 0800 169 1536 or leave an enquiry on our website.

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Different Solutions for Closing Your Limited Company

When considering the closure of a limited company, it’s essential to understand that there are different solutions available. The best choice depends on the company’s financial situation, future prospects, and specific circumstances. Here are some of the primary options:

Dissolution or Striking Off

This method, as detailed above, involves removing the company from the Companies Register. It’s typically appropriate for solvent companies that are no longer needed.


  • It’s a relatively straightforward and cost-effective process.
  • Doesn’t require the involvement of creditors or an insolvency practitioner.


  • Not suitable for companies with outstanding debts or legal disputes.
  • Directors can be held personally liable if the process is not carried out correctly.

Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL)

A CVL is a formal insolvency process used when a company is insolvent and cannot pay its debts. It involves the appointment of a licensed insolvency practitioner to liquidate the company’s assets and distribute the proceeds to creditors.


  • Allows for a controlled winding up of the company under professional guidance.
  • Directors can avoid potential accusations of wrongful trading.


  • More costly and complex than striking off.
  • Could lead to investigations into the directors’ conduct.

Members’ Voluntary Liquidation (MVL)

An MVL is a process used for solvent companies, typically those where the directors are looking to retire or move on. It requires a declaration of solvency to confirm that the company can pay all its debts within 12 months.


  • Can be a tax-efficient way for shareholders to extract capital from the company.
  • Allows for a clean break, with all business affairs finalised.


  • The process can be time-consuming and involves formalities such as holding meetings and passing resolutions.
  • A professional insolvency practitioner must be appointed, leading to additional costs.

Making the right choice can be challenging. The team at Company Doctor is available to help you navigate these complexities. As licensed insolvency practitioners, we can provide expert advice and support tailored to your unique circumstances. Give us a call on 0800 169 1536 or leave an enquiry on our website.

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Ways to Minimise Tax Liabilities When Closing a Limited Company

When closing a limited company, managing your tax liabilities effectively is crucial. This can help to maximise returns to creditors and ensure compliance with tax legislation. Here are several strategies to consider:

Capital Gains Tax and Entrepreneurs’ Relief

If your company has assets that have increased in value, selling them could result in a capital gains tax liability. However, you may qualify for Business Asset Disposal Relief (formerly known as Entrepreneurs’ Relief) which reduces the tax rate on gains on qualifying assets. You should consult with a tax advisor to see if you meet the qualifying conditions.

Use of Losses

If your company has trading losses, these can be offset against other taxable profits. In certain circumstances, these losses can be carried back to earlier accounting periods to generate a tax refund.

VAT De-Registration

Remember to de-register for VAT when your company ceases to trade. This should be done within 30 days of stopping trading to avoid penalties.

Pay Outstanding PAYE and National Insurance

Make sure you pay any outstanding PAYE (Pay As You Earn) and National Insurance Contributions (NICs). HMRC can pursue directors personally for unpaid PAYE and NICs.

Member’s Voluntary Liquidation (MVL)

If your company is solvent and you want to extract the profits in a tax-efficient way, you might consider a Members’ Voluntary Liquidation. The funds distributed via an MVL are subject to Capital Gains Tax rather than Income Tax, which can result in significant tax savings.

Remember, navigating tax laws can be complex, so it’s important to seek professional advice to ensure you’re meeting all your legal obligations. Company Doctor, as licensed insolvency practitioners, can provide expert advice on closing your limited company in the most tax-efficient manner. Call us on 0800 169 1536 or leave an enquiry on our website.


In this section, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about closing a limited company. Understanding these aspects can greatly simplify the process.

Can I close my company if it owes money?

Yes, but the approach will depend on whether the company is solvent (can pay its debts) or insolvent (can’t pay its debts). If it’s solvent, a Members’ Voluntary Liquidation (MVL) can be used. If it’s insolvent, you’ll need to consider a Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) or administration.

What is the difference between striking off and liquidation?

Striking off is a simpler and less expensive process, suitable for companies with no or minimal liabilities. Liquidation is a formal insolvency process, handled by a licensed insolvency practitioner, and is suitable for companies with substantial assets and/or liabilities.

What happens to employees when a company is closed?

If your company employs staff, you’ll need to make them redundant before the company is closed. Employees may be entitled to redundancy pay, which can be claimed from the Redundancy Payments Service if the company can’t pay.

Do I need to inform anyone that the company is closing?

Yes, a company’s closure needs to be communicated to various parties including shareholders, creditors, Companies House, HMRC and employees. The specific communication requirements may vary depending on the method of closure.

How long does it take to close a limited company?

The time it takes to close a company can vary widely, depending on the method of closure and the complexity of the company’s affairs. A simple strike-off can take as little as three months, while a liquidation can take six months or more.

If you have further questions or require professional advice on closing your limited company, Company Doctor is here to help. As licensed insolvency practitioners based in Leeds, we offer advice and solutions to directors of insolvent companies. Feel free to reach out to us on 0800 169 1536 or leave an enquiry on our website.

About Company Doctor

When you find yourself in the challenging position of closing a limited company, you don’t have to navigate these rough waters alone. Company Doctor is here to offer professional guidance and solutions during these crucial times.

We are licensed insolvency practitioners based in Leeds, committed to providing expert advice tailored to your specific circumstances. We understand that every business’s situation is unique, and we approach each case with care, providing personalised advice that considers all factors.

Our range of services includes, but is not limited to:

  • Insolvency advice: We guide directors of insolvent companies through their available options and the potential ramifications of each, making sure they fully understand their situation.
  • Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL): If it is necessary to close an insolvent company, we facilitate CVL processes, handling necessary paperwork and liaising with creditors on your behalf.
  • Company restructuring: If there is a possibility to salvage the business, we can explore restructuring options to revive its financial health.

At Company Doctor, we empathise with the pressures directors face when their company is in financial distress. Our goal is to alleviate these pressures and help you take the necessary steps towards resolution. If you’re a director of a struggling company, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 0800 169 1536, or leave an enquiry on our website. We’re here to help.


Closing a limited company is not an easy decision, nor is it a straightforward process. It requires careful consideration, strategic planning, and, importantly, adherence to the legal obligations set forth in England and Wales’ legislation. Failing to correctly close a company can have serious implications for the directors, including potential personal liability.

However, remember that you are not alone in this process. There are professional services available, like Company Doctor, that can guide you through each step, help you understand and explore your options, and provide you with tailored solutions that suit your circumstances.

We at Company Doctor understand the difficulties and uncertainties you may face. Our team of licensed insolvency practitioners stands ready to help you navigate this process. We offer comprehensive advice and solutions to directors of insolvent companies, ensuring that the closing of your limited company is handled with the utmost professionalism and care.

Should you need any assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on 0800 169 1536 or leave an enquiry on our website. Your journey may be challenging, but with the right support, you can navigate this process confidently and responsibly.


The primary sources for this article are listed below.

Companies House – GOV.UK (

Details of our standards for producing accurate, unbiased content can be found in our editorial policy here.

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