How much does it cost to liquidate an insolvent limited company?

Updated: 9th February 2021

Winding up a company that is unable to pay its debts involves the appointment of a licensed insolvency practitioner (IP). The process is called a Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation or CVL, and if you decide to take this route the liquidator will assume control the business on appointment and work towards bringing it to an orderly end. 

Closing a limited company in this way prioritises the interests of creditors, which is a major factor in any insolvent situation. The liquidator will identify all the company’s assets and liabilities, value and sell the assets, and distribute the proceeds to creditors in the statutory order prior to closing the company down.

Company liquidation costs

The liquidation fee will vary according to the size of the company, and the amount of work involved. Costs can range from around £4,000-£5,000 plus VAT for small limited companies with minimal assets.

This figure can be considerably higher for larger companies owning a number of assets, due to the additional complexity and time needed to wind up the company. So with this in mind, what are a liquidator’s duties during the process?

When a liquidator takes over control of an insolvent company they must value and sell any assets, and distribute funds among creditor groups in the prescribed order. The office-holder also undertakes investigations into the directors’ conduct during the time leading up to insolvency.

Using company assets to pay for the liquidation

In many cases, a director will not have to physically hand over the money for the costs of the liquidation. Instead the liquidators costs will be met by using company assets.

Before proceeds from company assets are distributed amongst creditors, the fees of the appointed insolvency practitioner will be taken first. This ensures payment is made for the liquidation without the director having to dip into personal funds to meet the cost.

However, in some cases, there will be insufficient assets remaining in the company with which to meet the professional fees of the liquidation. In this instance, directors will have to look elsewhere.

Using personal funds to close a limited company with debts

Some directors choose to fund a CVL process using their own personal funds, either in full or in part. Selling your own assets could boost the money available to pay liquidator fees, and if other directors take the same action, you may be able to cover all the costs.

Other directors choose to use personal savings to pay for their company’s liquidation, and some opt for a personal loan that they can pay off over time. 

When an insolvent company enters liquidation, all employees will be made redundant as part of the process, and those eligible will have a right to claim redundancy. This likewise applies to directors who were paid through the PAYE system and therefore also classed as employees of the company. At a time when money may be tight, a redundancy payment may be a much-needed lifeline to the director of an insolvent company.

Begbies Traynor can offer professional advice and assistance if your company is considering voluntary insolvent liquidation. We will provide impartial advice on the best options bearing in mind your statutory duties as a director. Call one of the team to arrange a free same-day consultation to discuss your needs – we operate from 78 offices nationwide.

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