Closing a limited company

You usually need to have the agreement of your company’s directors and shareholders to close a limited company.

The way you close the company depends on whether it can pay its bills or not.

The company can pay its bills (‘solvent’)

You can either:

Striking off the company is usually the cheapest way to close it.

The company cannot pay its bills (‘insolvent’)

When your company is insolvent, the interests of the people your company owes money to (its ‘creditors’) legally come before those of the directors or shareholders.

How you close your company depends on your circumstances. You can:

You can get professional advice from a solicitor or insolvency practitioner if you’re not sure which option is suitable for your company.

Compulsory liquidation

Your company might be forced into compulsory liquidation if you do not pay creditors.

You may be able to avoid liquidation by applying for a Company Voluntary Arrangement.

If the company does not have a director

You must appoint a new director if your company does not have one, for example if a sole director has died.

Companies House will eventually strike off a company that does not have a director but this can make it more difficult to manage any company assets.

Shareholders must agree to appoint a new director and may need to vote on it.

If a sole director has died and there are no shareholders, the executor of the estate can appoint a new director if the company’s articles allow it.

The new director can close the company.

Your company still needs to pay corporation tax and file a tax return even if there’s no director.

Let the company become dormant

You do not have to close your company if it’s no longer trading. You can let it become ‘dormant’ for tax as long as it’s not:

  • carrying on business activity
  • trading
  • receiving income

Your company will still be registered at Companies House.

You must still send your annual accounts and confirmation statement to Companies House.

You can keep a limited company dormant for as long as you want.