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Kirks Insolvency Bristol Insolytics Award

We are the No 1 Insolvency Practice in Bristol

Kirks were ranked as the top insolvency firm by case volume in the year to 31st December 2018 in Bristol. This was by Insolytics a national insolvency data monitoring firm.

Kirks opened a Bristol office at Pure Offices in Portishead two years ago and has acted as liquidators and Administrators on several large cases since then.

In 2018 we started the year acting as Administrator of Oak Furniture Solutions Ltd, a company with over 3,000 unsecured creditors and multiple sites across the UK but with a head office in Avonmouth in Bristol.

By the end of the year we were appointed as liquidators of Bread Direct Ltd – a business established for more than 40 years with more than 30 long serving staff. We helped the directors lay off the employees and claim their redundancy from the government fund and close the company down. An online asset sale was held by Lambert Smith Hampton of baking equipment and vans on www.bidspotter.com.

David Kirk said “We are a South West based insolvency firm and can cope with smaller jobs or larger complex Administration or turnaround cases”. Clients like that they can meet us usually the same day they contact us and that we stay with them throughout the whole insolvency process.

We help clients chose the right insolvency process for them and walk clients through the process, outcome and likely costs.

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Poole-based insolvency firm, Kirks, appoint leading expert

Poole-based Insolvency firm, Kirks, has appointed a leading insolvency expert to manage the Poole office.

Scott Kippax has specialised in insolvency, recovery and turnaround situations for the last 20 years. His appointment will mean that Poole and Bournemouth based businesses facing financial difficulty will have the support of a local-company to offer the best advice for their situation. Scott is passionate about helping owner managed businesses and individuals that face financial difficulty and finding the best outcome for all concerned.

Scott Kippax, said,

‘I am delighted to join Kirks and head up the Poole office at the Arena Business Centre. We will be providing local, professional advice to support clients who may be facing financial distress. Seeking professional advice early on is crucial to securing the best outcome for our clients with many more options open to them during these earlier stages’.

Kirks is a specialist firm of Licensed Insolvency Practitioners who help and assist businesses facing financial problems and are licensed to act as Liquidators, Administrators, Supervisors and as Trustees in Bankruptcy. All initial meetings are free of charge where an assessment will be made of the options open to clients.

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Accelerated Payment Notices (APN) – What They Mean For You

Unpaid tax: accelerated payment notices

If H M Revenue and Customs believe you have been involved in reducing your tax bill using a tax avoidance scheme they can serve an Accelerated Payment Notice (APN) on you. This gives you just 90 days to pay the tax due on the notice and replaces any previous payment plan you may have had. You cannot delay payment by lodging an appeal although you can contact them if there are any obvious errors.

The main purpose of the APN is to make sure you pay any tax early, rather than having the cash flow advantage of you holding onto the money.

Am I at risk of being issued an APN?

A number of company directors are known to have been recommended tax-saving strategies by advisers and may not have knowingly avoided paying sufficient tax. A typical tax avoidance scheme ‘sold’ by advisers to tax payers involved an employee benefit trust known as an EBT. This meant tax deductible payments were made into a trust and then the trust made loans to key employees – with the hope of avoiding tax on the loans which were effectively income – as they were never paid back.

In the last few years, the efforts of H M Revenue and Customs have been increasingly focused on reducing tax avoidance. Any sign of any tax saving methods whether legal or not are frowned upon and certainly the press has joined in naming and shaming anyone associated with tax avoidance. This has also meant that HMRC have stepped up their efforts in clamping down on tax avoiding businesses and are making it more likely to be caught out if your company has a less than sufficient tax structure.

What should I do if I receive an APN?

If you receive an APN you should take immediate professional advice from your accountant or solicitor as an APN is only an interim measure – you still must settle and agree the final tax owed. This may be more than the amount on the APN.

If you have the funds you should pay the tax. If you don’t have the funds immediately you can contact H M Revenue and Customs and request a time to pay arrangement and they may give you time to pay the tax due over a few months or from the sale of assets. However, this may be unlikely as one of the purposes of the APN is to discourage directors from using any type of tax avoidance schemes in the future.

Taxpayers who receive APN’s are likely to be high earners with a number of assets who have used a tax avoidance scheme. Careful advice should be taken about whether bankruptcy or an Individual Voluntary Arrangement is the right solution for the taxpayer if they cannot pay the tax due.

Is there a way around paying the APN?

H M Revenue and Customs will do their best to retrieve any due funds as soon as possible; in extreme cases some directors have had to declare bankruptcy or sell their home in order to meet payment deadlines. It is important to note that only the taxpayers share of assets can be claimed so, for example, a jointly owned family home may be half owned by the spouse and they cannot claim that half share.

If the APN is served on a limited company and one that has a viable profitable business apart from the tax due under the APN, a pre-pack Administration may be the answer. This means the business can be sold to a new company without the old tax debts from the APN following through to the new business. The business can be sold to the existing directors and shareholders subject to it being valued and marketed.

Understandably, H M Revenue and Customs may not advise this but a Pre-pack Administration is a completely legal and legitimate process under UK law and is often used by companies in trouble.

It is important to note that the tax debts of a limited company cannot be transferred to the shareholders or directors. A limited company is a separate legal entity. If it closes and goes into liquidation then the tax liability goes with it.

Are Dividends Illegal In The Run Up To Insolvency?

The short answer is yes – you can only normally pay dividends from distributable reserves (money left over after settling all costs and which the business can afford to pay).

However in a recent case of Global Corporate Ltd v Hale (2017) the judge decided that what the director thought was dividends could be treated as salary and so did not need to be repaid. This will give some problems to liquidators trying to recover illegal dividends.

What were the facts of the case?

The company traded as a vehicle tuning centre with two directors and shareholders. It went into insolvent liquidation in 2015. The defendant director had been paid a combination of a small salary and dividends of £1,383 per month.

Each month the director signed the forms for the payment of the monthly dividend. At the year end the company’s accountant would decide whether there had been sufficient profits or not to pay these dividends. In the final year of trading this year end ‘check’ was not done – as the company was in liquidation.

The liquidator tried to recover the illegal dividends.

The judge decided that the monthly payments could not be dividends until the year end when a decision could be made. Therefore they could be salary. He also said repaying these funds would have unjustly enriched the company as the director was effectively working for a reasonable sum. Without this money he would not have worked for the company.

Conclusion

My advice to directors is make sure they keep a proper record of payments taken, have the dividend forms completed as well and to make sure the amount they are taking is a fair and reasonable sum for the work they are doing.

Devon Live look to Kirks Insolvency for explanations to increased business closures throughout the city centre

Following a number of recent business and store closures throughout Devon and the Exeter City centre, popular news source Devon Live decided to meet with David Kirk to discuss the issues facing the region and what may be behind the worrying trend.

Throughout the last 12 months, there has been a noticeable increase in businesses closing and popular stores disappearing from the high street. Businesses like BHS that were once a high street essential have been forced to close their doors on thousands of loyal shoppers, leaving many people concerned over the state of the economy and the safety of their own jobs. Unfortunately, this story is similar in towns and cities all over the country and if you speak to business owners, you’re likely to receive a number of reasons why the offline retail sector seems to be on the downfall.

Recent research also paints a relatively bleak picture of the high street economy, with average wages being overtaken by inflation and the rising cost of consumer goods, alongside a consumer debt crisis that only looks to get worse. So what’s behind the problem and what can directors do to avoid their business suffering the same fate?

Abbie Bray from Devon Live caught up with David Kirk in the Exeter high street to find out his thoughts on the situation. You can watch the video here:

 

What’s changing in High Street, with business rescue expert David Kirk

Posted by Devon Live What’s On on Monday, 25 September 2017

 

It’s clear that people around the City are concerned by the recent business closures, which is more than understandable since thousands of people are employed directly by the retail sector. During the video, it’s discussed how rising employment costs, business overheads and substantial rent costs as just a few of the primary reasons why individual stores are struggling to cope. Most high streets today are filled with well-known chains and although this gives consumers peace of mind about the quality and service they’re getting, can also drive up the rent costs and make it much harder for smaller independent shops to gain adequate customer footfall.

It’ll be interesting to see how the UK high street will adapt over the next few years and how storeowners will cope with the increasing pressures put upon them by rising costs and the competitiveness of online shopping, but for the time-being at least, it looks like the high street is here to stay.

If your business is struggling and you’re considering your options, call Kirks Insolvency for a free confidential discussion about the best route for you.

Members Voluntary Liquidation Process Guide

Members Voluntary Liquidation: A step by step process

We’ve put a handy guide together to help directors who may be thinking about a Members Voluntary Liquidation (MVL) gain a simple overview of the processes involved. If you’re unsure about what exactly an MVL is, read what is an MVL? first.
Day 1

First, we draft and send the following documents to the directors:

  1. An engagement letter.
  2. The directors board minutes to agree to a Members Voluntary Liquidation.
  3. A notice to hold a meeting of shareholders (to decide on liquidation).
  4. The resolution of shareholders appointing a liquidator.
  5. A statutory declaration of solvency. This is effectively a current balance sheet which must be sworn as true before a solicitor.
  6. The certificate of appointment of a liquidator.
  7. A deed of guarantee and indemnity. The purpose of this is to cover us to pay you out in seven days.

Note that there are no creditors meetings and all of the paperwork can be done by post.

Day 2


The directors and shareholders review the above paperwork, before signing and returning it to us. The declaration of solvency must be sworn by a majority of the directors before an independent solicitor.

Day 3


All of the company bank funds are transferred to our designated client account. Banks will freeze the bank account on the date of liquidation, so this needs to happen before that date (so we can then pay the money out). We always ensure all funds are handled and stored securely for complete peace of mind.

Day 4


The company then officially goes into liquidation. Notice of the Liquidator’s appointment will be sent to The Registrar of Companies and is also advertised in the London Gazette. Any creditors will be given 21 days’ notice to make a claim in the liquidation. Find out more about how long a company can stay in liquidation.

Day 5


We will then calculate the distribution due to the individual shareholders. Some funds are held back to cover the fees and disbursements of placing the company into liquidation, together with any amounts which may be due to creditors.

Day 90


Before the Members Voluntary Liquidation can be closed we need tax clearance from HM Revenue and Customs. They will request that all tax and vat returns and filed up to the date of the liquidation and all payments have been made. Once clearance has been received a final report is sent to the shareholders detailing the receipts and payments of the liquidation. A final account will then be sent to The Registrar of Companies and the company will be categorised as dissolved.

If you’re looking for more information, visit our Members Voluntary Liquidation page.

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Alison Byrne, Licensed Insolvency Practitioner joins Kirks Insolvency in Bristol

We are pleased to announce that well-known local Insolvency Practitioner Alison Byrne is joining Kirks Insolvency to head up the Bristol office of Kirks. Alison took over the family firm Byrne Associates in the year 2000.

Alison has of late been specialising in turnaround work and helping struggling businesses and charities avoid formal insolvency.

Alison, who lives in Portishead, will now cover the Bristol area for Kirks Insolvency dealing with Liquidations, Administrations, Company Voluntary Arrangements and personal insolvency advice.

David Kirk said “I am really pleased to have Alison Byrne join us. We have worked together for a number of years and she is well known in the Bristol business community having dealt with many high profile insolvency cases”.

The Kirks Insolvency office will be based at the offices formerly used by Byrne Associates at Farleigh House, Flax Bourton in Bristol. The office telephone number is 0117 332 3844.

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How fast can I liquidate a company under the new insolvency rules?

The answer is seven days. New insolvency rules came in on the 6th April 2017 which has changed the way companies go into liquidation. There is no longer a need for a physical creditors meeting unless 10% of creditors request it.

From the 6th April 2017 the procedure to liquidate a company will be:

Day 1

Directors sign a board resolution to liquidate using a creditor’s voluntary liquidation and sign a short notice to shareholders.

The Insolvency Practitioner the writes or emails all creditors and shareholders of the intention to liquidate on day 7. The creditors are invited to join a virtual meeting or not (if not it is by deemed consent).

Day 4

The Insolvency Practitioner will send out a report to creditors (or make it available online) showing the statement of affairs as prepared by the directors and a report (called a SIP 6 report). The SIP report summarises he company details, a brief history of the business and a list of all known creditors and shareholders.

Day 7

The shareholders meet (if they have given consent to short notice) and pass the resolution to liquidate.

Shortly after that creditors meet by a virtual meeting – meaning they telephone in to a meeting or join by video conference facilities.

Sometimes the meeting may not be a virtual meeting – it can be by deemed consent. This means the directors have decided no virtual meeting is needed. If no one owed above 10% objects then it is just deemed to go into liquidation at 23.59 hours that day.

If creditors want a physical meeting, where they can attend and ask questions to the directors and insolvency practitioner then 10% of them by value need to request it. This meeting would then be called in another seven days time.

new Insolvency Rules

An easier time for directors under the new Insolvency Rules?

The Insolvency Rules 1986 are being replaced by the new Insolvency Rules 2016 that will come into effect on the 6th April 2017. The overall purpose is to reduce red tape, make communication with creditors easier (using the internet) and trying to make the whole process cheaper so as to increase the return to creditors.

The main changes that will be noticed by users of an insolvency process will be:

No longer a creditors meeting at the start or end of a Creditors Voluntary Liquidation
I think this is a mistake as it was a useful meeting for creditors to come along to and question the directors about what went wrong. In my experience the ‘naughtier’ the directors then the more creditors who would turn up to the meeting and the interesting issues would come out. I believe that these meeting gave a valuable insight into the company background.

However, if at least 10% of the creditors by value want a meeting then one will have to be called.

A company will now go into liquidation by just writing to creditors proposing a liquidation date and as long as no one objects then it will be deemed to have gone into liquidation from that date. Most decisions when needed will be made by post, email or virtual meetings without the need to actually meet.

Other changes
The new rules completely do away with statutory forms. These are replaced by just making sure a document or notice contains what it needs to.

Creditors can now completely opt out of communications. Also, the Insolvency Practitioner can just communicate by email with creditors where he has an email address for them.

If a creditor claim is for less than £1,000 then the Insolvency Practitioner can just admit the claim without the creditor needing to fill in a claim form and provide evidence. This will be useful for cases with lots of very small claims. A good example is a magazine company that has a large subscriber customer list.

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How to “Liquidate” for £10

If the Company has no funds to pay for Liquidation the Directors can take steps to apply for the dissolution of the Company. This means an application is made to strike the company off for a fee of only £10.

The following criteria must apply for a striking off:

• The Company must have ceased to trade for at least three months.

• The Company must not have changed its name within the last three months.

• The Company should not be subject to any legal proceedings.

• There should be no remaining assets.

• A majority of the board of Directors must sign the striking off application.

The application to strike off is made to the registrar of companies by completing and filing form DS01. You can obtain form DS01 from Companies House.

A copy of the application must be sent to all known creditors, shareholders, employees and any Manager or Trustee of a Pension Fund giving them the opportunity to object to the request.

If there are no objections Companies House will dissolve the Company within two months. The most common party to object is H M Revenue and Customs due to outstanding tax returns.

Directors should take great care and follow correct procedures when dissolving a Company by using form DS01. The penalties for offences committed when applying for dissolution include fines, disqualification and, in extreme cases, up to seven years imprisonment.

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