When a company is struck off the register at Companies House, a public notice is placed in the Gazette. This is the UK’s official public record, and advertises various statutory notices, including the intended dissolution of a company.
There are three Gazettes in the UK ‐ in London, Edinburgh, and Belfast – and the business’ location determines where the first Gazette notice for compulsory strike‐off appears. So what is the reason for this notice, and what are the potential consequences for the company?
When a company is forcibly struck off, a statutory process must be followed, and part of this is the first Gazette notice. Compulsory strike‐off can be initiated by Companies House, or sometimes by a creditor.
The notice advises the general public, suppliers, institutions, and other parties associated with the business that it will be closed down, and enables anyone wishing to challenge the closure to object.
HMRC, the banks, and others, regularly inspect this public record for notices that may affect them, and can act if they need to stop the closure. A creditor would do so in order to recoup their debt, for example.
The first Gazette notice provides at least three months’ notice to creditors of the intended action, and if no challenges are made, a second Gazette notice appears to advertise the company’s dissolution.
If company directors have consistently failed to file tax returns and annual statements, or to comply with the Companies Act regulations, Companies House may start the strike‐off process.
Common reasons why a first Gazette notice is issued include non‐payment of tax, non-submission of company accounts, and failing to inform Companies House of a new corporate address.
If after contacting the company there’s no response, Companies House will assume the company is no longer in business. Therefore, it’s important to act quickly if you receive a first Gazette notice for compulsory strike‐off from Companies House – the necessary action might simply involve bringing statutory filing and submissions up‐to‐date.
The notice in the Gazette can set in motion a series of damaging events, and quickly lead to a business’ closure. As we mentioned earlier, the banks inspect Gazette entries and are likely to freeze the company bank accounts, which would effectively halt trade.
As it’s a public register, customers and suppliers may also become aware of the compulsory strike‐off and remove their business or challenge the dissolution in order to recover monies owed to them.
Enforced strike‐off also means your employees lose their jobs, and cannot claim redundancy pay. You should also be aware that ownership of any assets remaining in the company on dissolution reverts to the Crown – a historic arrangement known as ‘bona vacantia.’
As you can see, there are significant implications of receiving a first Gazette notice for compulsory strike‐off. So what should you do if Companies House attempts to forcibly dissolve the company?
If you don’t want your company to be forcibly struck off the register, contact Companies House as soon as possible. You’ll need to address the issues that caused them to take their action, and make a suspension application.
If your business is no longer required you may not need to take any action, and let the process take its course. Additionally, a creditor might see the announcement in the Gazette and launch their own challenge to prevent strike‐off.
If your company does owe debts, it’s important to use voluntary liquidation if rescue isn’t possible. Don’t wait for a creditor to take legal action as it triggers significant issues for you as a director.
For more professional help on first Gazette notices for compulsory strike‐off, please contact our expert team at UK Liquidators. We’ll provide the reliable unbiased advice you need, and offer free, same‐day consultations.
If you are considering liquidation for your limited company, taking advice from a licensed insolvency practitioner can help you understand your options.
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