As the immediate past chairman I can confirm that the exams themselves shouldn't "expire" though showing that you've kept up to date with things post exams is likely to be an issue with whoever the proposed RPB may be.
Even if you are not planning to take appointments you can become licensed as a non-appointment taker if you wished.
Congratulations on passing and good luck with your future career.
If anyone is going to object...
HMRC are certainly the people most likely to object to any striking off - they often do this where they are concerned that there may be issues requiring investigation. This is much more straightforward pre strike-off than post.
If you can ease their troubled minds then I would agree you should do so.
With a number of companies being described as Zombies, and yet more being simply unused, there will doubtless be an increasing number of directors availing themselves of the simple and cheap striking-off procedure. They may use this where there has either been no trade or where trading has ceased and there are no/insufficient assets to pay for a formal process and no creditor wants to pay to wind things up formally (voluntarily or compulsorily). Directors, who are in this position, may sometimes be encouraged by insolvency practitioners to underwrite the costs of a formal, most likely voluntary, process personally - I would encourage most to have short arms and deep pockets on these occassions. Especially where they have guaranteed liabilities and their scarce resources will be required to satisfy these.
Generally where there is a tax liability HMRC can be relied upon to put the matter to bed through a formal insolvency by petitioning to wind up companies / bankrupt individuals - it remains the case that a petition can be issued for a debt, or debts over £750 (although this limit is currently under review as it has not changes for some decades now!).
As a responsible director you should do what you can to dot i's and cross t's; hopefully only a few stamps will be required and in doing this you are covering your own backside with Teflon (R)!
I can't imagine I could have caused offence with the above and certainly didn't mean to. In esence - better to tell too many than too few.
Given the numbers, and that what the directors are looking for is best advice for themselves, not simply another job for the (currently short of work) insolvency profession... an informal full & final may be possible (need 100% to agree) failing which invite creditors to wind up, wind up compulsorily themselves (say £2,300 + VAT typically) or, if you really want to keep me and my kind in fast cars and loose women, CVL or CVA with all the bells and whistles...
A formal route may be better if there are employee claims to be dealt with. Given the duration of trading and the numbers it would seem unlikely that Wrongful Trading would be taken up especially as, on the face of this, they appear to be endeavouring to take every step possible to minimise losses to creditors...
A common distinction between Voluntary and Compulsory liquidation (especially from IPs after work) is that the job of the OR is to prosecute and disqualify etc. etc. that you are comparing BUPA (Voluntary) with NHS (Compulsory) - and who wouldn't choose BUPA... As ever you have to ask yourself who is giving the advice and what is in it for them.
Keep notes of what doing and why - contemporaneous notes - some defence against future accusations of wrong-doing. We always have the benefit of 20:20 vision with hindsight.
Companies don't tend to fail because their balance sheets don't balance, they fail because of cashflow problems. Being unable to pay your debts as and when they fall due is the other test for corporate insolvency (and the only test for individuals) and trading on a limited company after the time when a "reasonable director" would have stopped could give rise to personal liabilities on the Director through "Wrongful Trading". Their duty ceases to be principally to shareholders and is a duty to "minimise losses to creditors".
If you don't already have a good relationship with an IP I would encourage you to develop one (same goes for any accountant - get to know one before you need one!) - one you can get to know and trust so that you can get what is best advice for your client and not just another job for the IP! There are all sorts of pitfalls and traps when the wheels start to fall off. Directors should still be wary of any advice which requires them to pay for the IP personally, they should have short arms and deep pockets, especially where they have lots of personal liabilities through guarantees etc. Most cases referred to IPs don't result in work for that IP. Hopefully they will help you/your client see the wood for the trees and find a way forward, if there isn't a future then, in addition to all the costly options, there are lots of relatively low cost ones (directors, as well as creditors, can petition to wind up their company compulsorily) and if there is nothing in the kitty creditors could be informed and invited to wind up. The Official Receivers are humans too and no one should be persuaded into the arms of an IP simply to avoid the OR.
£10 to strike off - S652aOn the basis that it "paid off all its debts except the director's loan account" I only read this as being the director is owed the money and is prepared to take it on the chin rather than go through all the fuss etc. of insolvency knowing it to be of no benefit.
The Registrar will advertise the proposed striking off in the London Gazette (for company registered in E&W) thereby giving "notice to the world" and anyone with an interest can object, within three months, failing which striking off will occur - and all for only £10.
Sounds like a bargain, equivalent to about 2 minutes of an Insolvency Practitioners time!
Given other comments have mentioned ESC16 (not relevant in this case in my opinion) - The Treasury Solicitor, Bona Vacantia Division, has issued a new form BVC17 (March 2007 Edition Version 2) re use of ESC16 where there is share capital/undistributable reserves of £4k + and falling foul of the Bona Vacantia rules - may be worth a look.
BankruptcyYes & Yes. In addition to being subject to an Income Payments Order/Agreement for up to 3 years, having your dwelling house (if any) available to be dealt with for up to 3 years etc. etc. you will always have to answer the question "have you ever been subject to a Bankruptcy Order" with the answer "Yes". Whilst obtaining credit post Bankruptcy is quite straightforward (at present) it might not always be so and the T&C of borrowing are generally less favourable (although the impaired credit market is growing considerably).
Bankruptcy should not be entered into lightly without knowing all of the implications - what would you do if faced with a 15 year Bankruptcy Restriction Order/Agreement... Take good advice from someone who is going to give the best advice for the questioner and not simply the best advice to get themselves another fee.
Why not Bankruptcy?With a debt of £8.5k this is a bit sledge-hammer/nut (without knowing more). If able to pay £500/month could be subject to an Income Payments Order/Agreement for three years notwithstanding bankruptcy ending after just one (in most cases).
If the £8.5k is the only debt certainly wouldn't recommend IVA - if informal deal can't be struck why would a formal one given you need 75% of creditors to vote in favour... Would agree though that too many IVA might be the best thing for the IP, not necessarily the best for the debtor. This doesn't mean jumping into B'cy at the first hint of problems.
Keep your promisesI would agree with the tone of earlier comments.
Unfortunately it sometimes seems that there are only two ways to deal with these (Crown Debt) issues, the debtor is made bankrupt (by the crown) or the debtor pays.
Had the debt been less than £5,000 they could have sought a county court administration order and then an order for consolidation - unfortunately the limit on AOs has not increased for many years as it is felt IVA and proposed Simple IVA and NINA (No Income No Asset) will be cure-alls.
A couple of years ago a scheme (which I believe stopped last March) was rolled out by Business Link (based on a Leicester scheme) whereby the BL advisor would look at the situation and, if they agreed that an informal proposal looked reasonable, the Crown would run with it (more often than not). Unfortunately this scheme appears to have now ceased.
Circumstance will always alter cases and we don't have any indication as to assets that might be available if push came to shove. It is always more straightforward to negotiate re the can't pays than it is the won't pays. Poor compliance history will always stand against too.
Keep them informed, keep your promises, don't kill yourself in the process.
Treasury Solicitors LetterRegret that this was a letter to a client - we keep checking the website for an update too - nothing to date. Here is hoping for clarification soon.
Care re Bona VacantiaI absolutely agree with the use of ESC16 and then striking off under S652a (and this from an Insolvency Practitioner who could otherwise take a fee for doing an MVL!).
However, it may be worth keeping an eye on the Treasury Solicitors website re the share capital (and any premium) as, where this is in excess of their £4,000 concession, they might like to claim this under the bona vacantia rules (Source: Treasury Solicitors letter 2 August 2006)
The answer/suggestion re when best to call (re SA issues) was 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning... Any use?
Working Together Groups - Should Stay
I met with an accountant on Tuesday afternoon. I like meeting accountants as some 65% of my work is introduced by them. I mentioned to him my meeting that evening with my (Milton Keynes) WT group and I asked if he had any issues. Not surprisingly, perhaps, he did. We went through those issues and, being a bear of little brain, I made some detailed notes.
At the later meeting that evening, I raised both issues.
The following day I was able to call the accountant back and, to a large extent, satisfy him as to what is being done and why. One matter was resolved and the other was a known problem with a small % of cases where a "ticked box" was not having a desired effect and refunds were being paid out where they should not - this is an outstanding issue and I was able to refer to the detail.
I am involved with a good number of regional ACCA events and at most of these I am afforded the opportunity to mention my role in the WT group (MK being my second group) I invite contact - I am more than happy to be a conduit. Whilst I am a qualified accountant I moved over to the dark side some years prior to qualification and have been involved full time in insolvency ever since (1985). I would like to think that, as such, I'm better able to raise questions like the little boy in the Emperors New Clothes. For me to understand the issues I have to work a little harder than someone working full time in these areas. By the same token the HMRC team has to work equally hard to satisfy me that their answers are acceptable. I am perhaps less accepting of the answer that "that is just the way it is".
All my exchanges and all my minutes etc. are shared with my WT Coordinator at ACCA HQ and should anyone have a query that they would like taken to the next meeting (in 3 months) I would be happy to take it forward. They may need to explain it twice, however.
A question I have posed to my Working Together coordinator
What is the registered office for HMRC?
Every company has to have a registered office. Service of documents on a company is effective if made on the registered office. What is HMRC's?
We wrote to three addresses (including the S98 Notice team) about a meeting of creditors in a voluntary liquidation and still a petition was received (at the new RO, being our Head Office address) on the day of the S98 Creditors Meeting. HMRC kindly agreed to withdraw their petition, subject to costs etc., but creditors suffer as a result of this additional cost which could easily have been avoided.... So, why don't HMRC have an address upon which service of a document, properly referenced etc. can be regarded as effective service...