There is some – at least, anecdotal – evidence that HMRC have recently been making much greater use of their powers to make directors personally liable for the national insurance debts of their failed companies. The power derives from section 121C of the Social Security Administration Act 1992, which allows HMRC to issue personal liability notices (PLNs) when a company has failed to pay NI contributions and that failure is “attributable to the fraud or neglect of one or more individuals who were, at the time of the fraud or neglect, officers of the company” (known as “culpable officers”).
Businesses aren’t out of the woods yet in terms of financial security. Corporate insolvencies are down, but this might only be storing up problems for later. If your business is struggling financially, what should you do to try and keep the company running?
Corporate recovery and insolvency advice could benefit as many as 80% of UK businesses, this is the percentage of companies that face some form of financial difficulty in their life cycle. There are a million and one factors that can affect a company’s financial well being, which can include anything from the external issues of a poor economic climate, to a poor business strategy. Here are the top causes behind business bankruptcy.
Many businesses have been faced with seeking insolvency advice as the tough economic climate forces many companies out of business or at the very least into financial crisis.
Official statistics from the Insolvency Service revealed that during 2011, there was an increase of between 2% and 4% of businesses going into liquidation, when compared to the year before. The figures for UK businesses were in contrast to that of individuals.
If you’re chasing recalcitrant company debtors this may be a useful case to have up your sleeve. For directors of debtor companies it’s a clear statement that they can’t simply disregard their creditors and hide behind the security of the limited liability of their companies.
Since the credit crunch of 2008 corporate recovery amongst UK businesses has become common place. British banks have been accumulating equity stakes in hundreds of ailing companies they have lent to. It’s a trend that looks set to end with disastrous consequences for many businesses.
A business may need insolvency advice or be considered insolvent if it doesn’t have sufficient assets to cover its debts, or it is unable to pay its debts as and when they are due. If you monitor your businesses actual performance against your budget and the cashflow forecast regularly, this will give you an early warning of potential problems. You can then take action to avoid insolvency.