Particularly for the retail and hospitality sectors, the last year or so has been pretty bleak. Big names like Toys R Us, Maplins and Poundworld all disappeared from the high street, whilst a long list of others, including Prezzo, Carluccio’s, Marks & Spencer. Mothercare and New Look have shrunk.
The number of insolvencies of individuals in the year was 115,299, continuing a steady year-on-year rise which began in 2015. This gives the highest annual figure since 2011.
The Insolvency Services has recently published the official insolvency statistics for 2018. As widely reported, pretty sorry reading they make. Here are our thoughts on how 2019 may look.
How do you spot the warning signs of a failing business?
No man in this country is under the smallest obligation, moral or other, so as to arrange his legal relations to his business or to his property as to enable the Inland Revenue to put the largest possible shovel into his stores. The Inland Revenue is not slow – and quite rightly – to take every advantage that is open to it under the taxing statutes for the purpose of depleting the taxpayer’s pocket.
You may be a little surprised to see us commenting on the Chancellor’s recent Budget. After all, we don’t advise on tax issues. However, deep in the small print of the Chancellor’s announcements was one piece of bad news … really bad news.
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”).
Should we open an office in the London Borough of Walford? It’s probably about 12 years or so since the BBC soap Eastenders ran a story-line in which would-be catering magnate, Ian Beale, became bankrupt. His then squeeze, Laura, bought back his fish and chip shop from the Official Receiver enabling the business to continue. But 2013 has seen a rash of real-life bankruptcies of past and current Eastenders stars.