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Ireland

Winding up

Updated 12/2012

Legal requirements

Under the provisions of Companies Acts, a company can be dissolved through:

  • Liquidation - when the business affairs are tidied up and the assets are distributed to owed parties;
  • Strike-off process - when a company is struck off the register of companies.

Types of dissolution

Voluntary liquidation

A company can be wound up in a voluntary liquidation by:

  • a resolution of the members following the making of a declaration of solvency;
  • a resolution of the members ratified by the Creditors.

Enforced dissolution

A company can be wound up in involuntary liquidation by an order of the High Court, at the instigation principally of any member or creditor of the company in appropriate circumstances.

In the majority of cases of both voluntary and involuntary liquidation, a liquidator is appointed and is obliged to file accounts under the provisions of the Companies Acts. The company is dissolved with an effective date three months from the date of registration of the final documents, or when the High Court orders its dissolution after winding up by an official liquidator.

Taxes & staff management

Tax implications and employment issues such as protection of employment, minimum notice and redundancy payments must be taken into consideration when closing or selling a business.

When filing for bankruptcy is the only option left for a business owner, it pays to cut losses, initiate proceedings sooner rather than later, and move on to a new business project.

Administrative procedures

Deregistration

Business deregistration

In order for you (the member(s)) to voluntarily wind up your company, you must make a declaration of solvency to the Companies Registration Office (CRO) stating that the company will be able to pay its debts in full within 12 months from the commencement of the winding up. Also within 28 days of the making of the declaration of solvency, the members must pass a special resolution to wind up and appoint a liquidator.

The resolution to wind up must be advertised in the Irish State Gazette (Iris Oifigiúil), within 14 days after the passing of the resolution.

Further conditions and deadlines apply depending on the duration of the winding-up process.

Other procedures apply if you (the members) are pursuing a voluntary winding-up with the ratification of Creditors or if it is an involuntary liquidation by petition to the High Court.

The statutory declarations (declaration of solvency) must be made before either a:

  • notary public;
  • commissioner for oaths;
  • peace commissioner;
  • person authorised by law to take and receive statutory declarations (includes practising solicitor).

You can strike your company off the register if it ceases to trade and there are no assets or creditors, by following the steps indicated in the Company Registration Office's website.

A company, which is still trading, can also be struck off the register of companies involuntarily and thereby cease to exist officially. Other consequences of the action include that the assets of the company become the property of the State on dissolution of the company. The grounds for involuntary strike-off can include the failure to submit an annual return to the CRO.

Other procedures apply for the termination of a business if it is, for example, in the form of a limited partnership, or if it is the branch or place of business of a foreign company.

Tax and Social security deregistration

In order to de-register for Corporation/Income tax, Value-added tax (VAT) and social security payments you should submit Form TRCN1 ('Form for the cancellation of Tax registration') to the Revenue Commissioners service.

Resources

Business access to state information and services (BASIS) delivers government information and services to businesses online. The information is structured around the lifecycle of a business, such as starting up, employing staff and closing a business.

The Small Firms Association can provide information to members on managing a business, including succession planning.

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association can provide advice to members on a range of issues.

Help & advice

Help & advice

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

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