The Dutch Bankruptcy Act contains rules on bankruptcy, suspension of payment and the refinancing of debt.
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.
There are various stages involved in winding up a business:
- Sole traders can wind up the business by themselves.
- In a public or private limited liability company or partnership, the members or a shareholders' meeting must take this decision.
- Applications to dismiss staff: before winding up the business, you must request permission to lay off any staff working for you.
- Informing business contacts: let your business contacts know, preferably in writing, that you plan to wind up the business.
- Disposal of movable and immovable assets: what are you planning to do with your business premises, company assets and inventory?
- Terminate running contracts: for example, purchases and deliveries, rental and leasing, service and maintenance.
- Deregister your company: you must apply to be removed from the trade register of the Chamber of Commerce (KvK) and from inter-branch organisations and marketing boards.
Settling your financial affairs : before continuing any further, you must draw up a balance sheet and settle all tax debts. This is known as the fiscal settlement and is important for taxes on income, wages and turnover and also for transfer tax or social benefits. The only time you do not have to settle all tax debts is when you wind up a business and start up another one. However, it is best to seek professional assistance when winding up your company's financial affairs.
Information from the Dutch government can be found on the Antwoordvoorbedrijven.nl website, which lists at a glance all the various relevant dos and don'ts, e.g. licences and requirements, laws and regulations, taxes and subsidies.
Various subsidies and tax arrangements are available for entrepreneurs wishing to wind up their business.