If a company is no longer required, it should be removed from the register of companies by application to Companies House to have the company dissolved. Voluntary dissolution is also known as "striking off". Before having a company struck off, it is important to make sure that all the company's assets have been taken out, and that all debts are paid.
Voluntary dissolution is where a company applies to Companies House to be struck off and dissolved. This is not an alternative to formal insolvency proceedings where these are appropriate, and in particular, not if the company is unable to pay its debts.
Note that Companies House also has powers to strike companies off the register if they appear to be no longer needed because they have not registered annual returns or accounts.
An application must be made by the directors or a majority of them on the official form with a £10 registration fee.
The application cannot be made if, at any time in the last three months, the company has:
A company cannot apply to be struck off if it is the subject of any insolvency proceedings such as liquidation or administration.
Once the application is made Companies House will put it on the company's public record. It will be advertised in the London, Edinburgh or Belfast Gazette (as appropriate).
Dissolution by Companies House and its effects
Unless there is a reason to delay (e.g. because of objections) Companies House will strike the company off the register not less than three months after the notice in the Gazette. From the date of dissolution, any assets will belong to the Crown as bona vacantia. The company’s bank account will be frozen and any credit balance in the account will pass to the Crown.
The offences can carry an unlimited fine and/or up to seven years imprisonment. Anyone convicted of these offences may also be disqualified from being a director for up to 15 years.
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