Insolvency Practitioners providing expert turnaround & insolvency advice
turpin barker armstrong are a firm of licensed insolvency practitioners based in Sutton and West Byfleet, offering clear debt advice and professional insolvency services to both businesses and individuals throughout London, Surrey, the South East and the whole of the UK.
We offer bespoke solutions to our clients’ financial problems in a professional, confidential and sensitive manner. As insolvency advisors we always look to the positives trying to save businesses through turnaround & restructuring, Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVA) and Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA). If these are not possible our services include Administration, Liquidation and acting as LPA Receivers.
We can also help the entrepreneur retire from his business by way of a Members Voluntary Liquidation (MVL). This service may also be used when the business has completed its life cycle, or maybe you just need help striking off the company.
A company is considered to be insolvent under UK law if it is unable to pay its debts as they fall due or if liabilities exceed assets. Why not take our business insolvency test to see what options may be available to you.
Whatever situation you or your company may be in, we are confident that one of our insolvency practitioners would have dealt with it before. To get some free advice and discuss how we might be able to help you or your business don't delay and get in touch today.
We are happy to answer any questions no matter how small and find that seeking early advice can often be beneficial.
All our insolvency practitioners are regulated and licensed to provide corporate insolvency and personal insolvency services by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).
Contact us here or call us on 020 8661 7878
Critical dates for businesses in 2021
A first positive to consider is the Supreme Court’s judgment in the FCA’s business interruption test case which may provide a lifeline for businesses to claim for coronavirus-related business interruption losses. We shall see how this evolves over time and whether many businesses can benefit.
There is no shying away from the difficulties and with this we know it brings stresses for business owners and many sleepless nights. However, if there is a time to refocus on the position it is now whilst protection remains in place for many businesses and with Government support continuing in the meantime. The insolvency statistics demonstrate that these government initiatives have supported many businesses and enabled them to avoid insolvency since the pandemic started.
So what next?
Will there be an avalanche of insolvencies as many predict or will the Government go even further to stop this happening.
We do not know so let’s focus on what we do now and look at the key challenges arising in the next few months.
Winding-Up petitions – 31 March 2021
The protection for businesses from Winding-Up petitions will continue until 31 March 2021.
The Government have advised that this is the “final” extension to the protection. Therefore businesses need to be conscious of this deadline if they have disgruntled creditors. Creditors will be lining up to serve petitions from 1 April 2021 onwards and if a business owner faces the risk of a petition being received after the deadline then they need to plan ahead.
Protection from landlords – 31 March 2021
The protection for businesses form forfeiture of commercial business property has also been extended until 31 March 2021. If the expiry of this deadline is likely to result in difficulties for the business in a similar manner to the Winding-Up petitions it is important to plan ahead. If there is still scope to negotiate with a landlord then now is the time to see if a resolution can be found.
HMRC – Various
Firstly, business owners need to consider whether they can pay their deferred VAT from the June 2020 quarter in full by 31 March 2021. If they cannot then they need to opt in to the VAT deferral new payment scheme when it launches in 2021 and be aware of the deadlines and requirements of the scheme.
Secondly, for those with self-assessment tax to pay and having deferred it from July 2020 then this needs to be paid by 31 January 2021.
Finally, there is no visibility on how HMRC will approach enforcement from 31 March 2021 onwards. As the largest producer of Winding-Up petitions and a significant backlog accrued since early 2020 there will be a lot of focus on how they proceed with pursuing businesses for unpaid debts.
However, what we do know is that they are supportive of Time of Pay proposals if they are documented and realistic. If a business has arrears then it is important to consider how they can be addressed in the future. The sooner you approach HMRC with these proposals the better.
Wrongful trading – 30 April 2021
Without getting all technical, wrongful trading relates to the liability that may arise for a director if they continue to trade when they should have known that the company was insolvent and would not avoid liquidation.
The Government has suspended the risk of wrongful trading until 30 April 2021.
It is important that directors do not consider this an opportunity to act unreasonably despite the circumstances and it is important to remember that directors have fiduciary duties that they need to adhere to and ensure they do not breach.
Government support – March/April 2021
Government support has continued throughout the pandemic but it is worth noting that 31 March 2021 is the final deadline for applications for Bounceback, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS). On 30 April 2021 the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) ends.
What can be done?
So based upon the above we know we have Q1 of 2021 to evaluate and understand the options. On top of these various deadlines, many businesses will face issues like depleting cash reserves and lack of understanding of what the future holds in terms of financial performance.
- Fully understand the business financials. Speak to your accountant because if it is left until too late in the day you will not be leaving yourself enough time to understand your financial position and, in turn, mean that certain options that could have been available will no longer be there. This includes looking and planning ahead with cashflow preparation;
- Be open with creditors and speak to them about difficulties including HMRC and landlords. If you have arrears and/or potential issues with future payments then start that dialogue of working together to avoid communication issues becoming an issue in due course. Put forward Time to Pay proposals where appropriate;
- If you are unsure about director duties and the steps you are taking then get legal advice. Many solicitors are happy to provide initial advice free of charge in the first instance. Business owners should also keep a record of decisions and the basis for making them. Hold regular meetings of the Board and keep records.
- Understand all your options on how you can preserve the company on a solvent basis but also what could you do in terms of insolvency options. Alternatively contact our insolvency practitioners directly and you can find their contact details on our meet the team page here.
Woking Business Support Grants
Eligible businesses for both grants are non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses.
About the grants
The local restrictions support grant (closed) scheme applies to businesses which were directed to close by the Government when Woking moved to Tier 3 on 19 December 2020 or Tier 4 on 20 December 2020.
The one-off business support payment, announced on 5 January by the Government, is a single payment of up to £9,000 dependent upon the rateable value of the business.
Eligibility criteria for both grants
To qualify for these grants, your business must be in the borough of Woking and:
- is business rated (the applicant must be the rate payer).
- open as usual before the restrictions, for example on 4 November 2020.
- required to close due to restrictions imposed by the Government.
Click here to apply for both grants
For further information on business grants in Woking please visit https://www.woking.gov.uk/localrestrictionsgrants
If you live in the borough of Sutton please check out what is on offer here https://www.sutton.gov.uk/info/200588/health_and_wellbeing/2110/covid-19_financial_support_for_businesses
It’s also not too late to apply for the national lockdown grant for period 5 November to 2 December 2020 (28 days).
This grant is open to businesses that were open and trading, but which were legally forced to close as a result of the national lockdown from 5 November to 2 December 2020. These were mainly non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses.
If your business was legally forced to close for this period, and you have not already applied, please apply online.
This grant scheme is only applicable to:
- businesses that are business rated - you receive a business rate bill
- the applicant must be the rate payer named on the business rate bill.
Thank you to Woking Works for the above useful information
As always if you or your business is struggling financially, please get in touch as there may be more turnaround options available the sooner you call.
We offer the first meeting completely free of charge with no obligation to commit to anything.
HMRC Time to Pay
The government is doing everything to help businesses get through this pandemic and are currently more accommodating when approving Time to Pay requests.
If your business is struggling or you cannot pay your HMRC debts because of Coronavirus visit the HMRC website here where you will find help and advice. You can even sign up to get emails when any new coronavirus business support information is added.
A new HMRC Coronavirus helpline has been set up for business owners, with 2,000 staff ready to offer advice and support. If you're concerned about not being able to pay HMRC because of the Coronavirus, this should be your first port of call.
HMRC Coronavirus Helpline
Telephone: 0800 015 9559
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 8am to 4pm
In normal circumstances these agreements come with a 3.5% penalty charge but according to a recent budget the penalty will be waived for the duration of the pandemic.
A typical HMRC time to pay arrangement will last twelve months and all other taxes must be paid when they are due or any HMRC time to pay arrangement will be in default. If there is a default, you are likely to lose the confidence of HMRC, which in turn considerably reduces the company’s options to settle with HMRC
Tips for success with a HMRC ‘’time to pay’’ arrangement:
- Establish clear lines of communication with HMRC straight away.
- Debts under £250k can be dealt with in the first instance over the phone.
- For debts over £250k a written proposal is required and sent to the specialist HMRC team.
- How has Covid had an impact on the business – include financial projections. (Include plenty of headroom in your projections - it’s far more difficult to agree a new TTP with HMRC if the first one fails).
- What has the business done to alleviate the impact. Explain all areas where this has been successful or where plans have failed explaining why it has failed.
- What cost savings has the business been able to make? (redundancies; release of properties not required, sell-off stock or unutilised assets etc).
- Has the business attempted to raise equity finance from 3rd parties or owner/directors?
- Are there strong credit control measures in place to bring in cash from trade debtors?
- Has the business used all the appropriate government schemes including BBLs/CBILS, any grants which are available?
- Can you show that all stakeholders are supporting the recovery of the business? (Also include support of other lenders, trade creditors etc).
- If there is a strong business case to stretch payments over more than 12 months, then you could attempt to propose up to 18 - 24 months but it will depend on the strength of the proposal.
- Are you able to put down a significant down payment at an early stage of the prepayment plan? This would demonstrate commitment and intent to fulfill the repayment proposal.
- Do what you say you will and ensure that you provide any information requested within the agreed timescale. Always be upfront and honest. Credibility is an important issue in the eyes on HMRC!
Telephone: 0300 200 3835
Opening times: Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
Retailers who have vanished from our high street in 2020
Many businesses have cut jobs and closed premises. We have all seen in the news that many famous retailers have had no choice but to attempt to secure a formal rescue deal just to try to survive the storm.
Sadly for lots of businesses, not only retailers, they just can’t be saved.
Debenhams, Peacocks, Jaeger, Edinburgh Wollen Mill, Arcadia Group, Mothercare, Beales, Oliver Sweeney, TM Lewin, Carphone Warehouse, Cath Kidston have all been affected by the pandemic. Some were already in trouble way before the pandemic but for many Coronavirus was the final blow and sadly closed their doors on the high street for good.
Few have not closed completely instead attempting a move on-line.
If your business is struggling, give us a call before its too late, the sooner you call the more options may be available to you.
Call us on 020 8661 7878 or email firstname.lastname@example.org