What is Strike Off

Strike off is the process of closing a dormant company you no longer need. It results in the company being removed from the Companies House register. In the right circumstances it can be useful as it avoids a formal liquidation procedure. Strike off is also sometimes referred to as dissolution.

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How does Strike Off Work?

If you have a limited company which you no longer want to use one option is to leave it dormant. However if you do this you must keep submitting annual returns. If your returns are late then as a director you will incur increasingly large fines.

To avoid the responsibilities of a company dormant you can apply to have it closed and taken off the Companies House register altogether. Once this is done the company is permanently closed and no longer exists. There is no further requirement for returns and no further risk of fines.

The way you strike off a company is relatively easy. You need to completed the relevant form and submit it together with a minimal fee to Companies House. Given the company is dormant and there are no creditor objections it will be removed from the register after 3 months. There is no formal liquidation and no investigation of the past activities of the company directors.

What Criteria are required to Strike Off a Company?

Usually you are only able to strike off a company if certain criteria are met. Firstly the company must be dormant. It must have ceased all trading for at least three months prior to the application being made.

In addition the company must have no assets or cash in its bank account. If there are assets these can be sold within the three month dormancy period. However they must not be used for carrying on business. In addition any outstanding debts can be paid.

Once the application is submitted the company will remain in existence for three months. If during this time there are any objections from creditors it will not be struck off. Even if the company is struck off a creditor can still take legal action to restore the company for up to 20 years. As such strike off should not be used to try and close a company if there are outstanding creditors who cannot be paid.

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