There are a number of reasons why a company director may want to dissolve a company, instead of opting to liquidate a company. It may have been a family business for many years but now the owner wants to retire and there’s no one to take it on. Or perhaps the business never traded.
Whatever the reason, as long as certain conditions are met then the directors can request that it is struck off the Companies House register using form DS01. Once the company is struck off, it will no longer legally exist.
What is a DS01 Form?
Dissolving a company i.e. striking it off the Companies House register, is a process you can complete yourself using form DS01. This procedure can only be used if the company is solvent and has not been involved in any of the following activities during the last three months:
- Sold any property or rights owned by the business;
- Changed its name;
- Engaged in any activities other than those required to dissolve a company.
If the business has been involved in any of these activities then you will have wait three months before it can be dissolved.
Where Can I Get the Form?
You can download a copy of the DS01 form from the Companies House website. This will have to be printed off, completed and returned to Companies House. Completing the form is simple. All you need is:
- The company number;
- The company name;
- The signature of the sole director if there is only one; both directors if there are two; or the majority of the directors if there are more than two;
- You should also provide the name, address and telephone number of the person Companies House should contact if they have any queries about the application.
Where do you Send Form DS01?
That depends on whether the company was registered in Cardiff, Edinburgh or Belfast. The addresses for Companies House in each of the cities are as follows:
- English and Welsh companies – Companies House, Crown Way, Cardiff CF14 3UZ;
- Scottish companies – Companies House, 4th Floor Edinburgh Quay 2, 139 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh EH3 9FF;
- Northern Irish companies – Companies House, 2nd Floor The Linenhall, 32-38 Linenhall Street, Belfast BT2 8BG.
Can you File a Ds01 Online? ?
You can’t currently apply online, it must be sent in by post to the addresses listed above.
How Long Does a Ds01 Take to Process?
It currently takes around 3 months to strike a company off the register, from the moment the DS01 is submitted.
How Much Does it Cost to Strike Off a Company?
A cheque or postal order for £10 should be sent to Companies House along with the completed form. The cheque should not be sent from the account of the company that’s going to be struck off as that will fail the dormancy test.
Who Else Should the Form be Sent to?
Within seven days of form DS01 being sent to Companies House, a copy should also be sent to interested parties. That includes anyone who is:
- An employee;
- A member (usually a shareholder);
- A company creditor;
- A director who did not sign the original form;
- The manager or trustee of any pension fund created for employees.
Can you Strike off a Company With Debts? ?
A company can only be struck off voluntarily using form DS01 if it is solvent. More specifically, that means:
- It has no outstanding liabilities and all its creditors have been paid;
- There is no outstanding petition to wind up the company or insolvency proceedings of any type;
- There are no agreements with creditors, such as a Company Voluntary Arrangement, already in place.
If any of the above apply then you should seek professional advice about the best way to resolve your situation and meet your obligations as a company director.
What’s the Next Step?
When Companies House receives the DS01 form, it will check that everything is correct and send you confirmation in the post. A notice will then be published in the Belfast, Edinburgh or London Gazette, depending on where the company is based. This will give at least three months’ notice of the intent to strike off the company and invite objections from any interest parties.
If no valid objections are received, the company will be struck off around three months from the notice appearing in the Gazette. At this point, a second notice will be published and the company will no longer exist.
How can we help?
At Company Debt, we provide impartial and confidential advice to company directors about the right way to close their business. For no-obligation assistance, please get in touch with our team.