HomeFWJ TakeawayWinding up petitionsDefending a winding up petitionHow to stop an HMRC winding up petition

It is possible to stop an HMRC winding up petition - but only in certain circumstances and only with expert legal advice. Our team have dealt successfully with 100's of these situations over the years. Let us help you too.

Don’t delay – quick action is the key

There are various ways to stop an HMRC winding up petition. The key is to act quickly and not to ignore the petition. Once issued, HMRC are not going to stop unless you do something. Our expert team at FWJ includes Andy Lynch, ex HMRC expert of 18 years – he can provide a free consultation to set out what might be best for you.

One of the most astute appointments I have ever made.

A company director we successfully defended

Options available when faced with an HMRC petition

The actions which we can take on your behalf include

1. Checking the amounts claim are due

You will be surprised just ow often HMRC makes mistakes in the amounts it is claiming. Our experienced team can check the figures make sense and if they are wrong, go back to HMRC with a reduced figure or even demonstrate that nothing is due at all. it is always worth checking the amounts claimed.

2. Negotiating a settlement / time to pay

If you are unable to pay the debt in one go – we can help negotiate a Time To Pay agreement for you – to give you the breathing space you need to pay off the debt to HMRC.

3. Paying the debt off

The most straightforward way to deal with the petition is to pay off the HMRC debt. If you are able to pay the debt off in one go – that is always the best solution, That way we can also arrange for the winding up petition to be dismissed from court as quickly as possible – something you always want to try and do. Otherwise your bank or suppliers could become aware of it and this could damage your business.

4. Dispute the winding up petition

If the debt is not due and HMRC refuse to withdraw the petition, we can take court action to have the petition dismissed from court. This can involve a full court hearing is necessary. Whilst we would prefer to negotiate a withdrawal on a client’s behalf, sometimes HMRC can be very unreasonable and a court hearing is the only way to resolve matters.

5. Obtain a court injunction to stop a petition being advertised

If a petition is advertised in the London Gazette – it can become common knowledge and quickly bring the end to a company. There are ways to prevent this – and seeking an emergency injunction (a type of court order) can be a way to stop HMRC form advertising it. We can help obtain these applications.

6. Keep trading with a validation order

Even if you have been served with an HMRC winding up petition – the court can still approve important trade payments (eg wages or payments to suppliers) which can keep your business going whilst the problems with HMRC are resolved. Our team regularly obtains these for our clients giving them peace and mind and certainty. For more information on this – read our free “how do you apply for a validation order?” guide.

7. Frozen bank account help

Sometimes the bank will freeze a company account if it becomes aware of an HMRC petition. Our team can help get a bank account unfrozen and keep the business trading. Or read our Guide to Frozen Bank Accounts for further help.

8. Advice to help protect directors

it is vital directors take the right decisions and actions once the company has been served with a petition. This will help them comply with their legal obligations – but also reduce the risks of personal claims if the company is later wound up. Our team can help you avoid claims for director disqualification, compensation orders or claims by liquidators.

9. Action you can take even if you cannot pay the debt

If you cannot pay the HMRC winding up petition debt in part or in full, there are other alternatives available which may help save the company.

  • one of these is to consider putting the company into formal administration and helping restructure the company. We regularly help business owners save their companies via a pre pack administration – allowing them to keep the best parts of the business and protect the employees.
  • we have expert lawyers at Francis Wilks & Jones who can talk you through this company rescue process;
  • the restructuring team is headed up by Tim Francis who has over 25 years of experience in this type of work.

We also have expert contacts with third parties and restructuring experts and it can be that if a proper plan is put forward to HMRC, they will support some form of restructuring. This can include putting the company into some form of company voluntary arrangement and further information can be provided relating to this.

We can also apply to court for a validation order to allow you to continue trading safely and without risk of personal claims against directors.

No matter how bleak it may feel being faced with an HMRC winding up petition, we at Francis Wilks & Jones have the team who can help you. We can help avoid the worst of winding up orders being made but it is crucial that you contact us early to help maximise the prospects of success.


Francis Wilks & Jones is the county’s leading firm of company rescue and winding up petition solicitors. We are genuine experts in what we do and regularly deal with HMRC problems for clients. We can help have the petition removed. Call us today for your initial consultation.

Andy Lynch at FWJ was literally a life saver for me. I ran in to some tax issues with HMRC and I suffer from mental health issues as well so I was a complex case. Andy took his time to professionally and accurately layout my case and assist me with finding a resolution. I researched a lot of tax advisers before making my decision and I am glad I did and relieved that I chose Andy and FWJ.

Chris Kitchen

Case studies

View all case studies

Contact us in confidence