HomeFWJ TakeawayResourcesWhat happens when an HMRC winding up petition is issued?

Once an HMRC winding up petition has been issued, matters can progress really quickly. It is vital to take expert legal advice to stop the petition being advertised. Once that happens it can spell disaster for a business. Our brilliant team has dealt with 100's petitions. We can avoid the worst affects for your business and you personally.


We are often asked what happens when an HMRC winding up petition is issued?

Formal service of the winding up petition

The first step is that an HMRC winding up petition needs to be formally served on the company for the “clock to start running”.

  • after an HMRC winding up petition is issued, it needs to be formally served on the company as soon as reasonably possible. That is often done by a formal process server who will visit your company and arrange for service of the winding up petition on it.
  • Sometimes, if the registered office of a company is at a firm of accountants, then the winding up order can be served at the accountants. This can sometimes cause issues if the accountants then don’t notify the trading office of the company quickly.

Quick action needed to avoid advert in the London Gazette

The HMRC will be entitled after 7 days business from formal service of the HMRC winding up order to advertise the winding up petition in the London Gazette.

This is often a disaster for a company because the formal advertisement in this major trading magazine leads to it becoming publicly known and then, consequences can flow from that. These include

  • the company bank account being frozen;
  • the withdrawal of credit;
  • suppliers demanding cash on delivery; and
  • other businesses simply not wanting to work with the company.

The key after service of a formal HMRC winding up petition is to take urgent legal advice. We can then advise you on whether the debt is genuinely due or part of it is disputed. If you are in a position to pay the winding up debt, then we can help you through that process and ensure that the winding up petition is then quickly dismissed from the court records.

Payment plans and other options available to the company

If you are unable to pay the winding up petition debt in one go we can help negotiate an instalment repayment plan with HMRC through our expert contacts. If it is clear that you are unable to pay the debt in full, then we can either seek to negotiate some form of repayment with the HMRC and if this does not work, consider alternatives to a formal winding up order being made. This can include some form of restructuring of the company, the company entering into a company voluntary arrangement or the company entering into administration.

It is not always simply a case of the company being wound up in circumstances where it cannot pay an HMRC debt. There are other procedures which we can take advantage of to avoid the worst consequences of an HMRC winding up order. The key is to take expert legal advice and at Francis Wilks & Jones we are the firm to help you.


Please contact one of our expert HMRC winding up petition lawyers now for your informal consultation. At Francis Wilks & Jones, we have in depth winding up petition experience and deal regularly with HMRC on behalf of companies facing winding up orders. We have the skills to handle any type of winding up petition or company rescue problem – including any tax disputes with HMRC.

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