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Don’t grab all the money 29 Nov 2016

 

IF you sell your business, which you run through a company, the money does not belong to you. It belongs to the company. 

You can only take it out if you are entitled to do so. If there is money owing to you, according to the balance sheet of the company, then that money can be paid out. However, any more than this becomes a loan to you or may even be an illegal distribution.

A problem often arises when a business is sold. The seller gets paid for “goodwill”.  This is the value of the customers who have been built up over the years. It is a payment for the potential to get a higher income. 

The sale of goodwill in excess of what was paid for it (if anything) is usually a capital gain. This capital belongs to the company.

You can get it out if your company happens to be a Look-through company or one of those old qualifying companies. Otherwise, it must stay there until the company is wound up. If you take the cash out prematurely it has to be treated as a loan from the company to you. There are tax consequences as a result. If you want the capital gain paid out to you, without tax consequences, you must first have a signed special resolution of shareholders resolving to wind up the company. 

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