• Are you worried about the future of your business?

  • Are you concerned you may not be able to pay your rent?

  • Are your tax debts due?

  • Are your staff on furlough and you’re uncertain how you’ll pay them once it ends?

  • Are you asking your suppliers for more time to pay their invoices?

If the answer to any of the above questions is ‘yes’, your business is likely to be in financial distress.

If that’s the case, then the best thing you can do is take action. Take the first step to understand how you can turn your situation around and what options might be available to you to help you do this.

But you’ll need expert advice – the right guidance and support from the right people to achieve the best result for you and your business. And the earlier you get advice, the more options may be available to you.

Members of the insolvency and restructuring profession are highly qualified and regulated, and are able to provide the expert advice and guidance needed to help viable firms get back to business.

And R3, the insolvency and restructuring trade body, can provide you with a list of members near you, through the member search function on our website.

If you’re looking to speak to someone about insolvency advice, or find a local insolvency practitioner, insolvency lawyer, or restructuring expert and they’re a member of R3, they’ll be on there – and many will offer a free consultation to people who are looking for help with their business finances.

A free guide to help you learn more​

We know the pandemic has affected the economy. We know it has affected businesses, jobs and livelihoods. And we want to help as many people as we can access the advice and support they need to spot their business is struggling and turn it and its financial situation around.

We’ve developed a free guide that outlines the signs of business distress, the full range of corporate restructuring and insolvency processes, and the legal duties of directors in one simple, but comprehensive, document.

Getting good advice

While it’s important for directors and business owners to understand what options might be available to their businesses, these options require expert advice, guidance, and support to be used effectively.

It’s crucial that wherever those in charge of running a company go to seek this advice, they ensure that the individuals providing the advice are suitably qualified and regulated. In the current economic climate, there are many disreputable individuals and groups that will be seeking to take advantage of anyone whose company is in a difficult financial position.

Advice on the options available to a company in financial distress can be complex, with differing eligibility criteria, each having different advantages and drawbacks. Where an advisor assesses the financial position of a company with appropriate care, they add value by suggesting a solution that is appropriate for the respective company. However, when advisors fail in this regard, it may lead to harm to you, the creditors, and the company.

One reason for an advisor failing to provide appropriate and impartial advice is because there may be a financial incentive to recommend a particular option for the advisor, even though it is not appropriate for you, the company, and/or the creditors.

You may come across advertisements on social media platforms making bold statements to attract your attention. For example, ‘We can restructure your business to make it debt free’, ‘Sell and transfer assets into a new company’ and ‘Walk away from creditors’. Whilst these types of messages are appealing, they may not be in your best interests. It is therefore imperative that you ensure the advice being provided is by an appropriate and impartial source, regulated by either the Financial Conduct Authority (for consumer debt advice) or by an insolvency regulator (for insolvency advice).

Members of the insolvency and restructuring profession are highly qualified and regulated and are able to provide the expert advice and guidance required to help viable firms resolve their financial difficulties.

Everyone is different and it is therefore essential that you seek advice specific to your circumstances and not generic from the internet.

HMRC's position on collecting tax debts (as of February 2023)

“When a customer has a tax debt, we always try to contact them by phone, post or text message so that we can talk about their situation and agree a way forward. We urge customers to respond to these communications as soon as possible because, unless we can discuss their situation, we cannot tell if they need support or are simply refusing to pay.

Customers can check if the contact they receive from HMRC is genuine, by using our guidance on how to identify HMRC related scam phone calls, emails and text messages.

In all cases, we want to work with customers to find a way for them to pay off their tax debt as quickly as possible, and in an affordable way. Everyone is different, so the support we offer varies from customer to customer. For instance, we can discuss affordable payment options, such as a payment plan (called Time to Pay), where customers pay what they owe in affordable instalments. We typically have more than half a million arrangements in place at any one time, and more than nine out of ten of them complete successfully.

Even if customers cannot pay anything straight away, by getting in touch we can understand their circumstances better.

More information about payment arrangements (Time to pay) is available at How HMRC supports customers who have a tax debt

It is important directors/business owners engage with HMRC communications regarding a tax debt, otherwise HMRC may start the process of collecting the debt using their enforcement powers including insolvency proceedings, which HMRC may use as a last resort.”

Act Early. Seek Advice. Get Back to Business.


R3 – the insolvency and
restructuring trade association
3rd Floor (East), Clerkenwell House,
67 Clerkenwell Road,
London EC1R 5BL
Tel: +44 (0)20 7566 4200
Email: association@r3.org.uk

© 2024 by R3 Association of Business Recovery Professionals

This site has been developed by R3, the insolvency and restructuring trade body, as part of its Back to Business campaign. Back to Business aims to promote the role of the insolvency and restructuring profession in the post-pandemic economic recovery, and educate directors about the profession and the benefits of seeking early advice.