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Insolvency and bankruptcy
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Debt relief and advice
- Read about temporary debt relief measures, including changes to Commonwealth bankruptcy laws, to support individuals and businesses facing financial difficulty due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Contact the National Debt Helpline for free independent and confidential financial advice, step-by-step guides, and information to help you manage your debts or negotiate with creditors.
Insolvency occurs when your business cannot pay its debts, which can result in your business closing down. Different insolvency procedures apply to individuals and companies.
It is important to recognise financial difficulty early so you can look at ways to avoid insolvency. You should always seek financial and legal advice when you are having trouble managing your debts.
- Learn more about surviving an economic downturn.
- Find out how to manage your cash flow.
- Read the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC's) guide to help when you're in debt.
If you are unable to pay your debts, the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (Cwlth) provides 3 formal options for dealing with unmanageable debt:
- debt agreements
- personal insolvency agreement
- voluntary bankruptcy.
Declaring bankruptcy is a serious decision. Bankruptcy may last up to 3 years or more and will affect your ability to:
- borrow money
- travel overseas
- perform certain jobs.
Learn more about bankruptcy.
An insolvent company is one that is unable to pay its debts. In some situations, insolvent companies may go into liquidation. Liquidation is the orderly winding up of company business. It involves stopping all operations and sales, selling company assets to pay creditors and distributing any surplus funds among shareholders.
There are 3 types of liquidation:
- court liquidation
- creditors' voluntary liquidation
- members' voluntary liquidation.
Learn more about company insolvency procedures.