Legal obligations and business handover
As a seller, you have certain obligations, including those to employees and potential buyers. Failure to fulfil these obligations can have legal consequences. It is a good idea to seek professional help from your lawyer or business broker during this time.
Consider the following questions about your legal obligations:
- Can your business licences be transferred or should they be cancelled? Check by visiting ABLIS (Australian Business Licence and Information Service).
- Are you going to sell or retain your registered trademarks?
- Have you notified the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)?
- If you're trading as a company, have you notified the Australian Securities and Investments Commission?
- Do you need to contact your local council to cancel any local licences or permits?
- Will you need to transfer title on any lease agreements - such as for property, cars and equipment - to your buyer? The new owner and your landlord will need to agree on a transfer and you will need to pay the costs.
- If you are no longer employing anyone, cancel your policy with WorkCover Queensland.
- Have you informed your creditors well in advance of the actual sale?
Hand over the business
After settlement, there's usually a handover process. You'll probably need to plan this process well in advance of the actual handover and maybe even in consultation with your buyer.
The terms of the handover will be stated in the contract. Business handovers often take place over a period of time.
Some of the steps involved in the handover may include:
- introducing the buyer to important clients and suppliers
- introducing the buyer to employees
- providing a period of training to the buyer
- handing over all keys, alarm codes and security devices to the buyer
- notifying utility suppliers (phone, electricity and gas companies)
- notifying bank, insurer, Australia Post, industry association etc. of the change of owner.
- Learn more about your tax obligations when selling or closing your business.
- Read CPA Australia's guide to exiting your business (PDF, 235KB).
- Find out how to help your staff through change.