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Closing your business

There’s a lot to think about and rules to follow when getting ready to close a business. Follow the steps on this page to help make it more straightforward. 

What you have to do largely depends on your business structure, whether you are registered for GST, and whether you have employees. This Inland Revenue video on closing down your business is a good starting point.

Video transcript (external link)

If you are owed money, get debtors to pay up before announcing you’re closing.

If you are owed money, get debtors to pay up before announcing you’re closing.

There’s less incentive to make repayments if you’re no longer in business.

Closing a company

When shutting down a company:

  • File all income tax returns up to when you stop trading and notify Inland Revenue of the closure.
  • If registered for GST and/or as an employer with Inland Revenue, file all returns up to the date you stop operating, then deregister — otherwise you’ll have to file nil returns.
  • Pay any taxes owed on time to avoid penalties.
  • If you have shareholders, talk to an accountant about any tax implications for them.

You’ll also need to apply to be taken off the Companies Register (external link) . But first, check your company details are correct on the register, and make sure your company has:

Removing a company from the Register (external link) — Companies Office

Ceasing to operate a business (external link) — Inland Revenue

Once you officially shut your business, you must keep your business records for at least seven years.

Once you officially shut your business, you must keep your business records for at least seven years.

This applies to all business types — companies, sole traders and partnerships. See Keeping tax records  for tips and advice. 

When stopping work as a sole trader:

  • File your tax return at the end of the financial year, even if you stopped operating partway through the year.
  • If registered for GST and/or as an employer with Inland Revenue, file all returns up to the date you stop operating, and then deregister — otherwise you’ll have to file nil returns.
  • Let your accountant or advisor know that you’ll no longer be self-employed.

Cancelling your GST registration  (external link) — Inland Revenue

Leaving a partnership

When you leave or dissolve a business partnership:

  • File a final income tax return for the partnership.
  • Show your share of the partnership income or loss in your personal tax return.
  • If registered for GST and/or as an employer with Inland Revenue, file all returns up to the date you stop operating.
  • Split joint-owned assets (or proceeds from their sale) according to your deed of partnership.

Talk to Inland Revenue or an accountant about rules for leaving a partnership, particularly if the partnership will continue after your departure.

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