Inquiry into corporate insolvency in Australia

Corporate Inquiry in Insolvency

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

On 28 February 2023 Ben Sewell of Sewell & Kettle Lawyers was invited to give evidence for the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services’ inquiry into corporate insolvency in Australia. The scope of the inquiry is quite broad,…

Three factor budget - man sitting with papers flying around

Why a financially troubled business should create a three factor budget

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

A major contributor to financial distress for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Australia is poor budgeting. Here we look at a useful budgeting technique — the ‘three factor’ budget/forecast, and how this can be used by distressed businesses to turn things around and avoid insolvency.

Insolvency practitioner finds a constructive trust

Why are constructive trusts relevant in bankruptcy?

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Constructive trusts impact on corporate insolvency and bankruptcy by reducing the pool of assets available for distribution to creditors. Here we define constructive trusts, and look at their application in corporate and personal insolvency.

Company director carries Division 7A loan after liquidation.

What happens to a Division 7A loan in a winding up?

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

In a winding up, it is the duty of the liquidator to realise all assets of the company. This includes outstanding loans to shareholders and directors. In this article, we explain what happens to some of these loans — loans that comply with Division 7A of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth) — in the winding up of a company.

Oppressed shareholder golden chains

Are you an oppressed shareholder? What the law can do to protect you

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Minority shareholders in Australia are generally beholden to the majority shareholders. However, in some cases, minority shareholders of private companies do have recourse available to them. In this blog article, we look at the ‘minority shareholder oppression remedy’ available in section 232 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), and the orders available to the Court in enforcing that remedy.

Shareholders agreements

Shareholders agreements — standard terms and why they are useful

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

A dispute between shareholders can derail the small and medium-sized businesses that make up the bulk of the Australian economy. Here we explain how a shareholders agreement can help reduce the risk of serious dispute. 

Fast track sale in a voluntary administration

What is a fast track sale in a voluntary administration?

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Fast track sales involve the voluntary administrator selling the assets of a business during a voluntary administration, instead of recommending a debt compromise or ‘Deed of Company Arrangement’. While a fast track sale in a voluntary administration is legal, it is relatively uncommon in Australia. Here we explain how fast track sales work, and consider whether they are a desirable feature of Australian insolvency law. If it occurs, company directors may feel betrayed by a voluntary administrator if they are expecting a debt restructure through a ‘Deed of Company Arrangement’.

How much should a VA for SME cost?

How much do industry insiders expect a voluntary administration for an SME will cost?

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Recent research gives a figure for voluntary administration of $30-50,000 per appointment for small sized companies. With a Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA), this price can easily double. The high cost partially reflects the obligations and liabilities of voluntary administrators, but also, perhaps, a tendency of voluntary administrators to ‘pad’ their hours. By racking up more hours with larger companies, it is possible that voluntary administrators are ‘cross-subsidising’ assetless administrations.

Voluntary administrators are risk-averse

Directors shouldn’t expect voluntary administrators to absorb risk.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Unfortunately the Voluntary Administration process in Australia doesn’t facilitate any downside trading risk during a restructure. The problem discussed is this article is that the voluntary administrator is required to personally bear trading risk and this is a cold shower for any turnaround process.

Local tax obligations for Australian startups

Worldwide taxation – a challenge for Australian startups

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Australia applies ‘worldwide taxation’ when calculating corporate and personal income tax. This means Australian startups can owe tax in Australia for all their international activities, even where the founder has moved overseas. Here we explain the key tax rules for Australian startups.