Before you close your business


1. Review your finances


Sell or dispose your business assets and stock

Even though you're not selling the business, you still need to sell or manage your business assets when you close your business.

You will need to:

  • identify what assess need to be sold, make sure you do your research on selling prices which platform to sell your assets
  • you may need to sell excess stock at a discount, such as a closing down sale

Business assets can include:

  • all outstanding stock
  • tools, equipment and machinery
  • property and premises, including land or buildings
  • business vehicles
  • furniture, fixtures and fittings
  • domain names
  • intellectual property such as patents or trademarks
  • licenses and permits

Pay outstanding bills

You will need to pay all outstanding bills when your business closes. If you’re having difficulty paying outstanding debts, you may need to speak to an insolvency practitioner or lawyer about your options.

Learn more about how to deal with being in debt.

2. Notify your employees and contractors


Change can be stressful for employees. Good communication is key to ensure that this period of change is easier for both yourself and your employees. To help your employees through this change is to give them as much notice.

Read our how to manage change in your business information to help you.

If your business has employees, you must notify them and officially finalise their employment before your business closes.

Provide notice to your employees

You must give official notice or provide payment in lieu of notice to all employees. The law requires you to give them official notice in writing.

Find out more about notice periods.

Finalise payments for your employees

You still have to make payments to your employees even when you close your business. You will need to meet your obligations to your employees under the Fair Work Act, you may need to seek the support of a lawyer for Fair Work matters.

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3. Notify your customers


How you let your customers know will depend on the type and size of your business. You can:

  • post a notice on your shop front
  • post a notice on your business's website
  • advise customers in person
  • advise customers through your business's social media channels
  • hold a 'closing down' sale, with the added benefit of selling off your stock
  • send out an email or letter campaign

4. Notify your suppliers


If your business uses suppliers, you'll need to:

  • inform them that your business is closing
  • confirm your last orders
  • pay them any outstanding amounts

5. End your lease agreements


If your business has a lease, you'll need to end your lease agreement when your business closes. Depending on the conditions of your lease, you may still need to pay rent and other costs up until the end of the lease term. Read your lease agreement as it may have an early termination clause.

If you're unsure of the conditions in your lease agreements, you should contact a lawyer for professional advice.

6. Finalise your tax obligations


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If you’re having difficulty meeting your tax obligations, please contact the ATO to discuss any relief options that may be available to you. You can phone the Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218 or speak with your tax adviser.

Find out more about your tax obligations when closing your business.

Watch the ATO’s selling or closing a small business webcast which details your obligations across various government agencies.

8. Know what business records you need to keep


Even after your business closes, you must keep your business records, including:

  • financial records
  • customer records
  • employee records

Each industry and each record type have different requirements for how long and how secure you need to keep your records. Generally, you should keep records for a minimum of 5 years.

Make sure you know how to sort your business records correctly.

Find out more about record keeping and closing your small business.

9. Tie up loose ends


When you close your business you may also need to:

  • disconnect your services (telephone, power, water, internet etc.)
  • redirect your mail through Australia Post
  • close your business bank accounts, you have in your business’s name, especially if it is a company
  • cancel your web hosting and domain name if you have an online presence
  • shut down your social media channels

Check if your state or territory has any other requirements you need to undertake to ensure you successfully meet all your obligations when closing your business.

10. Look after yourself


Mental health and wellbeing support

Closing your business can be an emotional time. After all, you’ve probably put in countless hours, money and energy. It’s important to know that assistance is available to help you more forward.

Learn more about mental health and wellbeing support.

Future career and financial support

Find out how to take care of yourself financially and get financial advice.

If you're looking for a new career direction you can get career advice.

If you're looking to find a job you can get employment assistance.

Services Australia can also offer employment and financial assistance.