A member asked over 7 years ago

Operating while bankrupt

Can I retain my ABN and continue to conduct business after insolvency?

Dane Grauf
Director at Grauf O'Brien Lawyers

Hi there,

You can continue to trade whilst a bankrupt (please note we are not taking about companies and a liquidation here). The purpose of bankruptcy is to provide a fresh start not to prevent you from earning money. Your bankruptcy only relates to debts accrued prior to the date you were declared a bankrupt. There are a few technicalities you need to comply with though. Obviously, you will need to disclose your income to the Trustee in Bankruptcy (this goes for all bankrupts though). If you are carrying on in business using a business name, you will need to disclose the fact that you are a bankrupt. This is usually done by simply mentioning it in brackets after you name for example, John Smith (A Bankrupt) trading as Smith & Co Plumbing (ABN 123 etc). If you are just issuing invoices in your own name (e.g. John Smith (ABN 123 etc), then this is not required. You should also, as a matter of convenience rather than law, contact the ATO to let them know you are continuing to trade just in case the ATO cancels your ABN upon notice of your insolvency.


Suggested way forward

Subject to your particular circumstances, you can continue to trade provided you comply with the technicalities above.

Answered about 6 years ago   Legal disclaimer

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