“Does an individual or company owe you money and you’re finding it difficult to get a hold of someone?”
“Have you been chasing an unpaid invoice only to find out that suddenly the number you are calling has been disconnected?"
“Do you suspect the company you’re dealing with may be in Liquidation?”
“What do you need to do to find out?”
Unfortunately, these are some common questions that some business owners may be asking or issues they may face during the running of their business… if this is you, find out how you register or make a claim in a Bankruptcy or Liquidation.
Ordinarily, all known creditors are notified of the initial Bankruptcy or Liquidation by the Trustee who handles the affairs of a Bankruptcy or the Liquidator who handles the affairs of a company in Liquidation.
But a Trustee or Liquidator can only notify creditors from the records received by the individual or the company who owes you money and unfortunately, most of the time records are never kept up to date and not all creditors have been brought to the attention of the Trustee or Liquidator.
Therefore, if you believe an individual or company owes you money and are subject to Bankruptcy or Liquidation, and you haven't been notified and/or are unaware who the Trustee or Liquidator is, you can confirm this by:
- Searching the National Personal Insolvency Index (for a bankruptcy of an individual)
- Searching ASIC Published Notices (for a company insolvency)
- Checking ASIC’s companies and organisations (to determine if a company is subject to insolvency proceeding) asic.gov.au
Then you should contact the Trustee or Liquidator dealing with it to register and make your claim.
Registering your Claim
If you have received correspondence from a Trustee or Liquidator it basically means you have been registered as a creditor. If you haven’t received any correspondence or been contacted, you are not registered as a creditor and the Trustee or Liquidator is unaware of any claim you may have.
Once you have established contact with the Trustee or Liquidator (useful links above), you should provide your full contact details (i.e. name, address, telephone, email, etc.) and the amount owing to register as a creditor.
Now that you have been registered by the Trustee or Liquidator, you’ll be added to a list of creditors (individuals or companies who are owed money). This does not mean you will get payment of any amount owing to you, however you’ll be:
- Provided with updates on the Bankruptcy or Liquidation.
- Able to vote on decisions at any creditors’ meetings.
- Able to form a committee of creditors to supervise and/or assist the Trustee or Liquidator on behalf of the creditors.
Don't expect frequent updates from the Trustee or Liquidator after you have been registered. They will provide you a report to creditors which outlines the assets and liabilities of the individual or company, and the current circumstances of the insolvency (including the estimated return to creditors).
How to make your claim
The Trustee or Liquidator will write to all known creditors asking them to submit their claims via a Proof of Debt form.
To make a claim, you must submit a proof of debt form to the Trustee or Liquidator in writing to substantiate your claim and provide supporting evidence (i.e. tax invoice(s), account statements, purchase orders, agreements, etc). This will allow the Trustee or Liquidator to determine if your claim is valid or not.
You can’t claim any costs incurred in submitting your proof of debt form or claim interest on your outstanding debt from the date of Bankruptcy or Liquidation.
It is your responsibility to prove to the Trustee or Liquidator that your claim is genuine.
If a dividend is to be paid by the Trustee or Liquidator and you haven’t submitted your claim (i.e. proof of debt form) by a nominated date, you may lose your right to receive any dividend payment.
As a known registered creditor, make sure the Trustee or Liquidator has up to date contact details for you.
In most cases, if the individual or company has no assets, you will not get your money back.