Is bankruptcy the solution?

When entrepreneurs are faced with unaffordable debts, they often think that bankruptcy is the solution. That is usually not the case; we are happy to explain why. According to the law, bankruptcy means a complete seizure of all your assets. This means that you no longer have free access to your property, such as machines and cars. In addition, you are no longer allowed to perform actions related to your finances.

The court appoints a trustee, usually a lawyer, who investigates whether your creditors can be paid through the sale of your assets and the money in your account. If there is nothing to sell or if the proceeds are insufficient, the curator will, in consultation with the court, lift the bankruptcy over time. In that case, no arrangement has been made to resolve the debts, so they continue to exist. In addition, debts have increased due to interest and costs. The trustee must also be paid for his work, which is in addition to the rest of the debts. The debts are now even higher than before the bankruptcy. That's why we say: 'Bankrupt, better not!'

If you have a BV, you as a director are only liable for debts if you have not acted as you should. For example, if you have entered into obligations that you knew or could have known that you could not fulfill. If you do business from a sole proprietorship or partnership, you are personally liable for all business and private debts after the bankruptcy at the time the bankruptcy is lifted due to lack of income.

However, with successful debt restructuring, you will be rid of your debts within a few years. For entrepreneurs who continue to do business, this period is 18 months. For entrepreneurs who stop, a period of 18 months also applies. In the event of bankruptcy, there is usually no solution and you remain liable for your debts. This liability can last up to 20 years and feel like a lifetime sentence. In case of financial problems, it is therefore essential to act quickly. Only then can the damage be limited and bankruptcy be prevented.

In the upcoming video, Jacqueline answers frequently asked questions from entrepreneurs with financial problems, including the question: 'Have I been declared bankrupt?'

What is bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is usually the end point of several attempts by an entrepreneur to overcome financial problems. Efforts have often already been made to increase turnover, restructuring carried out and additional financial sources sought. If all these efforts prove unsuccessful and the entrepreneur, be it an individual (through a sole proprietorship) or a legal entity (usually a BV), can no longer meet his or her financial obligations, bankruptcy becomes inevitable.

Bankruptcy of an entrepreneur who is personally liable has become increasingly rare in recent years. The reason for this is that the costs of bankruptcy are often higher than the proceeds. The judge usually points out to the entrepreneur the possibilities of an amicable process through the municipality or the solution of a WSNP.

Creditors usually file for bankruptcy of the entrepreneur. The judge declares bankruptcy and also appoints a curator. This curator takes over the management and disposition of everything belonging to the company from the entrepreneur. He or she identifies the assets, sells them and distributes the proceeds among creditors.

These assets include the inventory, stocks, accounts receivable, current projects, trade name, website, intellectual property rights and the like. Preferably, the trustee sells all these assets at once, which is known as a restart. In some cases, the curator manages to retain some of the staff if the restart is successful. If a restart is not successful, the curator often has no choice but to auction or privately sell “the tables, chairs and laptops”.

In addition to the sale of assets, the curator also has the task of conducting an investigation into legality. It is especially important for the director of a legal entity in financial difficulties to take this into account well before the bankruptcy and to ensure that, if that happens, he or she can pass the investigation without too many problems. Sometimes this can be achieved by looking critically at the accounting, but in many cases it is advisable to seek advice on matters such as publication obligation, current account ratios, (settlement of) securities, payments in the run-up to bankruptcy, and so on.

Finally, if you, as a director or shareholder, are considering a restart, it is wise to have your plan ready before the curator takes office. In this way, bankruptcy does not always have to mean the end of entrepreneurship. – Peter Bos, Wieringa attorneys

Bankruptcy filing and continue?

We recently contacted an entrepreneur who manages a private limited company (BV). Over time, various payment arrears have arisen, including overdue premium payments to the employees' pension fund. The pension fund is now considering filing a bankruptcy petition. However, filing for bankruptcy would mean that the pension fund would likely receive full compensation for the overdue premium. The UWV then takes over the obligation to pay the overdue premium up to one year prior to the bankruptcy.

Although a bankruptcy filing may seem attractive for both the pension fund and the employees, in this case it may not be the optimal solution for all parties involved. The company is still running well and generates sufficient income to meet all current payment obligations in the long term. A creative approach is required here, and the advisors at Zuidweg & Partners are ready to help.

In this specific situation, the arrears with the pension fund must be repaid in full. This means that before other creditors are approached, an agreement must be reached with the pension fund. This can be done in the form of a payment arrangement in installments or via credit. Once agreement has been reached on the method of payment to the pension fund, work can begin on a solution for the remainder of the debt position. Of course, when drawing up the payment arrangement with the pension fund, the required financial space for other creditors has already been taken into account.

The threat of bankruptcy certainly does not mean the end of the company, but can be the start of a recovery period.

WSNP as an alternative?

To prevent you from remaining responsible for your debts for a long time, the Debt Restructuring of Natural Persons Act (WSNP) offers a way out. An essential condition for an appeal to the WSNP is that amicable debt assistance is not feasible. If the amicable process is successful, an 18-month WSNP process is not necessary. With our extensive experience and expertise in debt assistance, we are ready as your partner for a successful amicable process, in which more than 40.000 entrepreneurs have already done so.

If the amicable process proves impossible, we assist entrepreneurs in applying for the WSNP. All necessary information regarding this petition to the court is available here.

The WSNP process lasts 18 months and includes the appointment of an administrator, who fulfills a similar role to the curator during a bankruptcy. This administrator guarantees that your creditors receive as much compensation as possible. If you comply with the WSNP rules, you will be freed from your debts after 18 months. The agreement of your creditors with the received payment is crucial. We take care of the complete application procedure for the WSNP.

Get to know the debt counseling of Zuidweg & Partners

As an entrepreneur, are you confronted with increasing financial problems? Are you unsure about the viability of your business or have you possibly already made the decision to close down? Then we are ready for you. Zuidweg & Partners has been the leading organization in the field of debt assistance for entrepreneurs since 1994.

Debt can be a heavy burden. Dealing with bailiffs and debt collection agencies requires a lot of your time and energy, which is at the expense of your strength and focus. By calling on Zuidweg Schuldhulp you break this vicious circle. You regain peace and can concentrate again on what you are good at.

When applying for debt assistance, you do not necessarily have to file for bankruptcy. The consequences of bankruptcy are often negative, because there are insufficient resources to pay your creditors. You can remain liable for your debts for up to twenty years. You are not alone; Our experienced advisors at Zuidweg & Partners will guide you from start to finish. After our collaboration, you will have laid a solid foundation for a financially healthier future.

What are the costs for debt counseling?

The guidance costs are often covered by municipal reimbursements. We maintain partnerships with almost 160 municipalities throughout the Netherlands. There is therefore a considerable chance that your place of residence falls under a municipality that reimburses the costs for your guidance. Do you live in a municipality where we do not yet have cooperation? Don't worry, we will work with you to find a suitable solution:

Request help here

Zuidweg & Partners, Debt assistance, Debt relief, Debt rescheduling, Business recovery, logo, Hilversum, Drachten

At a time when financial challenges for entrepreneurs are commonplace, many questions arise about possible solutions and the value of strategies in dealing with debt. Entrepreneurs often find themselves at a crossroads, where bankruptcy sometimes seems like a tempting way out. However, the nuances of this decision and its impact on both the business and personal responsibilities are crucial to understand.

In the coming paragraphs, we'll delve deeper into some frequently asked questions, and highlight why understanding alternative options, such as debt settlements, is invaluable for entrepreneurs striving for a sustainable financial future:

Tax debt is a challenge that many entrepreneurs face, especially when economic conditions are difficult. In this blog we take a closer look at the possible causes of tax debts and how you as an entrepreneur can prevent them from piling up.

  1. Inadequate cash flow management

One of the main reasons for tax debt is often a lack of effective cash flow management. As an entrepreneur, it is crucial to always have a good overview of income and expenses, so that tax obligations can be paid on time.

  1. Unclear tax obligations

Not understanding what taxes are due and when they are due can lead to unexpected debts. It is essential to stay informed about tax laws and obligations that apply to your specific business.

  1. Financial need to defer payment

Sometimes taxes are deferred to address short-term financial problems. However, this can lead to accumulation of debt and interest charges. It is important to consider alternative solutions before deciding to defer tax payments.

  1. Unexpected business expenses

Unexpected costs and financial setbacks can have a major impact on the financial health of your company. It is essential to build an emergency fund and have financial reserves for unforeseen circumstances.

  1. Lack of accounting accuracy

Improper accounting can lead to incorrect tax returns, ultimately resulting in tax liabilities. It is important to maintain an accurate accounting system and possibly employ a professional bookkeeper to minimize errors.

  1. Reacting too late to financial signals

Ignoring warning signs such as declining profitability, increasing debt burden and cash flow problems can lead to a downward spiral. A proactive approach to addressing financial issues can reduce the impact on tax liabilities.

  1. Changes in tax law

Changes in tax legislation can have a direct impact on a company's financial obligations. It is important to stay informed of any changes and to make timely adjustments to your financial planning.


Understanding the causes of tax debt is the first step to effective prevention and resolution. As an entrepreneur, it is very important to be proactive and well-informed to avoid financial pitfalls.

As a business owner in dire straits, it is crucial to limit your personal liability, especially when tax debts pile up. In this blog we explore strategies to protect yourself from personal financial risks and legal complications.

  1. Choose the right legal form for your company

The choice of the legal form of your company has direct consequences for your personal liability. Consider a private limited company (BV) or a public limited company (NV) where your personal assets are generally shielded from company debts.

  1. Keep personal and business finances separate

Mixing personal and business finances can lead to increased personal liability risk. Open separate bank accounts and ensure a clear separation between your private and business finances.

  1. Avoid mixing private and business obligations

Make sure that personal obligations, such as personal loans, are clearly separated from business obligations. Mixing can lead to complex legal situations and increases the risk of personal liability.

  1. Maintain accurate accounting and reporting

Careful accounting and timely financial reporting reduce the risk of personal liability. It shows that as an entrepreneur you are transparent and take your business obligations seriously.

  1. Consider liability insurance

Liability insurance can provide an extra layer of protection against personal liability. It can protect your financial interests in the event of legal disputes or claims against your company.

  1. Consult a legal advisor

Legal counsel can be valuable in assessing your business structure and providing advice on how to reduce personal liability. Good legal advice can help you make the right decisions at the right time.


While you face financial challenges as a business owner, limiting your personal liability is essential. By taking proactive steps and seeking legal advice, you can minimize the impact on your personal finances.

Debt assistance can be a lifeline for entrepreneurs who are dealing with tax debts and financial setbacks. In this blog we explore the essential role of debt counseling and how it can assist entrepreneurs during challenging financial periods.

  1. What is debt counseling and how does it work?

Debt counseling is a process in which an entrepreneur, with the support of professionals, develops a plan to pay off debts. It often involves negotiating with creditors, developing a realistic repayment plan, and providing guidance throughout the process.

  1. Who is debt counseling suitable for?

Debt counseling is suitable for entrepreneurs who are faced with significant debt burdens and have difficulty meeting their financial obligations. It can be an effective solution to avoid bankruptcy and provide an organized approach to debt reduction.

  1. The importance of early involvement of debt assistance

Early involvement in debt counseling can make the difference. The sooner entrepreneurs seek help, the greater the chance of successful debt settlements and avoiding serious legal complications.

  1. How does debt counseling help with tax problems?

Debt counseling can be specifically aimed at negotiating with creditors and developing repayment plans. It enables entrepreneurs to tackle tax debts in a structured manner and prevent them from escalating further.

  1. Drawing up a realistic repayment plan

One of the most important aspects of debt assistance is drawing up a repayment plan that matches the financial possibilities of the entrepreneur. This plan is often developed in collaboration with debt counselors and adapted to the specific situation.

  1. Guidance and support during the process

Debt counseling not only includes financial aspects, but also emotional and mental support. It's a process that is often challenging, and having guidance can help entrepreneurs stay motivated and make the right decisions.

  1. The positive effects on the financial future of the company

By actively participating in debt assistance, entrepreneurs not only lay the foundation for solving their current financial problems, but also for a healthy financial future. It enables them to learn lessons, build financial discipline and manage their business sustainably.


Debt counseling is a valuable instrument for entrepreneurs who are dealing with problematic debts. By seeking professional help in a timely manner, entrepreneurs can work in a structured manner to pay off debts and restore financial stability.

A crucial aspect of an effective debt relief process is the accurate and complete documentation provided. In this blog we will discuss the essential documents that entrepreneurs must prepare to complete a successful debt relief process.

  1. Overview of debts and creditors

A detailed overview of all debts, including amounts, creditors and payment arrears, is vital. This provides a basis for negotiations and drawing up a realistic repayment plan.

  1. Company financial statements

Provide detailed financial statements, such as balance sheets, profit and loss statements, and cash flow statements. These documents provide insight into the financial health of the company and help assess the viability of the debt relief process.

  1. Tax returns and payment history

Complete tax returns for recent years and a detailed payment history with the tax authorities are required. This is crucial for negotiating repayment plans and resolving tax-related debts.

  1. Business plan for recovery

A business plan that indicates how you plan to recover your business after the debt counseling process. This includes cost control strategies, revenue generation and financial discipline to prevent recurrence.

  1. Evidence of active participation in debt counseling

Document your involvement in the debt relief process, including correspondence with debt counselors and evidence of attendance at required programs or sessions.

  1. Corporate structure and legal documents

Provide documentation regarding your company's legal structure, including incorporation documents, articles of incorporation, agreements, and any legal disputes. This is important for a good overview of the financial and legal situation.

  1. Personal financial status

Because debt counseling often extends to personal finances, you will need to provide detailed information about personal income, expenses, assets and debts. This helps assess the overall financial position.

  1. Copies of debt settlements or repayment plans

If applicable, include copies of debt settlements or repayment plans agreed to with other creditors. This shows that you are actively working to tackle debt on multiple fronts.

  1. Forecasts and future plans

Including financial forecasts and future plans. These documents help demonstrate viability and provide insight into how you plan to grow the business after the debt relief process.


Thorough and accurate documentation is essential for a successful debt relief process. By carefully preparing and providing these documents, you increase the likelihood of effective negotiations and successful debt settlement.

As an entrepreneur, it is not uncommon to find yourself in dire straits, especially when it comes to tax debts. But don't despair; there are steps you can take to improve the situation and avoid bankruptcy. Here are some crucial steps you should consider as an entrepreneur.

  1. Honest evaluation of the financial situation

Before taking action, it is vital to make an accurate and honest assessment of your financial situation. Identify all current debts, including taxes, and get a clear picture of the total debt burden.

  1. Communicate with tax authorities

Avoiding communication with the tax authorities can increase the problems. Contact us proactively, explain the situation and discuss possible arrangements. The tax authorities are often willing to negotiate repayment arrangements or other solutions.

  1. Prioritize payments

If you can't pay off all your debts at once, identify which debts are priorities. Current tax obligations are usually the highest priority, so consider paying these first to avoid further legal complications.

  1. Seek professional advice

An experienced financial advisor or debt counselor can be invaluable at this stage. They can help you draw up a realistic financial plan, negotiate with creditors and determine the best strategy for debt restructuring.

  1. Consider debt settlement or debt restructuring

Depending on the situation, it may be useful to negotiate a debt settlement with creditors. If this is not feasible, debt restructuring may be an option. It's important to understand the pros and cons of each option before making a decision.

  1. Implement cost-saving measures

Take a critical look at your operating costs and identify areas where you can save. Reducing non-essential expenses can improve cash flow and help pay down debt.

  1. Plan for the future

Develop a long-term plan to achieve financial stability. This may include restructuring your business, exploring new sources of revenue and implementing strict financial discipline.


Dealing with tax debt and financial setbacks is not easy, but with the right steps and advice, recovery is possible. Take control of your finances, communicate openly, and seek professional guidance to pave the way to recovery.

Negotiating with the tax authorities is a crucial step for entrepreneurs who want to pay off tax debts and restore financial stability. In this blog we explore effective strategies for negotiating with the tax authorities and how entrepreneurs can tackle this challenge.

1. Understand your current tax position
Before you start negotiating, it is very important to have a thorough understanding of your current tax position. This includes outstanding tax debts, penalties, interest charges and all related details.

2. Seek professional advice
Consider hiring a tax advisor or tax expert to assist you. Professional advice can help interpret tax laws, identify potential negotiating room and develop a strategic plan.

3. Communicate proactively with the Tax Authorities
Don't wait until the last minute to contact the tax authorities. Proactive communication shows your intention to address the issue seriously and can be received positively.

4. Propose a realistic repayment plan
Prepare a realistic repayment plan that suits your financial capabilities. Demonstrate that you are actively working to pay off tax debts and are willing to work with the tax authorities to find a feasible solution.

5. Explore possible forgiveness options
Inquire about possible waiver options or reduction of penalties and interest. In some cases, the tax authorities may be willing to waive certain costs, especially if there are demonstrable financial difficulties.

6. Evidence of financial difficulties
Support your negotiating position with evidence of financial distress, such as operating results, cash flow forecasts, and other relevant documents. Transparency about your financial situation increases the credibility of your negotiation proposal.

7. Keep open lines of communication
Keep the lines of communication open and be prepared to provide regular updates to the tax authorities. Transparent and open communication promotes a positive relationship and increases the likelihood of a successful settlement.

8. Research available tax credits
Investigate whether there are specific tax facilities or regulations that may apply to your situation. Sometimes the tax authorities offer options for deferred payment or other facilities that can help you.

9. Prepare for negotiations
Be well prepared for negotiation conversations. Anticipate questions, prepare relevant documentation and know what you want to achieve. A well-thought-out approach increases the chance of a positive outcome.

Negotiating with the tax authorities requires strategy, preparation and proactive communication. By implementing these effective strategies, business owners can approach the tax authorities with a credible proposal for debt repayment and financial recovery. In our next blog we will discuss the different debt restructuring options that entrepreneurs can consider.*

Debt restructuring can be a viable option for entrepreneurs who are in dire straits and are confronted with tax debts. In this blog, we discuss various debt restructuring options that business owners can consider to achieve financial recovery.

1. Debt mediation (amicable settlement)
Debt mediation, also known as amicable settlement, involves reaching an arrangement with creditors outside of court. A mediator negotiates installments and terms on behalf of the entrepreneur, often resulting in an agreement that is acceptable to both parties.

2. Statutory Debt Restructuring (WSNP)
The Debt Restructuring Natural Persons Act (WSNP) applies to natural persons, but in some cases sole proprietorships can also make use of this. It is a legal process in which debtor and creditors reach an agreement under the supervision of an administrator.

3. Preventing bankruptcy through agreement with creditorn
Some entrepreneurs may try to avoid bankruptcy by reaching an agreement with creditors. This may mean that creditors agree to partial payment of the debt or an extension of the payment term.

4. The WHOA (Act Homologation Private Agreement)
The WHOA provides a legal framework for reaching a private agreement with creditors. It allows entrepreneurs to propose an arrangement that can then be approved by the judge, even if not all creditors agree.

5. Suspension of payments
A moratorium on payments is temporary protection against creditors, giving an entrepreneur the opportunity to solve financial problems. During this period, an agreement is sought with creditors to prevent bankruptcy.

6. Debt settlement via debt counseling process
A structured debt counseling process can result in a debt settlement with creditors. Debt counselors negotiate on behalf of the entrepreneur and try to reach an agreement on repayments and conditions.

7. Transfer of business activities
In some cases, transferring certain business activities to third parties can be a way to reduce financial obligations and keep the business viable.

8. Restructuring of the company
Restructuring the business involves changing business processes, controlling costs and possibly divesting non-performing assets. This can improve the financial position and provide scope for debt restructuring.

9. Financial education and training
Investing in financial education and training can help entrepreneurs manage their finances better and avoid future debt.

Debt restructuring offers entrepreneurs various options to restore their financial situation. Choosing the right strategy requires thorough evaluation and possibly professional advice. In our next blog we will discuss the tax consequences of debt assistance and how entrepreneurs can prepare for this.*

Debt counseling is not only a process of paying off debt, but also an opportunity to learn valuable lessons and build financial resilience. In this blog, we share some key lessons that entrepreneurs can learn from the debt relief process and how they can become stronger in the wake of financial challenges.

1. Realistic financial planning is crucial
One of the most important lessons is the importance of realistic financial planning. Drawing up a sound budget, managing cash flow and anticipating financial setbacks are essential aspects of resilient business operations.

2. Proactive monitoring of financial health
Ignoring financial warning signs can lead to serious problems. Business owners must proactively monitor their financial health and respond quickly to any signs of trouble.

3. Accounting accuracy is non-negotiable
Improper accounting can lead to incorrect tax returns and financial problems. Maintaining accounting accuracy and possibly working with a professional bookkeeper is key.

4. Financial education and awareness are powerful tools
Investing in financial education and awareness can empower entrepreneurs. A deeper understanding of financial principles allows them to make informed decisions and avoid financial pitfalls.

5. Provide a safety margin and emergency fund
Building a margin of safety and emergency fund is critical. This provides a financial safety net in times of uncertainty and helps prevent debt accumulation.

6. Seeking timely help is not a shortcomingng
Seeking help in a timely manner, whether it concerns financial advice, debt counseling or legal advice, is not a sign of weakness. Instead, it shows proactivity and a willingness to tackle problems before they escalate.

7. Flexibility and adaptability are assets
Flexibility and adaptability are essential in a dynamic business environment. Entrepreneurs who are willing to adapt to changing circumstances have a greater chance of overcoming financial setbacks.

8. Self-care is entrepreneurial care
Entrepreneurship often brings stress and pressure. Self-care, both physical and mental, is very important. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle contributes to resilience during challenging times.

9. Lifelong learning and improvement
Entrepreneurship is a continuous learning process. Lessons learned from debt counseling should serve as a catalyst for lifelong learning and continuous improvement in business practices.

Debt assistance is not the end, but rather a new start for entrepreneurs. By learning lessons from this process, they can strengthen their financial resilience and be better prepared for future challenges. In our latest blog we will share some inspiring stories of entrepreneurs who have successfully emerged from debt relief and recovered their businesses.*

Continue reading or bankruptcy and the WSNP?

Where should I apply for debt assistance? – National government

Statutory debt restructuring (Wsnp) – The Judiciary – Scheme – Debt restructuring natural persons