Bankruptcy and employment

Restrictions on your employment due to bankruptcy depends on your profession and your situation.

Can I keep my job if I'm bankrupt?

Bankruptcy doesn't stop you from working and normally we won't tell your employer you are bankrupt. However there are some restrictions to be aware of:

  • Some professional or licencing bodies impose restrictions in some trades or professions. Contact them directly to ask if restrictions apply.
  • There may be limitations to operating as a sole trader.
  • You can't manage a trust account e.g. as a solicitor or accountant.
  • You can’t be a director of a company or manage a company unless you have the permission of the court.
  • You may not be able to hold certain public positions (e.g. senator or member of parliament).

Common professions that bankruptcy may affect are listed under employment restrictions.

Can I still be director of a company?

Not during bankruptcy. You are also unable to manage a company unless you have the permission of a court. For further company related enquiries, contact the Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC) at asic.gov.au.

Can I run my own business?

Yes, however there may be restrictions. If you're a sole trader, it's your responsibility to make sure you fulfil your bankruptcy obligations.

Your business name should contain your full name. This allows people to search for your name on the National Personal Insolvency Index (NPII)[?] if they choose.

If your business name doesn't contain your full name, you must tell all people you do business with that you're bankrupt.

For example: David Smith is currently bankrupt. He has a sole trader business as a plumber. If his business name is 'Dave’s Speedy Plumbing', he must inform his clients that he's bankrupt. If his business name is 'David Smith Plumbing', he wouldn't need to inform anyone because it contains his full name.

Discuss this further with your trustee if you're unsure of your obligations.

Direct queries regarding your Australian Business Number (ABN) to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

If you have another type of company (ending in Pty Ltd) contact ASIC.

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