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Let's say that I own a small company with 10 employees. The company has provided each one of them with brand new laptops and mobile phones.

If the company closed, the employees would return the devices. Assuming that all debts were paid, what would happen to those devices? As an owner of the company, would I be able to keep the devices as my own property? What could happen to me if I kept them for myself?

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    You mention "as an owner". Are you the only owner of this company, or are there other owners via a partnership, shares or similar? – Tom Revell Oct 4 at 11:51
  • Dino, if you want a practical, real-world answer, just explantion the situation more. – Fattie Oct 4 at 15:42
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Assuming that all debts were paid, [...] As an owner of the company, would I be able to keep the devices as my own property? What could happen to me if I kept them for myself?

When the company is terminated and assets are enough to pay debts, remaining assets are distributed among shareholders according their share quotas.

If new debt arises after the distribution, ex shareholders are successors for those debts on the same ratio as the share quota when the company is terminated.

All of that termination information is mandatorily recorded in a public registry, in order for potential creditors to know.

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When a company shutters with excess assets after paying debts, the shareholders get to decide what they wish to do with those excess assets.

If there are many shareholders (or even just one shareholder who insists on getting an exact fair share), the excess assets would likely be sold to the highest bidder or written off. If you really want the antique paintings (or whatever), you can probably make a reasonable offer at that point. Assets nobody wants that have been written off are likely to be thrown away or donated. The money from the closing-down sale is then split among the shareholders.

If the shareholders enjoy a more collegiate relationship, "you get the computers, I get the furniture and Bob wants all the plants" can work.

You also ask

As an owner of the company, would I be able to keep the devices as my own property? What could happen to me if I kept them for myself?

I am not a lawyer and none of this answer counts as financial advice, but I'd guess that if the other shareholders are fine with you keeping the devices, you still have a capital-gains tax issue. It might help to fix a price on the second-hand goods so that you have a definite and reasonable number to work with when the tax man comes knocking.

As for what could happen to you if you kept them for yourself, i.e. without the consent of the other shareholders, the consequences probably start with not getting invited to reunions and the possibilities deteriorate rapidly from there. It's not fair to the other shareholders, so it's not advisable to do it. Try to come to an agreement that all shareholders are willing parties to. After all, ending the venture with money in the bank is so much better than ending the venture with debts owing. It would be unfortunate to lose your integrity by underhanded dealings after all that.

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    "It's not fair to the other shareholders". Heck, it's not legal!! – RonJohn Oct 4 at 13:23

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