What Happens To Cash When Selling A Business

Cash When Selling A Business

Selling a business is a complex process that involves various factors and considerations. One crucial aspect that often raises questions is the treatment of cash during the sale. Many business owners wonder what happens to the cash when they sell their business and how it affects the overall transaction. In this article, we will explore what happens to cash when selling a business and provide insights into its treatment.

Understanding the Role of Cash in a Business Sale

When selling a business, it’s essential to grasp the concept of cash as an asset and how it relates to the transaction. In most cases, cash does not need to be considered as an asset of the business at the time of sale. Instead, the business owner retains any and all cash or cash equivalents after the sale. This includes bonds, petty cash, money in bank accounts, and other liquid assets.

Why is Cash Not Considered an Asset?

The primary reason for not treating cash as an operating asset during a business sale is that the buyer typically has their own estimates of working capital. In many instances, the cash in pass-through entities like S Corporations or LLCs is generated through profits that the owner has already paid taxes on. Alternatively, the cash could be the result of borrowed funds. Consequently, the seller may either feel they “own the cash” or need to repay it, which leads to the cash remaining with the seller.

However, it’s important to note that there are scenarios where cash could be a significant component of working capital requirements. Businesses that rely on cash on hand, such as pawn shops, ATM businesses, or check cashing stores, may have different dynamics. Additionally, industries with customer deposits or warranty obligations, such as catering/event facilities or contractors, may also have cash considerations.

Implications for Sellers

For the majority of business sales, the cash in the bank belongs to the seller. It is crucial for sellers to consider this as part of their proceeds from the sale when planning how much they will net after accounting for closing costs and taxes that affect the transaction. Understanding the structure of your business and the specific deal you are contemplating is essential to fully grasp the future income and tax implications.

To ensure a smooth and successful sale, it’s recommended to consult with an experienced business broker, such as Transworld Business Advisors. Their team of professionals can provide valuable insights and guidance to help you navigate the intricacies of selling your business.


In conclusion, cash handling during a business sale depends on various factors and circumstances. While cash is typically not considered as an asset of the business, there are exceptions in certain industries. As a business owner, it’s crucial to understand the implications and consult with experts to maximize your proceeds from the sale. Selling a business is a significant milestone, and proper handling of cash ensures a seamless transition for both parties involved.

If you’re considering selling your business, reach out to Transworld Business Advisors today. With their nationwide presence and expertise in business brokerage, they can provide the support you need to achieve a successful sale. Call 800-205-7605 to connect with their team and explore your options.

Additional Information: Keep in mind that the treatment of cash during a business sale may vary depending on the specific circumstances and industry. Consulting with professionals and conducting thorough research is essential to ensure compliance with regulations and maximize your financial outcomes.

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