Partnership VS LLP VS Private Limited Company


The choice of business structure is a crucial decision for any entrepreneur or business owner. In India, three primary business structures are prevalent: partnerships, limited liability partnerships (LLPs), and private limited companies (PLCs). Each structure offers distinct advantages and disadvantages, making it essential to understand them to make an informed decision.

Comparative Analysis: Partnership vs. LLP vs. Private Limited Company

AspectPartnershipLimited Liability Partnership (LLP)Private Limited Company
DefinitionsType of business structure where there are two or more partners who pool their resources to start a business and divide all the liability of the business among themselves.Type of business structure where there are two or more partners who pool their resources to start a business and are only liable for their contribution to the partnership and are not accountable for the actions of their partners.Type of business structure where there are two entities. One, the shareholders who each own a part of the company, and two, the directors. The directors addition to owning shares also have decision-making power.
General Comparison1. Easy to set up and manager
2. Flexible structure with fairly equal decision-making power.
3. Audit is not mandatory
1. Easy to set up and manage
2. Flexible structure with justifiable decision-making power
3. Not required to have a mandatory audit unless turnover exceeds ₹40 lakh or partner contribution exceeds ₹20 lakh
1. Hard to set up and complicated managing style
2. Rigid structure with unequal decision-making power.
3. Mandatory Audit required.
LiabilityUnlimited LiabilityLimited LiabilityLimited Liability
Number of MembersMinimum: 2 Maximum: UnlimitedMinimum: 2 Maximum: UnlimitedMinimum Directors: 2
Maximum Directors: 15
Minimum Shareholders: 2
Maximum Shareholders: 200
Compliances1. Preparing Partnership Deed
2. Reporting annual filing of Income Tax Returns
1. Maintaining records, filing annual returns, and adhering to audit requirements
2. Reporting annual filing and financial statements with the Register of Companies
1. Maintaining required financial records, regular board meetings, and annual audits. 2. Reporting annual filings, financial statements, and other necessary documents
Registration1. Optional
2. Registrar of Firms under Partnership Act, 1932
1. Mandatory
2. Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) under the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008
1. Mandatory
2. Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) under the Companies Act, 2013
Management StructureDetermined by the mutually decided terms of the Partnership DeedDetermined by the mutually decided terms of the Limited Liability Partnership Deed.Shareholders own the company, and the authority to make decisions is vested in a board of directors, which is a group of shareholders elected to oversee and guide the company's management.
Tax ImplicationsIn a partnership, the tax is of a pass-through entity meaning that the firm’s income is taxed on a personal level depending on their tax slabs.Similar to partnership firms, LLP also has a pass-through tax entity, and hence the income is not doubly taxed. These firms are also not subjected to any corporate tax.In a Private Limited Company, there is a corporate tax paid on the profit earned by the company which when divided amongst the shareholders is again taxed as a personal income. This is known as double taxation.
Capital and Share Structure1. Capital is formed from the personal assets of the partners. 2. Shares are determined by the partnership deed.1. Capital is formed from the personal assets of the partners. 2. Shares are determined by the limited liability partnership deed.1. Capital is formed by an exchange of shares with shareholders. 2. Shares are determined by the percentage of shares owned by each member.
Funding Requirements and CapacityTypically relies on the contributions of partners. Funding may come from personal savings or loans.Funding may come from the contributions of partners. LLPs can also attract external investment, but ownership restrictions may apply.Private Limited Companies have more options for raising funds. This includes equity financing through the sale of shares to investors, venture capitalists, or the public.
Type of Agreement SignedPartnership DeedLLP AgreementMemorandum of Association and Articles of Association

Which type of business structure is right for you?

Choosing the right business structure is a crucial step in establishing your business. The decision depends on various factors such as the objectives and scale of your business. To determine the most suitable business structure for you, consider the following factors:

1. Size and Scale of Business

SmallPartnership Firm or LLPSmall businesses find flexibility in partnerships or LLPs for quick decisions. Private limited companies' strict legal requirements might be too much for very small enterprises, potentially outweighing the benefits.
LargePrivate Limited CompanyLarge enterprises may face governance challenges in informal partnerships or LLPs. Private limited companies offer a structured approach, vital for clear ownership-management distinction, facilitating growth with professionals and external investors.

For instance, think of a restaurant owned and operated by members of a family. The relaxed structure of a partnership or LLP suits their close relationships, making decisions uncomplicated.

Now, imagine a global fast-food chain with restaurants worldwide. The informality of a partnership or LLP might lead to confusion in decision-making due to the vast and intricate nature of its operations. Instead, opting for a private limited company offers a more organized approach, well-suited for managing such a large and diverse business.

2. Liability Concerns

Close RelationshipPartnership Firm or LLPIn small businesses that rely on personal connections, partners often choose to share responsibility for financial commitments. This reflects a collaborative approach where there is a deep understanding and trust among partners. On the other hand, the extensive protection from liability that comes with a private limited company may feel unnecessary in businesses where personal relationships and trust are vital.
Distant RelationshipPrivate Limited CompanyIn businesses with less established connections or unfamiliar partners, the informal setup of a partnership may pose challenges. This is especially noticeable when there's a need for external investors or the business involves significant financial risks, making the strong liability protection of a private limited company crucial.

Consider a group of childhood friends establishing a community-based restaurant. Their strong personal connections and trust foster a collaborative partnership where financial responsibilities are shared. On the other hand, envision professionals from diverse backgrounds forming an LLP for a regional restaurant chain. In this context, the less-established connections drive the need for a more structured approach, especially when seeking external investments or managing substantial financial risks.

3. Capital Requirements

Modest Capital NeedsPartnership Firm or LLPIdeal for businesses with modest capital needs, a partnership structure allows partners to contribute based on their capacity, promoting equality and shared responsibility. In the context of very small enterprises, the intricacies of managing shares and engaging external investors may be deemed unnecessary.
Significant Capital NeedsPrivate Limited CompanyIn bigger companies that require substantial funds, depending solely on partner contributions might limit the ability to raise the required funds. When significant capital is needed, the issuance of shares provides a structured approach to attract investments and secure funds for expanding the business.

Imagine a small store that doesn't plan to grow much. They might feel that going through all the formalities of a private limited company is unnecessary since they don't need a lot of money. On the other hand, think about a tech company creating advanced products. They could see the private limited company structure as helpful because it allows them to get money from outside investors.

4. Ownership Structure and Management

Collaborative Decision-MakingPartnership Firm or LLPThis structure is great for businesses that like making decisions together. Everyone in the partnership is part of deciding things, which creates a feeling of shared responsibility. The strict setup of hierarchy in a private limited company may not appeal to smaller, close-knit businesses.
Structured Hierarchy for EfficiencyPrivate Limited CompanyIn larger businesses, having a simple structure might slow down decision-making, and not having a clear order could make it tough to grow. The organized setup of a private limited company creates a clear divide between who owns the business and who manages it, making things run more smoothly.

In a small, tight-knit business, a partnership or LLP is preferred for quick, simple, and collaborative decision-making, ensuring equal representation from all partners. Conversely, a tech company with complex operations may face efficiency challenges under a partnership or LLP structure, lacking a clear hierarchy.

5. Long-Term Goals

Long TermPrivate Limited CompanyIn larger enterprises with ambitious growth plans, the informal structure of partnerships or LLPs may lack the scalability needed for expansion. Conversely, for businesses with ambitious growth plans, the ability to attract external investment and the ease of transferability of ownership provided by a private limited company are essential for scaling operations.
Short TermPartnership Firm or LLPIn ventures with short-term goals or businesses focusing on localized operations, the informal nature of partnerships or LLPs may be sufficient. Especially for short-term ventures where significant expansion is not a priority and localized operations are preferred, the formalities of a private limited company may be unnecessary.

For example, a tech startup with ambitious global expansion plans may find the structured approach of a private limited company beneficial for attracting external investors and scaling efficiently. On the other hand, a local catering service with a six-month project may choose a partnership or LLP to avoid the perceived complexities of a private limited company, considering the temporary nature of the business.


In conclusion, determining the most suitable business structure for your organization is a critical decision that should be based on several factors. These factors include your business requirements, level of risk tolerance, and long-term expansion strategies. It is important to carefully evaluate your priorities in terms of legal liability, decision-making processes, ability to scale, and compliance with regulatory obligations. Seeking guidance from experienced professionals who can offer personalized advice tailored to your unique circumstances is highly recommended.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, under the compliance of various legal requirements and by following specific procedures, the conversion of a business structure is possible.