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Types of Legal / Business Entities In India

There are 7 types of entities recognized under the Indian Law namely Private Limited Company, Public Company, Sole Proprietorship, One Person Company, Partnership, Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). The type of entities are described in detail below.

Private Limited Company

A Private Limited Company is a company whose ownership is private.A private limited company can be formed with a minimum of 2 and maximum of 200 members. It cannot issue a prospectus in the open market nor can it make or accept deposits from the public. The shares in a private company are not freely transferable. According to the Companies Act, 2013, an investor can choose between the following types of a Private Limited Company in India;

-Company Limited by shares

-Company Limited by Guarantee

-Unlimited Company

Public Company

Public Limited Company is a type of company whose securities are traded on a stock exchange. A Public Limited Company can be formed with a minimum of 7 members. There is no restriction on the transferability of  shares. A Public Limited Company requires more public disclosures and compliances from the government as well as other authorities like RBI(Reserve Bank of India), SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) etc

Sole Proprietorship

The sole proprietorship is the simplest form of business under which one can operate. The sole proprietorship is not a legal entity. The person who is the owner of the business becomes personally liable for the debts of the business. For taxation and legal liability purpose, the owner and the business are one and the same. The proprietorship is not taxed as separate entity.

One Person Company

The concept of One Person Company has been introduced by Companies Act, 2013 enabling a sole proprietor form of business to enter into the corporate framework. This allows a sole investor to form a company alone with limited liability. One Person Company structure is similar to that of a proprietorship concern without the ills generally faced by the proprietors. One of the most important feature of One Person Company is that the risks mitigated are limited to the extent of the value of shares held by such person in the company.


The Indian Partnership Act, 1932, Section 4, defined partnership as “the relation between persons who have agreed to share the profits of a business carried on by all or any of them acting for all”. The partnership is an association of two or more persons who have agreed to share the profits of a business which they run together. This business may be carried on by all or any one of them acting for all. The persons who own the partnership business are individually called ‘partners’ and collectively they are called as ‘firm’ or ‘partnership firm’. The name under which partnership business is carried on is called ‘Firm Name’. In a way, the firm is nothing but an abbreviation for partners. Unlike a company, a partnership is not a separate legal entity distinct from its members. It cannot own a property, incur debts or sue any party in its own name. Moreover, the partners of a partnership firm shall be personally and severally liable for the liabilities incurred by the firm.

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008 governs the principles of Limited Liability Partnership in India. It is a combination of a company and a partnership firm. Unlike partnership, the liability of the partners in an LLP is limited and no partner shall be held liable for the acts of the other. It is a separate legal entity, having a distinct entity of its own separate from its members. The main disadvantage of an LLP is that it cannot raise capital from public by issue of an IPO unlike a company.

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