Limited Liability Partnership (or 'LLP') is amongst the most popular ways to operate business in India. The operation of your business via LLP gives a high degree of flexibility in terms of the adoption of the management decisions. The favorable legislation enhances the usage of LLP in India. It is comparatively easier to start and operate an LLP than winding up procedure. This guide will give you a general understanding of the benefits and procures for winding up an LLP.
LLP can be understood as a combination of a company and a partnership. It gives the benefits of limited liability of a company and flexibility of a partnership. The LLP Act, 2008 along with the LLP (Winding up and dissolution) Rules, 2012 contain the legal provisions relating to the winding of an LLP.
Being a registered legal entity, an LLP has to undergo periodic legal compliance requirements. This has to be done even if the LLP is doing no business activities. By closing down your LLP, you can get away with the recurring legal compliances and filings.
The penalty for non-compliance and failure to file recurring returns is huge. Hence, if the LLP has stopped doing business, it is better to wind up the LLP at the earliest to avoid any hefty fines.
If you want to shut down the business or have your LLP has gone without any business for more than a year, you need to apply to the registrar to declare your LLP as defunct and to strike off the name from the Register of the LLP's. The winding up procedure can be initiated online through the MCA Portal.
Also, If an LLP fails to begin its business operations or discontinues its operations for a specified period, then such an LLP can be classified as dormant and will be removed from the Register of LLP's.
The LLP could be closed down, either voluntarily by the stakeholders, or by the law through a tribunal or registrar.
Voluntary winding up is when the partners of your LLP decide to wind up or close down the LLP. To wind up an LLP, a resolution shall be passed with support of at least 75% of partners. The liquidation or winding up begins with the declaration by the designated partners that the LLP is free from any debts or that all the debts can be satisfied or paid off within a year.
Once the resolution has passed, the same shall be published in the regional newspaper within 14 days.
Also, the partners must make another declaration stating that the winding up is not happening due to any fraud or coercion. The declaration must be tagged along with a statement showing all the assets and liabilities of the LLP right before the winding up declaration.
Additionally, all the assets of the LLP must have a valuation statement prepared and submitted.
Sometimes, an order to wind up the LLP can be initiated by a tribunal. Tribunal means the National Company Law Tribunal constituted under the Companies Act 2013. This is made under the following circumstances:
An LLP shall appoint an LLP liquidator within 30 days. A liquidator is an individual who is being authorized to held the whole process of winding up the LLP. The liquidator should be appointed under the following circumstances:
The appointment and remuneration of the liquidator is determined with the support of more than 50% of partners with voting power.
If the LLP has creditors, such an appointment shall be with the approval of at least two thirds of total creditors.
Finally, the LLP has to file Form 24 to wind up. The following are some steps to be taken before filing Form 24:
Before filing LLP Form 24, the LLP must cease all the business/commercial activities. Form 24 can only be used by an LLP which has not commenced business, or which has gone dormant.
Only an LLP with no open bank account and existing creditors can file Form 24. Therefore, to file LLP Form 24, all open bank accounts must be closed and a closure letter evidencing the same in the name of the LLP must be obtained from the bank concerned.
All designated partners must either separately or jointly declare the fact of the LLP ceasing its commercial operations from the date or that it has not started any business operations. A template of Affidavit of Designated Partners to Wind up an LLP is available on this website.
Additionally, the partners must declare that there is no existing liability and indemnify any future liability that may arise after striking off its name.
While filing LLP Form 24, the LLP Agreement and statement of income tax must also be attached. If the LLP has not commenced business, then the statement of income tax return is not required.
If the LLP agreement was not filed with the concerned Registrar within 30 days of incorporation, the first copy of the agreement along with all the amendments must be duly filed.
Additionally, all the overdue Form 11 ('Annual return of LLP'), and Form 8 ('Statement of Account & Solvency') must be filed before or during filing of Form 24.
The date of cessation is when the business stops carrying on its business, and any payment or transactions after that won't be a part of the money-making business.
After preparing all the documents for filing along with LLP Form 24, an authorized statement from a Chartered Accountant stating that the LLP has zero assets and liabilities must be obtained.
The final step is to file the Form 24 along with all the aforementioned documents. If all the documents and forms are filed properly, the Registrar will publish the notice of the name removal on the MCA website for the information of the public for one month.
An LLP can no longer do business after the winding up procedure has started, except for completing the division of its assets and liquidation. The LLP will be effectively dissolved at the conclusion of the procedure.
With digitalization of the closure process, you can do the closure of procedure of an LLP online on the MCA Portal. It is important to note that, to wind up an LLP, you must have all the necessary documents mentioned under this guide, including the LLP Agreement, ready with you.
If you find the preceding steps complicated, it is always better to approach a consultant who will help you close down your LLP without any hassle.