India as one of the fastest growing economies in the world attracts plenty of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Private Equity capital. According to a recent report by Nomura, a Japanese Brokerage firm, FDI into India is likely to have hit high of $34.9 billion in financial year 2015, a massive 61.6 per cent jump from $21.6 billion in the previous fiscal. With the world’s second largest population and a large talent pool of skilled IT professionals, India continues to be an attractive destination for investment amongst Foreign Companies and Foreign Nationals. In this article, we provide a comprehensive guide to Indian Private Limited Company and India entry strategy for foreign nationals and foreign companies.
Following are the available types of entry strategies into India:
Incorporation of a private limited company is the easiest and fastest type of India entry strategy for foreign nationals and foreign companies. Foreign direct investment of upto 100% into a private limited company or limited company is under the automatic route, wherein no Central Government permission is required. Hence, incorporation of a private limited company as a wholly owned subsidiary of a foreign company or joint venture is the cheapest, easiest and fastest entry strategy for foreign companies and foreign nationals into India.
Incorporation of a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is also an India entry strategy for foreign nationals or foreign citizens as 100% FDI in LLP is now allowed. An LLP, however, cannot have shareholders and must be represented by Partners – thereby making it an ideal choice for investment vehicles and professional firms.
Proprietorship firms or Partnership firms are the most basic types of business entities mostly used by very small businesses or unorganised players. Foreign investment into a proprietorship firm or partnership firm requires prior RBI approval. Hence, proprietorship firms or partnership firms are not suitable for a foreign company or foreign national investment into India.
Registration of Branch Office, Liaison Office or Project Office requires RBI and/or Government approval. Therefore, the cost and time taken for registration of branch office, liaison office or project office for a foreign company is higher than the cost and time associated with incorporation of a private limited company. Further, foreign nationals cannot open branch office, liaison office or project office. Hence, this option is limited to being an India entry strategy only for foreign companies.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into an Indian Private Limited Company or Limited Company is allowed upto 100% in most sectors. Only a very few sectors require prior Central Government approval for investment by foreign company or foreign national. The following sectors require Government Approval for investment by Foreign Company or Foreign National:
The following are the steps involved in the incorporation of a Indian Private Limited Company for foreign nationals or foreign companies:
A private limited company must have a minimum of two Shareholders and two Directors. A shareholder can be a person or a corporate entity. However, a Director has to be a person. Foreign nationals are allowed to become Directors of an Indian Private Limited Company.
The Board of Directors of the Indian Private Limited Company must have one Director who is both an Indian Citizen and Indian Resident. However, there is no requirement for the Indian Director to be a shareholder in the Company. Hence, most foreign companies or foreign nationals prefer to incorporate a company in India with three Directors – two Foreign National Directors and one Indian National Director.
The 100% shares of the Indian Company can be held by a combination of Foreign Companies and/or Foreign Nationals. Indian private limited companies require a minimum of two shareholders mandatorily. Hence, one corporate entity or person cannot hold all the shares of an Indian Private Limited Company.
A digital signature is required for filing the incorporation documents and continued compliance documents for a company. Hence, Digital Signatures must be obtained for one or more Director(s) of the company. The following video is a guide to submitting Digital Signature application:
The following are the documents and information required for obtaining Digital Signature for a foreign national:
In parallel to the digital signature application process, name approval can be obtained for the proposed company. The name of the Indian Company must be unique and should end with the words “Private Limited”. Click here to know more about Naming an Indian Private Limited Company.
Once name approval is obtained, incorporation documents can be filed with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to incorporate the Company. The incorporation documents to be filed includes affidavits & declarations from Directors, Memorandum of Association, Articles of Association Subscriber Sheet and Registered Office Address proof.
The affidavit and declarations from the Directors contain certain declaration from the Directors. Affidavit and Declaration would have to be executed independently for each of the Director and notarized (For Indian Director & Foreign Director).
By subscribing to the MOA & AOA, the shareholders (either foreign companies or foreign nationals or Indian companies or Indian national) show their intention for becoming a shareholder in the company to be incorporated.
In case a Foreign Company is a subscriber to the MOA & AOA of the proposed Indian Company:
The following documents pertaining to the foreign entity subscribing to the shares of the Indian Company must be submitted:
On submitting the above documents along with the application for incorporation of a company, the Registrar would issue a Certificate of Incorporation for the Indian Private Limited Company, if the documents submitted are acceptable.
After obtaining the incorporation certificate, the Indian Company can apply for a PAN Card and take the necessary steps for opening a bank account for the company in India.
To register a company in India, the first step is to obtain name approval for the business from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA). This process takes about 24-48 hours. A private limited company name in India must end with the words private limited. One Person Company ends with (OPC) private limited. LLP end with LLP and Section 8 companies can end with words like foundation, association or institution.
A company name proposed to be registered cannot be identical or similar to an existing company name. Also, every company name must include a word that denotes the activity undertaken. For example, in VERVE Financial Services Private Limited - Financial Services denote the activity undertaken. Check Business Name Availability
All trademarks are registered in India with the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks. A trademark application has to be filed under a class that denotes the type of goods or services the brand or logo represents. There are 45 trademark classes and each class represent a distinct type of goods or service.
Trademark search can be conducted using the tool above to check if any identical or similar brand or logo is registered or applied for under the same class. If there is an existing application, care must be taken while reapplying to ensure that the application is not rejected by the Trademark Registrar. Trademark Search
|Definition||Unregistered type of business entity managed by one single person||A formal agreement between two or more parties to manage and operate a business||A Limited Liability Partnership is a hybrid combination having features similar to a partnership firm and liabilities similar to a company.||Registered type of entity with limited liability to the owners and shareholders|
For One Person Company
|Registration Time||7-9 working days|
|Promoter Liability||Unlimited Liability||Limited Liability|
|Governance||-||Under Partnership Act||LLP Act, 2008||Under Companies Act,2013|
|Transferability||Non Transferable||Transferable if registered under ROF||Transferable|
|Compliance Requirements||Know More|
Many small businesses pay lakhs in penalty every year to the Government for late filing various statutory returns. Such penalty or late fee paid is not tax deductible and is a drain on profitability. At IndiaFilings, our mission is to provide the most affordable services to our customers and help them avoid all late fee.To achieve our mission - we have built enterprise grade technology to help you proactively know the upcoming compliance and avoid penalty.Checkout our compliance services below, talk to an Advisor and stop paying unwanted late fees.
In addition to registration or incorporation, a business may require other registrations depending on the business activity undertaken. Talk to an Advisor to find out registrations your business may require post registration.
Every registered entity has to comply with all the compliance obligations after the completion of each financial year. Majorly, it includes the audit of books of accounts, income tax return filing, and annual forms with the MCA.
|Form||Company Compliance||Due date||Penalty|
|COB Filing||Commence of Business Certificate||To be filed before 180 days of company Incorporation||Rs.50,000 for non-compliance|
|DIR 3 EKYC||Any director with DIN||Before 30th September every year||Deactivation of the DIN
A late filing fee of Rs.5,000
Disqualification of the Directors
|Form ADT 1||Appointment of auditor||Within 15 days from the date of appointment of the Auditor||Late fees will be applicable, with fees ranging from 2 to 12 times the nominal fee, depending on the number of days of delay.|
|Form AOC 4||Filing financial statements of the company||30 days from the conclusion of the AGM||Late fees will be applicable, with fees ranging from 2 to 12 times the nominal fee, depending on the number of days of delay.|
|Form MGT 7||Annual Returns of the Company||60 days from the conclusion of the AGM|
In addition to the above filings, depending on the type of entity and business activity more compliance filing maybe applicable. Please check with an IndiaFilings Advisor to help you with the compliance for your company.
All Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP) registered in India are required to file statutory returns with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) each year. IndiaFilings can help you maintain your LLP Compliance at a very affordable price.
|Form||LLP Compliance||Due date||Penalty|
|DIR 3 KYC||For every designated partners of a limited liability partnership (LLP) with DIN||Before 30th September every year||Deactivation of the DIN
A late filing fee of Rs.5,000
Disqualification of the Partners
|Form 11||Annual Returns||May 30th every year||Late fees will be applicable, with fees ranging from 1 to 50 times the nominal fee, depending on the number of days of delay.|
|Form 8||Statements of Accounts and Solvency||30th October every year||Late fees will be applicable, with fees ranging from 1 to 50 times the nominal fee, depending on the number of days of delay.|
Apart from the aforementioned filings, there might be additional compliance filings that could be relevant for LLPs. Please consult with an IndiaFilings Advisor to assist you with the compliance needs of your LLP.
|Private Limited Company||Annual Return (Form MGT-7)||60 days from the conclusion of the AGM or 28th November 2023 (Which Ever is Earlier)|
|Financial Statements (Form AOC-4)||29th October 2023|
|DIR-3 KYC||30th September 2023|
|Form DPT-3||30th June 2023|
|Form ADT-1||15th October 2023|
|ITR 6 (Non audit case)||31st July 2023|
|ITR 6 (Audit Cases)||31st October 2023|
|GSTR 9||31st Dec 2023|
|Limited Liability Partnership||ITR 5 (Non audit case)||31st July 2023|
|ITR Form 5 (Audit case)||30th September 2023|
|Annual return - Form 11||30 May 2023|
|Financial Statements - Form 8||30 October 2023|
Note : Get in touch with our experts to efficiently handle your compliance filings, whether you are an LLP, a company, partnership firm or a proprietorship. Contact us to ensure your compliance is filed before the due date.
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