Private and Public Limited Companies: What It Is, Types, and Pros and Cons

A limited company is a legal entity set up by people called directors. A director is someone who owns shares in the company and is responsible for running it. Directors are usually shareholders too, although some companies are owned entirely by one person.

Limited companies are different from sole traders because they have to register with Companies House. This is a government department that keeps records of businesses and makes sure they’re run properly. Sole traders do not have to register.

The main difference between a limited company and a sole trader is that a limited company must have at least 2 directors. There are many reasons why you might want to form a limited company, including avoiding personal liability for debts and taxes.

In a limited company, what does “limited liability” mean?

Limited companies provide protection against loss of capital. This means you don’t lose everything if the company goes bankrupt. But it limits the amount of money lost.

A limited company is legally distinct form its shareholders. If one shareholder commits fraud, he/she cannot hide behind the others.

Shareholders of a limited companyare personally liable for all debts incured by the company. In case of insolvency, the creditors can take over the assets of the company and sue the individual shareholders.

What types of limited company are there?

There are three main types of limited company:

Private Companies – Owned by individuals or small groups of people. Usually used for start-ups.

Public Companies – Owned by large numbers of people. Usually used by larger businesses.

Limited Companies By Guarantee – Used by people wanting to raise funds for a project.

Private company limited by shares

A private company limited by shares (abbreviated to PLC) is a type of company in which each shareholder owns an equal share in the firm. In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, it is called a public limited company. This term is sometimes confused with “private limited company”, which refers to a different legal entity.

Shareholders usually have a say over what happens to the company, including electing directors and voting on important matters. Shareholders may even be allowed to sell or transfer their stake in the company. However, there is no upper limit to the number of shareholders a company can have.

In addition to being a way to raise capital, private companies are often used by larger businesses to avoid paying corporation tax.

The most common form of private company is the British Limited Company, which is known as a LLP in Scotland.

Public limited company

– What does it mean?”

A public limited company is a type of UK Company which can be publicly owned and traded on the stock market. These types of companies are often referred to as “Private” companies.

Companies like these are known as Unlisted Companies.

Unlisted companies can be both Public Limited Companies (PLCs) or Private Unlimited Companies (PUCs).

An example of a PLC is Tesco plc. An example of a PUC is Tesco Stores Ltd.

There are many differences between PLCs and PUcs.

The main difference is that a PLC must be listed on a stock exchange whereas a PUC doesn’t have to be listed.

Another important difference is that a PUC can issue shares to investors whereas a PLC cannot.

Private company limited by guarantee

– What it means for you

A company limited by guarantee is one where there are no shareholders, so it doesn’t have shareholders, it’s just owned by people who want to do something together. These types of companies are often used by charities and nonprofit organisations.

Companies limited by guarantee aren’t required to publish accounts like public limited companies, so we don’t know how much money they’ve got. But because they’re usually set up to raise funds for charity, we might assume they’ll be pretty well funded.

The term ‘limited’ means that the organisation isn’t allowed to make profit. So it won’t sell products, run ads or charge fees. Instead, it raises money from donations and grants.

There are different ways to become a company limited by guarantee. You could start off as a company limited by shares, and later change into a company limited by guarantee, or vice versa. Or you could start out as a company limited by guarantee and later convert into a company limited by shares.

In some cases, the government will give permission to form a company limited by guarantee – for example, when someone wants to set up a foundation. In others, you have to apply to the Registrar of Charities.

If you’re setting up a company limited by guarantee for a charity, think about whether you’d rather be a company limited by shares or a company limited by guarantee when it comes to reporting financial information. If you choose to go down the company limited by shares route, you’ll still have to file annual returns, but those are less complicated.

You don’t have to register as a company limited by guarantees even though it’s common practice. However, it does mean that you won’t be able to claim tax relief on expenses such as office rent and salaries. And you won’t be able take dividends from profits.

Limited, but not limited companies

A special type of limited company known as a CIC is becoming increasingly popular among small businesses looking to save money and avoid unnecessary bureaucracy. But what exactly are CICs? And how do they differ from Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs)? We take a look at the differences between both types of company.

CICs – Companies incorporated into corporations

The term CIC stands for “company incorporated into corporation”. This is a legal structure where a company is incorporated within another company, usually a parent company. This allows the company to benefit from tax breaks offered by the parent company without having to pay taxes themselves.

Companies incorporated into corporations are often referred to as “limited”, because they are legally restricted to certain activities. For example, a CIC cannot buy property, make loans, or sell goods or services. These restrictions are designed to protect shareholders and creditors of the parent company.

In addition to the restrictions placed upon it, a CIC must appoint a director, secretary, and treasurer. In return, the directors receive dividends from the profits of the subsidiary company.


A CIC shares many similarities with a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). Both offer protection against personal liability for the owners of the company. However, there are some key differences between the two structures.

Limited liability partnership

A limited liability partnership (LLP) is a hybrid form of business organization combining the flexibility of partnerships with some of the protections afforded by corporations. While LLCs are often used as pass-through entities for real estate investment trusts (REITs), LLPs are typically formed for profit-making activities. Like a traditional partnership, an LLP consists of partners who contribute capital and expertise to a venture. However, unlike a partnership, an LLP is not required to distribute profits among its partners; rather, each partner is personally liable for the debts and obligations of the firm.

Unlike a corporation, an LLP does not have a board of directors. Instead, it has “members,” who both own and manage a business. Members elect the managing member (also called general manager) and one or more managers. Managers oversee day-to-day operations and make decisions regarding the direction of the firm. They hire and fire employees, set salaries, and generally perform the duties associated with running a business.

The managing member must be a natural person, although he/she may delegate certain responsibilities to others. A managing member cannot serve simultaneously as a manager unless there is no other manager. In addition, the managing member cannot hold another position within the firm without resigning his/her role as managing member. Finally, the managing member cannot receive compensation from the firm except for reasonable compensation for services rendered.

An LLP is taxed differently than a corporation. For example, it pays taxes at the individual tax rates of its members. Also, while a corporation may deduct expenses related to its business, an LLP is subject to self-employment tax.

While an LLP is not technically a corporation, it shares several characteristics of a corporation. For instance, an LLP must file annual reports with state authorities detailing its financial affairs. These filings include information about the names and addresses of the owners, the number of outstanding shares, and the amount of cash and property owned by the entity.

Like a corporation, an LLP may issue stock. This allows the owner(s) of an LLP to raise additional funds for expansion or acquisition purposes. Stockholders of an LLP do not enjoy the voting power granted to shareholders of a corporation, however. Rather, they are merely passive investors who benefit from the income generated by the firm.

Limited partnership

A limited partnership is an arrangement among individuals who want to share risk and reward without giving up control over how things work. In most cases, partners invest money into a venture and take part in managing it. If the venture fails, each partner loses what he or she put in, but none of the partners lose personal assets. Partnerships come in many forms, such as general partnerships, limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships.

What are the pros and cons of running a limited company?

Limited companies offer protection against personal liability if the business fails. This could mean that you don’t lose everything if the business goes bankrupt. You’ll still be liable for debts such as rent and bills, but your assets won’t be seized. If you’re starting up a small business, it might seem like a good idea to operate as a sole trader. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to doing so. Here are some things to consider.

How to make a limited liability company

Limited companies are often confused with corporations. They are similar in some ways, but there are important differences. In fact, many people mistakenly believe that you cannot incorporate a limited company unless it is a corporation. This is simply not true. You do not need to be a member of a trade association or registered charity to incorporate a limited company. However, you do need to register with Companies House.

There are three main types of companies: sole traders, partnerships and limited companies. Each type has certain requirements. For example, you cannot start up a limited company without having at least one director.

You can choose whether to incorporate a limited company yourself or use an accountant to help you set up a limited company. If you decide to go down the DIY route, you can either form a limited company yourself online or hire an accountant to do it for you.

If you want to learn how to form a limited company, read our guide here.

Taxation of a limited company

A company is taxed separately from the people who run it. This means that individuals pay income tax on their earnings, while the company pays corporation tax on its profits. In addition to being separate entities, companies are required to keep proper accounting records of all transactions involving their businesses, including payments made to their employees. These records must be kept for seven years.

All companies are liable for paying Corporation Tax, even those who do not employ anyone. However, there are some exceptions where companies can avoid paying Corporation Tax. For example, companies cannot use losses incurred during previous tax years to reduce their current Corporation Tax liability. Companies can also choose to pay dividends to their shareholders, rather than Corporation Tax. This reduces the amount of Corporation Tax owed.

An accountant can help you decide if a limited company is suitable to meet your needs. They can advise on how much you should charge for their services and what documents you need to provide. There are many types of limited companies, each offering different benefits and drawbacks. You should consider the type of company most appropriate to your circumstances.

What a limited company has to do on a regular basis

Limited companies are subject to strict regulation regarding record keeping. They should always have an auditor – even if you’re doing it yourself – and keep all meeting minutes and any documentation related to the company, including correspondence with customers. You’ll also need to keep copies of invoices, receipts and contracts relating to your work.

Some companies must file an annual tax return, while others don’t need to do anything. If you’re required to make an annual return, there’s a lot of paperwork associated with it.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should a company become a limited liability company?

There is no rule that says a business has to go public at some point. Many businesses stay private the whole time they are open. Most businesses that become a public limited company have been around for a long time and have a solid management structure. This makes them well-equipped to handle any risks that might come with going public.

Can a company that is open to the public become a private company?

Yes, a business can change its mind about going private. It just needs to fill out the right form and send it to Companies House. Most of the time, a company changes back because the pros of being a public limited company no longer outweigh the cons.


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