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Section 189: Dissolution of Partnership Firm


A partnership firm is a popular preference for corporations in India because of its simplicity, freedom, and ease of registration. They allow the association of two or more humans to carry out an enterprise task together. However, it’s far crucial to recognize the process of dissolution of a joint enterprise, as it is able to have widespread legal and monetary outcomes. Section 189 of the Income Tax Act, 1961, at once deals with the dissolution of partnership companies.

It also stresses the joint and several liability of every person who was a partner at the time of dissolution and the legal agent of any dead partner for the amount of tax, penalty, or other sums due. By understanding the terms of Section 189, partners can ensure an easy dissolution process and avoid possible legal and financial issues.

Understanding Section 189

Section 189 of the Income Tax Act of 1961 is especially important to partnership companies in India. This section shows how the Assessing Officer rates the total income of the partnership company as if no breakup or closure had taken place. Every person who was a partner at the time of dissolution and the legal agent of any dead partner is jointly and severally responsible for the amount of tax, penalty, or other sums owing.

This joint and several responsibilities stress the importance of clarity in written deals regarding the dissolution process and the accountability of partners. The dissolution can occur through joint agreement, end of a stated business or term, death, bankruptcy, illegality, court order, transfer of interest, or various other reasons. Despite the dissolution, the Assessing Officer will assess the firm’s total income as if no such dissolution or closure had taken place. All parts of the Income Tax Act, including fines and charges, apply to this review.

Modes of Dissolution

1. Dissolution by Agreement

Dissolution by agreement is the simplest and most easy way to end a partnership company. It means dissolving the partnership through shared permission or an understanding among all the partners. A partnership firm may be stopped with the approval of all partners or by a contract between them.

Since a partnership is made by a contract, it can also be dissolved using a contract itself. All partners must reach an understanding of the dissolution terms, ensuring a quiet end to their business relationship. This way allows for a smooth dissolution process, as it focuses on the free choice of all parties concerned.

The partnership agreement may contain rules for closure by agreement, describing the terms and conditions under which the firm can be dissolved. By following the agreed-upon process, partners can ensure a clear and legally accepted dissolution of the joint business.

2. Dissolution by Notice

In a partnership at will, the partnership firm can be ended by a partner by giving a written letter to all other partners saying their desire to dissolve the partnership firm. This letter serves as a legal statement of the partner’s choice to end the partnership and start the dissolution process.

Once the notice is given, the dissolution process starts, and partners are expected to stick to the terms mentioned in the partnership agreement or related legal rules regarding dissolution. The notice of dissolution in writing ensures clarity and openness in the dissolution process, giving all partners legal notifications of the partner’s choice to end the relationship. This way allows for an organised and controlled dissolution of the partnership company, ensuring that all partners are informed and involved in the process.

3. Dissolution due to Contingencies

Partnership firms can be dissolved due to specific scenarios described in the partnership agreement or controlled by law rules.

  1. End of a Partnership Period: When a partnership is formed for a set term, the firm instantly dissolves upon the end of that term. This protection ensures that relationships with set lengths have a clear finish, allowing for an organised dissolution process.
  2. Finish of a Specified Venture or Term: If a partnership is formed to carry out specific projects or endeavours, the firm dissolves upon the finish of those ventures. This guarantees that the partnership’s presence is tied to the achievement of its set goals or aims.
  3. The Death or Insanity of a Partner: The death or the insanity of a partner can cause the dissolution of the partnership company, as it greatly impacts the makeup and functionality of the partnership. Such contingencies require the dissolution to handle the changing ties within the company.
  4. Insolvency of a Partner: In cases where a partner is judged as bankrupt, the partnership company may be dissolved to handle the financial effects and legal duties coming from the partner’s insolvency. This safety ensures that the firm can no longer run smoothly with a bankrupt partner, leading to the end of the partnership.

4. Compulsory Dissolution

Compulsory dissolution happens when a partnership company is dissolved by force of law, regardless of the partners’ wishes. This type of dissolution is caused by specific circumstances stated by law, such as:

  1. When all partners or all but one partner is labelled bankrupt, making them incompetent to carry on the business.
  2. When the business of the company becomes illegal or involved in unlawful acts.

In these cases, the partnership company is dissolved by necessity, as continuing operations would be difficult or illegal. Compulsory dissolution guards the purity of business operations and ensures compliance with legal and financial rules. Partners have no choice but to dissolve the firm to avoid legal charges or financial trouble.

5. Dissolution by Court Order

Dissolution by court order is a way where a joint business is dissolved by a court’s decision. This can occur when a partner becomes crazy or of unsound mind, forever incapable of finishing their tasks, guilty of misconduct affecting the business, or repeatedly breaks the partnership agreement.

The court may also end a company if it is making continuous losses, or on just and fair grounds, such as management standoffs or loss of the business’s base. A court order is generally sought by one or more partners when they think the firm cannot continue to run effectively due to the acts or circumstances of another partner.

Liability of Partners

At the time of dissolution, every partner, along with the legal agent of any dead partner, is jointly and severally responsible for the payment of taxes, fines, or any other unpaid sums due by the partnership business. This shared duty ensures that all people linked with the company are collectively responsible for meeting financial responsibilities post-dissolution.

Clarity in legal deals regarding dissolution and partner duty is crucial to avoid mistakes and arguments during the dissolution process. Clear terms in the partnership agreement can help explain each partner’s responsibilities and liabilities, ensuring an easy and open dissolution process. The agreement should describe the terms on which the dissolution may take place under various scenarios, such as shared agreement, death or failure of a partner, or end of a stated partnership.

It is pertinent to keep in mind the distinction between the dissolution of a partnership and the closure of a partnership company. Dissolution of a partnership encompasses a change in the bond between partners, where they can either continue working solo or form new partnerships, while the dissolution of a firm denotes the complete end of all business operations and the dissolution of the firm’s presence.

In the case of a dissolution of a partnership, the company stays full and continues its operations, but with a change in the relationship between the partners. However, the dissolution of a joint company ends the business, meaning that the business stops existing, and the creditors are paid off by selling the assets of the business.


Knowing about Section 189 and the dissolution process of partnership businesses is crucial for companies to handle the challenges of dissolving a partnership agreement. Partnership firm registration is famous due to its ease and freedom, allowing for easy formation and closure. However, proper planning and clear legal deals are important when closing a partnership business to avoid possible legal and financial problems.

The dissolution process includes measuring assets and liabilities, settling accounts, and sharing extra funds between partners. Adhering to the standards of Section 189 and the Indian Partnership Act ensures an easy and legally compliant dissolution. By learning the different types of dissolution and the role of partners, companies can make informed decisions and lower risks when dissolving a partnership firm.

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Sachin Jaiswal

Sachin Jaiswal B.A.(Hons)! Sachin Jaiswal has been writing material on his own for more than five years. He got his B.A.(Hons) in English from the well-known University of Delhi. His success in this job is due to the fact that he loves writing and making material that is interesting. He has worked with a lot of different clients in many different fields, always giving them high-quality content that their target audience will enjoy. Through his education and work experience, he is able to produce high-quality content that meets his clients' needs.