A partnership is a single business where two or more people share ownership.
Each partner contributes to all aspects of the business, including money, property, labor or skill. In return, each partner shares in the profits and losses of the business.
Because partnerships entail more than one person in the decision-making process, it’s important to discuss a wide variety of issues up front and develop a legal partnership agreement.
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There are three general types of partnership arrangements:
General Partnerships assume that profits, liability and management duties are divided equally among partners. If you opt for an unequal distribution, the percentages assigned to each partner must be documented in the partnership agreement.
Limited Partnerships (also known as a partnership with limited liability) are more complex than general partnerships. Limited partnerships allow partners to have limited liability as well as limited input with management decisions. These limits depend on the extent of each partner’s investment percentage. Limited partnerships are attractive to investors of short-term projects.
Joint Ventures act as general partnership, but for only a limited period of time or for a single project. Partners in a joint venture can be recognized as an ongoing partnership if they continue the venture, but they must file as such. To form a partnership, you must register your business with your state, a process generally done through your Secretary of State’s office.
Once your business is registered, you must obtain business licenses and permits. Regulations vary by industry, state and locality. Use our Licensing & Permits tool to find a listing of federal, state and local permits, licenses and registrations you'll need to run a business.
This can be extremely complex and is why we rely on our experts to do what is necessary for the state a business is started in. Every state has different rules and our network of professionals are well versed in rules and regulations for starting any business. Our charter is to provide the expertise through our services you may not have or you do not have the time to implement.
Once you decide how to proceed, this peripheral task can easily be deligated to the right experts while you are off tackling other challenges.
Like a sole proprietorship, a partnership has only one level of taxation. A partnership is a tax-reporting entity, not a tax-paying entity. Profits pass through to the owners and are divided in accordance with what is specified in the partnership agreement. There are no restrictions on how profits are allocated among partners as long as there is economic reason, so there is latitude in allocating income according to which partners have the best tax rates