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Business Services
Partnerships
In a Partnership, two or more people share ownership of a single business. Like proprietorships, the law does not distinguish between the business and its owners. The partners should have a legal agreement that sets forth how decisions will be made, profits will be shared, disputes will be resolved, how future partners will be admitted to the partnership, how partners can be bought out, and what steps will be taken to dissolve the partnership when needed. They also must decide up-front how much time and capital each will contribute, etc.

Advantages of a Partnership:

  • Partnerships are relatively easy to establish; however time should be invested in developing the partnership agreement.
  • With more than one owner, the ability to raise funds may be increased.
  • The profits from the business flow directly through to the partners' personal tax returns.
  • Prospective employees may be attracted to the business if given the incentive to become a partner.
  • The business usually will benefit from partners who have complementary skills.

Disadvantages of a Partnership

  • Partners are jointly and individually liable for the actions of the other partners.
  • Profits must be shared with others.
  • Since decisions are shared, disagreements can occur.
  • Some employee benefits are not deductible from business income on tax returns.
  • The partnership may have a limited life; it may end upon the withdrawal or death of a partner.

Types of Partnerships

  1. General Partnership
    Partners divide responsibility for management and liability as well as the shares of profit or loss according to their internal agreement. Equal shares are assumed unless there is a written agreement that states differently.
  2. Limited Partnership and Partnership with limited liability
    Limited means that most of the partners have limited liability (to the extent of their investment) as well as limited input regarding management decisions, which generally encourages investors for short-term projects or for investing in capital assets. This form of ownership is not often used for operating retail or service businesses. Forming a limited partnership is more complex and formal than that of a general partnership.
  3. Joint Venture
    Acts like a general partnership, but is clearly for a limited period of time or a single project. If the patners in a joint venture repeat the activity, they will be recognized as an ongoing partnership and will have to file as such as well as distribute accumulated partnership assets upon dissolution of the entity.

To speak with a professional, get in-touch with one of our Business Relationship Officers to set up a consultation.

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