A business owned by two or more people who share profits, liabilities, and management responsibilities through a legally formed agreement.

A partnership, a distinctive legal business structure, is a collaborative effort formed by an agreement between two or more individuals or entities to co-own and operate a profit-motivated enterprise. Unlike corporations, partnerships are unincorporated associations without a separate legal identity distinct from their owners, which sets them apart in the business world.

Each partner shares the profits, losses, costs, liabilities, and management responsibilities in a partnership. This distribution of responsibilities is a key aspect of partnerships, making each partner’s role crucial to the success of the business, as specified in the partnership agreement. The partnership agreement, a cornerstone of any partnership, outlines these roles and responsibilities and is instrumental in the smooth functioning of the partnership. Most partners are actively involved in running the business and are liable for all partnership’s debts, although limited liability partnerships provide some liability protection.

Income, expenses, tax obligations, and other items flow through the partnership directly to the individual partners based on their ownership percentage. This unique tax structure of partnerships is a significant advantage, as it allows partners to avoid the double taxation corporations face. Instead, partnerships are only taxed once at the individual partner level, enhancing the financial benefits of this business structure.

Common partnership types include general partnerships, where all partners manage the business and share liabilities, and limited partnerships, where both general and limited partners whose liability is limited to their investment amount.

Key advantages include simplicity in setup, profit retention flexibility, and pass-through taxation. Disadvantages are unlimited personal liability exposure for general partners and shared management, which can lead to conflicts.

Partnerships are prevalent among professional service providers like accountants, lawyers, doctors, and modest investment ventures. A well-constructed partnership agreement is crucial for delineating rights, responsibilities, and dispute resolution procedures.

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