There’s no denying that 2020 was been tough on businesses. Nearly everyone’s business sustained some form of loss, and the governmental assistance, though helpful for many, could only do so much. Looking forward to the future, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This means that it’s time to talk about things that don’t involve mitigating or preparing for disaster.
Namely, this article will discuss partnerships. This structure might be beneficial for your business, and, if you think a partnership is something that interests you, you should contact an attorney about filing any necessary paperwork.
What is a Partnership?
A business partnership shares the business between multiple owners (two or more). The partnership is a formal arrangement by the parties to share the business’ profits and manage and operate the business together. In a partnership business, partners might share in the losses and profits together. Or, they might have limited liability.
What are the Main Types of Partnerships?
General partnerships are the most informal arrangement that you can have in Florida. A general partnership means that each partner is personally liable for not only the debts of the business, but also the actions of their fellow partners. In Florida, it is not difficult to start a general partnership. Choose a business name, trade name, draft a partnership agreement and sign it, and then apply for the appropriate licenses, permits, zoning clearances, and EID.
A limited partnership is similar to a general partnership, though it does have a few distinctive features. For example, a limited partnership must have at least one general partner. This partner must be personally liable for the business’ debts and claims, and the GP must manage the business. Other partners can be “limited” partners, who contribute capital and investments to the business but are not involved in management. If the limited partner is not involved in management, they aren’t liable for debts or claims.
A limited liability partnership is often preferred by medical, legal, or accounting practices. These LLPs are distinctive because, though they have the same basic structure and tax advantages as other partnerships, they have liability protection. An LLP partner’s personal assets are protected if there are claims against one of their partners. An LLP partner is not personally responsible for their business partners’ actions. Though assets held in the partnership can be liable for claims or debts, the LLP offers more personal protection to its partners.
Advantages of a Partnership
A good partner can bring things that you might lack, including specialized expertise and cash. A partner also allows you to share the capital expenditures and expenses necessary for your business, lessening the financial burden on you. Additionally, a partner can provide access to new business opportunities and inroads with investors or communities to which you alone might not have been connected.
There are tax advantages to certain types of partnerships. According to the IRS partnership page, a general partnership might not have to pay income tax, as it “passes through” its profits and losses to the partners themselves. Partners might be able to deduct certain business losses from their tax returns. Note: it is important to contact an attorney for more information on what, if any, tax benefits you can get through a partnership.
Disadvantages of a Partnership
As with anything, there are drawbacks, even in the face of benefits. A partnership does somewhat involve a loss of autonomy, as you now have to consult with another person about at least some decisions (especially true in a general partnership, where everyone’s involved in management).
Also, a partnership entails sharing losses. Though LPs and LLPs prevent personal losses, there is still always at least some extent of loss incurred together. In the future, you could also have issues if you want to sell your business and your partner(s) refuse.
Lastly, there is always the chance of conflict. Though states have some laws about this (in the event of fraud or “insanity,” usually), these regulations are only put into use in extreme situations. Bickering and disagreement could be enough to sink a business, but it likely won’t be actionable in court. Choose your partner wisely.
As you can see, a lot goes into a partnership, and this article serves as only a brief overview. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed or confused by this information, that’s perfectly normal. Law isn’t easy, but, luckily, lawyers exist. If you want to learn more about partnerships, consider booking a consultation with an attorney to talk about your options and visit our website.