A general partnership is a type of business model where you and your partner/s (whether actual people and/or even limited companies) are all equally responsible for the business. You each receive a share of – and pay tax on – the partnership business’ profits.
To set a general partnership up, you first need to choose a name
General partnerships aren’t registered legal entities, so you won’t get the same ‘official’ recognition for your name as you would if you’d registered the business as a limited company with Companies House.
But it would be a good idea to consider registering your general partnership’s name as a trade mark, to prevent anyone else using it and/or from causing any customer confusion between their identity and yours.
You can simply use your own names or surnames as the business name, e.g. Jarrold, Bright and Croft Partners; or you can create a new brand name for the partnership.
Whatever name you choose, it mustn’t infringe any existing trade marks, and it mustn’t include the words limited, ltd, limited liability partnership, LLP, public limited company, or plc.
In addition, it mustn’t contain a word that’s classified as ‘sensitive’ – or, in other words, one that suggests a connection with government or local authorities (unless you have permission, of course). You can check if a word is sensitive here.
Next, select a nominated partner
This is the partner who will have the responsibility of keeping the business’ records accurate and up-to-date, who will file the partnership’s tax returns with HMRC and look after other key business admin and responsibilities.
And then register with HMRC
This is also a task assigned to the nominated partner. Other partners in the business will need to register separately.
The general partnership must be registered with HMRC by the 5th October in its 2nd tax year. If not, you may incur a fine.
You can register the partnership online through the .gov website, or you may use form SA400.
Partners can register themselves by completing form SA401.
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