Running my business as a Partnership or as a sole trader you need to tread carefully.
These simple entities are popular, as they are easy to set up. They are also simple to manage and have fewer complications than that of a company or a family trust, making reporting easy to prepare.
However, they are most suited to businesses operated by family members, individuals or those working on a small scale.
It’s worth noting that a partnership can be between people, trusts or companies. A sole trader is just you.
The danger lies in where the partners are individuals. This joins them at the hip, and they have the same legal liability as sole traders. This means that “YOU” can become personally liable for all partnership debts. Yours and your partner’s.
For simple arrangements, there are minimal partners needed to form a partnership. Husbands and wives are easy . They often have no need for a partnership agreement. A bank statement in joint name will be sufficient evidence for the tax office to recognize that a partnership is trading. This is further evidenced by the ABN details recorded.
Friends and unrelated parties often start partnerships. While it is crucial that a partnership agreement is executed, in our experience, it usually isn’t. In fact no one even thinks about the partnserhip rules as they are so keen to make the business happen.
Sometime its not a great idea to be in partnership at all . Take John Dutton from Yellowstone . When you like to make your own decisions, being in partnership wont work. He is a strong willed man and what he says goes. If your a John Dutton then dont go into business with anyone as it wont work.
When a dispute often arises over money, happier times and past friendships go out the door. All handshake agreements are forgotten, and conflict resolution often becomes protracted if no formal agreement exists.
In summary, a partnership agreement should indicate what each partner contributes to the business, either in the form of intellectual, equipment, capital or time. It should also outline how the profits will be split.
How often are partners paid profits, and who does what? There are no wages paid to partners in a partnership; therefore, this often is one reason other entity structures work better.
Does a business as a partnership pay tax?
Partnerships as an entity and therefore do not pay tax.
The profits the business makes are distributed to the partners.
The partners pay tax at their applicable tax rate. The good thing is that losses get distributed directly to the partner and, in many cases, can be offset against other income.
Likewise, the amount of loss that can be offset against a partner’s other sources of income is their share of the partnership loss and not the amount of money they contributed to the Partnership. The ability to distribute losses can be a tax benefit in the set-up stage of a business. Likewise for those who act a sole trader.
Joint debts – DANGER
Like a marriage, Under partnership law, each partner is jointly liable for the Partnership’s debts.
This is where danger can strike as if one partner is financially unable to pay their share of the partnership debt; then creditors look to the other partners to make good. In the event of the business failing or a claim for damages against the business not being covered by the business’s assets, each partner’s personal assets are available to meet the debts.
There are no disadvantages to a partnership relating to Capital Gains Tax. Partners can claim small business tax relief on the sale of a business.CGT tax liability. This can be split when a partnership with more than two owners is involved in a business.
What are my business structure options
Most business owners are conscious of putting a fence around their business and protecting themselves from legal action for negligence, debt and the ATO. It is why acting as a sole trader or in a partnership has personal exposure and could be likened to walking on a tip rope over a high cliff.
For some starting out as a sole trader or Partnership is a cheap and easy option to put a toe in the water. However, if the business is successful, it is beneficial to stop and reconsider. I am using the most tax-effective and protective structure for me moving forward.
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