Q: What Is A Limited Partnership?

A: A limited partnership is a specific type of partnership that is slightly different from the norm. While partnerships are comprised of two or more people who share equally in a business, limited partnerships involve people who do not have equal share in the business' day-to-day workings. The limited liability in the partnership is given to members that contribute money (capital) to the business, in exchange for giving up the freedoms of running things.

With that little bit of freedom lost, the limited contributors are held accountable only for the amount of money they invest into the partnership. In other words, the profits of limited partnerships' members are untouchable.

Q: Who Participates And What Do They Gain?

A: Anyone with enough money can participate in a limited partnership. In a lot of cases, the minimum starting amount that a new member must contribute is between $1,000 and $20,000, depending upon where you're setting up your business. Sometimes, it may be more and sometimes it may be less. Individual states have different laws, as per usual, and it's best to read up on them before setting out to build your new business.

The participants in a limited partnership vary. There are two different kinds of members in this type of partnership: general members, who handle the workings of the business and make all of the decisions with or without counsel from the other members; and contributing or limited members, who provide money with which the business works. Now, at first this may sound unfair, but the limited members share in the profits just as much as everyone else. They are, as stated before, accountable only for the money they invest.

Q: What Are The Benefits?

- Limited accountability for members
Investing members cannot be held accountable beyond what they put into the partnership. When the partnership is in trouble, whether it is with lawsuits or with other types of debt, the money that the limited members invest can be used to pay off the balance. However, the limited members' personal assets, like houses and vehicles, cannot be touched by the long arm of creditors in order to pay off what the partnership owes. The general members bear that burden.

- Untouchable personal profits
The money that individual limited members make cannot be touched, either. This is because, like personal (physical) assets, these profits belong to them and them alone. Perhaps limited partners stand the most to gain and the least to lose in partnerships of this sort.

- Relatively informal business
Partnerships are, overall, very informal types of business. They do not require any kind of formal legal accords to come together. As soon as people agree to start a business, a partnership is formed. Partnerships do not require formal minutes, resolutions, accords, or stock certificates, and are generally for-profit, for the members only. The agreements made by all of the members are generally written down in a partnership agreement.

Q: What Are The Disadvantages?

- General Partners have full personal accountability
With benefits also come responsibilities. The general members of a limited partnership are responsible for all the things that limited members are not. This is good for the limited member, but bad for the general one.

- Tax accountability
Partnerships are not separate from their individual members. As it is, all of the members of the partnership must contribute to paying the taxes incurred upon the partnership itself. Every partner must make quarterly payments to the IRS for taxes.

Q: How Are Limited Partnerships Made?

Partnerships are made as soon as a business agreement is reached between two or more people. The limited members are liable only for the money that they put into the business, and then everyone profits. Money earned is divided between all of the members with all fairness, so both limited and general partners are able to profit handsomely.


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