How to Set Up a Partnership in Virginia

By Elizabeth Rayne

Partnerships are a common business type because they are relatively simple to set up and allow for flexibility in management structure. A general partnership is an agreement between two or more people to go into business together for profit. The partners remain personally liable for the debts and obligations of the business. Virginia partnerships are governed by state partnership law and by contractual agreements between the parties.

Partnership Formation

The state of Virginia does not require partnerships to file any paperwork to form the business. Instead, a partnership is automatically formed as soon as two or more individuals begin doing business together. Virginia allows, but does not require, general partnerships to file a Statement of Partnership Authority with the State Corporation Commission. The optional filing can be used by partnerships to establish a public record of existence of the enterprise. However, general partnerships may choose to not file anything with the state. The statement must include the name and address of the partnership, names and addresses of the partners, and agent responsible for accepting legal documents on behalf of the business.

Partnership Agreement

Many partnerships draft a partnership agreement to govern the affairs of the business. Although not a requirement, a partnership agreement will provide the rights and responsibilities of each of the partners to avoid conflict down the line. When a partnership agreement is not in place, the affairs of the partnership are instead governed by the default provisions in Virginia partnership law. For example, unless otherwise specified in a partnership agreement, each partner is entitled to an equal share of the partnership's profits.

Ready to start your LLC? Start an LLC Online Now

Fictitious Name Registration

If you want to operate the partnership under a different name than the partners, you must register a fictitious name with the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county where your partnership is located. The name must be registered before you may transact business. General partnerships are not required to file fictitious names with the state.


Depending on the type of business, a general partnership may obtain county or city licenses or permits to operate business on a local level. If the type of business is regulated by the state, it may also need a statewide professional or occupational license. Examples of state regulated professions include social work, accounting, medicine and trucking. Visit the Virginia Department of Business Assistance website to determine if your profession is regulated.

Tax Registration

If your general partnership has employees or you plan on collecting sales tax, you must register with the Virginia Department of Taxation. You may complete the tax registration online on the Department's website to obtain a Virginia Employment Commission account number.

Ready to start your LLC? Start an LLC Online Now
California General Partnership Law



Related articles

Steps for Dissolving a Partnership in South Carolina

Knowing the process for ending a general partnership can help partners effectively wrap up business affairs when it comes time. In South Carolina, the filing of dissolution paperwork with the state is generally not required. However, it is a good idea for partners to execute a written agreement regarding distribution of company assets and payment of creditors in the event of dissolution. Additional steps, including cancellation of professional licenses and permits as well as satisfaction of tax liabilities, may also be involved.

General Partnership Laws & Regulations

A partnership is a form of business entity owned by more than one partner. The key consideration is that the business is conducted with the aim of making a profit. Most partners enter into a formal written partnership agreement, setting out their rights and obligations, but a partnership can operate effectively on the basis of a handshake. Each state has its own laws relating to partnerships but the general principles remain the same across the United States.

How to Get a Sole Proprietorship

For an independent entrepreneur, a sole proprietorship is a common business structure because it is relatively simple to set up and allows for a great deal of flexibility in management. As a sole proprietor, you are personally liable for the business, but you also retain all of the business's profits. Although there are some similarities for all sole proprietorships, business formation is determined by state law where the sole proprietorship is formed.

LLCs, Corporations, Patents, Attorney Help

Related articles

South Carolina LLP Laws

South Carolina law regulates how a Limited Liability Partnership, or LLP, may form, operate, and ultimately dissolve. ...

How to Set Up a Partnership in Tennessee

Like many other states, Tennessee does not require partnerships to officially register as a partnership. The agreement ...

How to Open a General Partnership in Florida

Florida law does not require general partnerships to register with the state or to obtain a state business license. ...

How to Get a DBA in Virginia

A DBA, short for "doing business as," is known as a fictitious name in Virginia. Using a fictitious name allows you to ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED