One of the first decisions you must make when starting a business in Pennsylvania is what your business structure will be. One of the most common options is a general partnership. This is a business with two or more owners who usually share equally in ownership rights. It is important to understand what you must do legally when forming your business, so you avoid any issues.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, the basis for forming this type of  business structure is a contract. You do not have to file your contract with the state.  It does not even have to be in writing. However, having a written contract provides more protection than a verbal one because it serves as concrete proof should a disagreement or issue arise in the future. 

You also will need to file your business name or fictitious name. You do this with a Registration of Fictitious Name form with the state. This form requires you to report the names and addresses of all owners, the business address and an explanation of the nature of the business. Even if the business name is just the last names of all the owners, you still must file this form. 

Forming a general partnership is one of the easiest business structures because it does not require a lot of paperwork. However, if you decide to make it a limited partnership or a corporation, then there are additional steps you have to take and more paperwork that must be filed with the state. This information is for educational use only and is not intended as legal advice.