Here is an outline of the steps you need to follow in order to form a partnership in Michigan. You should also read the general section on forming a partnership for information applicable in any state.
1. Choose a business name for your partnership and check for availability.
- Please see our section on choosing and checking the availability of a name for your small business, as well as our section on the trademark law aspects of choosing a name.
2. Register the business name with local, state, and/or federal authorities.
- If you will be operating your partnership under a name that is different from your name and that of your partners, then you will need to file an assumed name form with the county clerk in the county (or counties) where you will be doing business.
- Although you are not required to do so, you should consider registering your business name as a federal and/or state trademark. Please see the Trademark for Business Naming section for details.
3. Draft and sign a partnership agreement.
- Although not legally required, it is strongly suggested that you and your partners sign a partnership agreement laying out the rights and responsibilities of the partners. For details, please see the Partnership Agreements section.
4. Obtain any required local licenses.
- Please see the general section on forming a partnership for details.
5. Determine what tax and other regulatory obligations your partnership has, and take care of any necessary registrations.
- Request an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This can be done via its online application. There is no filing fee.
- If you have any employees in Michigan (other than yourself and your partners), you need to register for Michigan business taxes using the Business Tax e-Registration website. There, you will find forms and instructions for all business taxes. You can find more information on this process in the Michigan Business Taxes Registration Booklet.
- Whenever you hire an employee in Michigan, you must inform both the IRS and the State of Michigan. You can find details of all the necessary steps, including verifying work eligibility and withholding allowances, on the Hiring Employees section of the IRS website. You can find state-level information on reporting new hires at the Michigan New Hire Reporting Center website.
- If you have three or more employees in Michigan or have employed anyone for at least thirty-five hours per week for thirteen or more weeks, you must carry workers' compensation insurance. If you are not required to have worker's compensation and you choose not to do so, you must get a certificate of exemption from the Insurance Division. More information is available in An Overview of Workers' Compensation in Michigan.
- As a business owner or employer, there may be other informational returns that you have to file annually or semi-annually with the IRS. For more information, take a look at the IRS Guide To Information Returns.
6. Open a bank account for your business.
- It is a good idea to keep your business's finances separate from your personal accounts. A good way to do this early on is by opening a bank account for your business. You will probably need a Tax ID number (EIN) and either a copy of the partnership agreement or a business name filing indicating the partners' names. (Here is one example of the documentation banks ask for.)