Form a General Partnership in Missouri

Learn the basics of starting a general partnership in Missouri, exploring key elements and legal insights in this guide designed to empower entrepreneurs in navigating collaborative business ventures within the state’s regulations.

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If you agree to be co-owners and carry on a business for profit, you’ve formed a Missouri general partnership. There’s no specific Missouri general partnership registration process, though you may need to apply for state licenses, permits, or tax accounts.

A general partnership is a simple, low-maintenance way to start your new business, but it’s not without its disadvantages. Let’s look at a step-by-step guide on how to form a general partnership in Missouri.

Step 1: Determine if you should start a general partnership

While forming a partnership in Missouri can be simple and provide tax benefits for the owners, the structure has some drawbacks and limitations. Here, we’ll provide the typical pros and cons you should consider when choosing a business structure. 


The benefits to starting a business partnership in Missouri include:

  • Simple, registration-free formation
  • Low-maintenance and flexible
  • Straightforward distribution of profits and losses
  • Enjoy pass-through taxation

The general partnership in Missouri is best for short-term business ventures because you can choose a specific time or goal that dictates how long the partnership will last. If you plan to operate the business long-term, sell off your ownership, or leave a legacy, starting with another business form might benefit you more in the long run.


With the simplicity of the partnership comes the drawbacks and limitations, including:

  • Individual partners share unlimited liability (joint and several) for the business debts
  • Limited options for raising capital
  • Ownership transfers are burdened by the Partnership Agreement

While we’ve shared some of the essential pros and cons of starting a partnership, we can’t know what business structure will work best for you. Consult your legal and financial advisors to ensure that the form you choose will help you meet your business goals.

Step 2: Choose a Business Name

When you’ve chosen to start a partnership, one of the first steps is to choose a business name. Since there’s no requirement to register as a general partnership in Missouri, the state recognizes the unregistered partnership by the partners’ last names. For example, if your name is Mary Smith and you’ve agreed to be co-owners with Mike Hernandez, your partnership name could be “Smith and Hernandez Services.” If you want to use a different name, you’ll want to register your fictitious name.

Step 3: File a DBA Name (if needed)

If you want to use a name that doesn’t contain the partners’ names, you’ll register that name with the Secretary of State as a fictitious name. Also known as a “doing business as,” “DBA,” or “assumed” name, registering the name you’ll do business under allows the public to identify the business owners.

In addition, the law provides that if one of the partners later denies responsibility for the partnership’s debts, the state will look to the fictitious name registration as evidence of their ownership. To save you time, use our DBA Registration Service, and we’ll complete fictitious name registration for you.

Step 4: Draft and sign Partnership Agreement

Flexibility is one of the most significant benefits of the general partnership structure. You can customize your Missouri General Partnership Agreement to fit your business needs. For example, you can decide the rights and duties of the partners and the rules for distribution in case of business dissolution. If you don’t have a Partnership Agreement, you’ll need to follow the default rules of the Missouri Uniform Partnership Law to resolve conflicts between owners.

Step 5: Obtain licenses, permits, clearances

While starting a business partnership in Missouri doesn’t involve a formal process, your business may need to apply for licenses, permits, and clearances before you can legally operate. There are licenses for specific industries and occupations, sales tax, wage withholding, and other use taxes to apply for. You might need zoning or occupancy permits. You’ll want to search for licenses from the federal, state, and local (town, city, or county) governments.

To help simplify the process, we’ve collaborated with our partners at Avalara to offer a Business License Report that identifies all the licensing and permitting your business needs at every level of government.

Step 6: Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

The IRS requires general partnerships to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You’ll use your EIN when reporting federal income taxes and wage withholding. You can apply for an EIN with the IRS or let us complete it for you with our Employer ID Number Service

Step 7: Get Missouri State Tax Identification Numbers

A Missouri general partnership doesn’t require a Missouri ID Number unless the partnership must pay sales taxes or report state wage withholding. You can complete a Missouri Tax Registration Application (Form 2643) or file online using MyTax Missouri to obtain your state ID number. Your online application will register you with the Missouri Department of Revenue and the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Division of Employment Security.

Forming a Business Partnership in Missouri: Next Steps

Once you’ve obtained your business licenses and federal EIN, opening a business bank account is the next step. Opening a new account will help you keep your personal finances separate from the business income. You’ll want to be sure to obtain the right level of insurance for your new business. Finally, don’t forget to get your finances in order by checking with your financial advisor or accountant.

How We Can Help

While it’s simple to form a general partnership in Missouri, our business services go beyond formation. When you use our extensive suite of business development and maintenance services, our business experts will be here to answer your questions every step of the way. Try our Worry-Free Compliance Service to get timely reminders and document organization that will help you easily fulfill many of your business obligations.

And if you choose to form a different business entity, we can help you with our Missouri LLC and Missouri Corporation Formation Services as well. 

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

Missouri General Partnership FAQs

  • General partnerships don’t need to register in Missouri. However, you need to register if you’re using a fictitious name. In addition, you may need to apply for business licenses before you can legally operate.

  • No, Missouri general partnerships use pass-through taxation. Some partnerships may need to file a Missouri Partnership Return of Income (Form MO-1065) as an informational return. Finally, if your partnership has out-of-state owners, the partnership may need to file a composite return to pay income tax for these owners.

  • In a general partnership, the co-owners are “partners” who share equally in the responsibility for the company. If an owner transfers his ownership interest, the transferee who receives the ownership share may not have full responsibility as a partner (depending on the terms of your Partnership Agreement).

  • The general partnership is organized under the Partnership Agreement. Generally, the partners share equally in the responsibility for the partnership.

  • The partnership must pay its debts. If the creditors have exhausted the partnership’s assets, the partners share unlimited liability for the partnership debts.

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