Starting a partnership in California requires the submission of a single form, regardless of the structure of the partnership, though it is important to understand which form your partnership will be taking before filing anything with the office of the Secretary of State. Along with the form you must include a check to cover the filing fee (fees listed below). Partnerships from out-of-state seeking the authority to transact business in California will also need to provide a certificate of good standing from the initial jurisdiction.

Before beginning the process please make sure that the name you would like to use for your entity is legally unique and available. You may do so with the help of some web services provided by the state and also via form submission. For more information on these processes please see our business search and name reservation pages for California.

How to File a Domestic Limited Partnership

Step 1- Filers must download the Certificate of Limited Partnership to begin the registration process.

Step 2- With the application open in your PDF viewer, provide the following information into the empty fields:

  • 1-LP name
  • 2-LP street address and mailing address (if different)
  • 3-Service of process agent’s name and address
  • 4-General partner name(s)/address(es)
  • Signing general partner(s) signature(s)/name(s)

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Step 3- Continue by completing the second page of the application titled “Mail Submission Cover Sheet”. The information required on this document includes the return delivery instructions, basic entity information and the contact person’s name and phone number.

Step 4- Lastly, attach a check made payable to the Secretary of State and forward all articles to the appropriate address below. Note that there is a $15 special handling fee when submitting your filings in person.

  • By Mail ($70): Secretary of State Business Entities, P.O. Box 944225 Sacramento, CA 94244-2250
  • In Person ($70 $15): Secretary of State 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor Sacramento, CA 95814

How to File a Domestic General Partnership

Step 1- Start by downloading the Statement of Partnership Authority.

Step 2- The following information will need to be provided into the empty fields of the application:

  • 1-Partnership name
  • 2-Street address of executive office
  • 3-Street address of California office (if any)
  • 4-Mailing address of chief executive office (if different from 2 or 3)
  • 5-Names and addresses of partners
  • 6-Appointed agent name/address
  • 7-Authorized partners
  • 8-Additional information (if necessary)
  • 9-Signatures/names of signing partners

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Step 3- You may now complete the second page of the application titled “Mail Submission Cover Sheet”. On this document, provide the contact person’s name and phone number, some basic entity information and the return delivery instructions.

Step 4- Attach to your completed documents a check made out to the Secretary of State to cover the filing fee (fee listed below). Note that an additional $15 will be charged when submitting your filings in person. Gather all articles and forward them to the appropriate address below.

  • By Mail ($70): Secretary of State, Document Filing Support Unit, P.O. Box 944225, Sacramento, CA 94244-2250
  • In Person ($70 $15): Secretary of State 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor Sacramento, CA 95814

How to File a Limited Liability Partnership

Step 1- Both foreign and domestic LLPs can be registered by filing the Application to Register a LLP. Download the application and proceed to Step 2.

Step 2- The information required on this document is as follows:

  • 1-Name of the LLP
  • 2-Place of formation (for foreign LLPs please input the state/country of incorporation)
  • 3-LLP street address and mailing address (if different)
  • 4-Service of process agent name/address
  • 5-Business type
  • Signature/name/business title

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Step 3- The second page of the application titled “Mail Submission Cover Sheet” must now be completed. On this form you must provide the contact person’s name and phone number, some basic entity information and return delivery instructions.

Step 4- Attach to your completed documents a check made out to the Secretary of State. Individuals who would like to submit their filings in person will be charged an extra $15 special handling fee. Foreign applicants must also include a certificate of good standing form the initial place of formation. Have all articles sent to the appropriate address below.

  • By Mail ($70): Secretary of State Business Entities, P.O. Box 944228 Sacramento, CA 94244-2280
  • In Person ($70 $15): Secretary of State 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor Sacramento, CA 95814

How to File a Sole Proprietorship

From the Secretary of State web portal “A sole proprietorship is set up to allow an individual to own and operate a business. A sole proprietor has total control, receives all profits from and is responsible for taxes and liabilities of the business.” Sole Proprietors are not required to file any documents with the Office of the Secretary of State, though they must file a Fictitious Business Name Statement in the county of incorporation.

How to File a Foreign Limited Partnership

Step 1- Begin by downloading the PDF document provided by the Secretary of State.

Step 2- Input the following information into the empty fields of the application:

  • 1-Name of foreign limited partnership
  • 2-Alternate name (if original name does not comply with California state statutes)
  • 3a-Street address of principal office
  • 3b-Mailing address of principal office (if different than 3a)
  • 4-Address of office required in jurisdiction of formation
  • 5-Date and place of organization
  • 6-Initial service agent name/address
  • 7-If agent is an individual, street address of initial agent in California
  • 8-Name and address of each general partner
  • 9-Foreign LLLP status (yes/no)
  • 10-Signing GP name/signature

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Step 3- You must now complete the third page of the application titled “Mail Submission Cover Sheet”. This document will require you to provide the contact person’s name and phone number, basic entity information and the return delivery instructions.

Step 4- A check payable to the Secretary of State must be attached to your completed documents to pay for the filing fee. Be sure to include a certificate of good standing from the initial jurisdiction of formation and send all articles either by mail to the first address below, or hand deliver them to the second address. Note that a $15 special handling fee will be added to the total cost when submitting your filings in person.

  • By Mail ($70): Secretary of State, Document Filing Support Unit, P.O. Box 944225, Sacramento, CA 94244-2250
  • In Person ($70 $15): Secretary of State 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor Sacramento, CA 95814

How to File a Foreign General Partnership

Step 1- Foreign applicants can begin the filing process by downloading the Statement of Foreign Partnership.

Step 2- Open the application with your PDF viewer and supply the following information:

  • 1-Entity name
  • 2-Jurisdiction of formation
  • 3-Principle executive office address
  • 4-Service of process agent name/address
  • 5-If agent is an individual, provide the street address in California
  • 6-Secretary of State file # (if applicable)
  • 7-Foreign name of first partnership (if applicable)
  • Singing individual name/signature

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Step 3- The second page of the application, the “Mail Submission Cover Sheet”, must now be completed. Provide the contact person’s name and phone number, return delivery instructions and some basic entity information to complete this form.

Step 4- Lastly, attach a check made payable to the Secretary of State that covers the filing fee. Foreign applicants must also include a certificate of good standing from the initial jurisdiction of formation. Send your filing package by mail to the first address below, or hand deliver it to the second. Note that a special $15 handling fee will be added to the total cost when filing in person.

  • By Mail ($25): Secretary of State, Document Filing Support Unit, P.O. Box 944225, Sacramento, CA 94244-2250
  • In Person ($25 $15): Secretary of State 1500 11th Street, 3rd Floor Sacramento, CA 95814

Tips

EIN– It is vital for any operating partnership to obtain an Employer Identification Number from the IRS to perform even such basic financial maneuvers as applying for a business credit card. You can file for free either Online through the IRS website or by mail with the PDF Form SS-4. Once obtained, your partnership will be viewed as a legitimate, tax-paying entity. Click on the link at the heading of this paragraph to learn more about both of the aforementioned application procedures.

Partnership Agreement– Although not required by California state law, no partnership should launch without a detailed and binding partnership agreement signed by all partners. These agreements typically lay out the most fundamental aspects of a given partnership including rules going forward and partner interests. For more information on drafting a partnership agreement, including free templates in MS Word and Adobe PDF, please follow the link above.

How to (Video)