The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

1.1.P.95 Partnership


This definition applies to all payments.


For the purposes of income and assets assessment, a partnership is the relationship which exists between people carrying on business in common, with a view to making a profit. A partnership agreement may be oral OR written.

The business MAY be run:

  • in the owners' name/s, OR
  • under a registered business name.

The business is NOT a separate legal entity, which means that although the partnership lodges a tax return, the profit or income is assessable in the hands of the individual partners.

Each partner:

  • owns an agreed portion of the business assets,
  • receives an agreed portion of the profits, and
  • is 'jointly and severally' liable for all business debts (see explanation).

Explanation: If one partner defaults, the other/s are liable for all the business debts.

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.7.1 Assessing the Income & Assets of Sole Traders & Partnerships

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