The Business Names Act 1985 requires all businesses trading under names other than those of their owners to display their owners' names and an address at which documents can be served. This information must be displayed both at business premises and on business stationery. It must also be supplied in writing at the request of any person with whom you are doing business. Where the partnership consists of more than 20 persons, certain exceptions apply to the business stationery requirements.
As a partnership, you must keep the following records: the purchase ledger; the sales ledger; the cash book; the creditors & debtors control ledger. Partnerships will need to prepare the following accounts: the balance sheet; the profit and loss account. Profits that are shared out in accordance to the partnership agreement must be shown in the profit and loss account. The partnership accounts must be prepared within a period of 10 months after the end of the financial year. The accounts may cover any period up to 18 months which may be specified in the partnership agreement.
If a period is not specified in the agreement, the partnership accounts must be drawn up for each 12-month period ending on 31st March in each year. After your first year in business, the IR will ask you to make "payments on account" - to pay most of your income tax and some of your Class 4 NI contributions in advance. The amount requested is based on the prior year's earnings with payments due on 31st January and 31st July. If your profits are down you can request to reduce these payments.