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limited partnership

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Business structure that combines features of a limited company with that of a partnership for use as a tax shelter, but does not create a legal entity separate and distinct from its owners. It is usually formed by at least one general partner (or full partner) and at least one limited partner (or nominal partner). General partners are the operators who control and manage the partnership, and are jointly and severally liable for all its debts and obligations. The limited partners (1) cannot, in any way, control or participate in the management of the partnership (otherwise they will lose their limited liability protection), (2) are liable only up to the sums invested by them, and (3) cannot withdraw their investments without the consent of the general partners. Both types of partners benefit from the firm's profits, capital gains, accelerated depreciation, and investment credits, but the general partners are paid management fees as well. Limited partnerships can be formed for any type of business but they are most popular in equipment-leasing, movie making, oil and gas exploration, and real estate development industries. When the business begins to show taxable profits, a limited partnerships is often terminated and reorganized as a regular limited company. See also general partnership.