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Who is a Sole Proprietor?

A sole proprietor is an individual who owns and operates a business by themselves. They are solely responsible for all profits, losses, debts, and legal responsibilities related to the business.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietor is a person who owns and operates their own business. This type of business structure is popular because it is quick and inexpensive to set up, has minimal legal paperwork, no corporate taxes and is well suited to small businesses. However, there are significant disadvantages to consider when deciding to become a sole proprietor.


  • Easy and inexpensive to set up.
  • Operating flexibility.
  • Retains all the profits without splitting with anyone.
  • Complete control over decision-making.
  • Personal liability for debt and losses.


  • Limited access to capital.
  • Unlimited personal liability for debts and losses.
  • Increased paperwork.
  • Difficulty in attracting talented and skilled personnel.
  • Difficult to obtain tenure/lease agreements for business premises.

How to Set Up a Sole Proprietorship

Setting up a sole proprietorship is usually quick and relatively uncomplicated, however, it’s important to consider your exact situation before you start. To begin operating as a sole proprietor, you must first complete the following steps:

  • Choose a business name and register it.
  • Obtain any necessary licenses and permits.
  • Register for federal, state, and local taxes.
  • Open a business bank account.

Once you have completed these steps, you can begin doing business as a sole proprietor.

Tax and Legal Implications of a Sole Proprietorship

As a sole proprietor, you are personally responsible for all the business debts, liabilities, and obligations. The business has no legal existence separate from the owner, meaning any personal assets or property you have may be used to satisfy a debt of the business.

You will need to pay taxes on the profits generated by your business, as well as self-employment taxes which are designed to fund social security and Medicare. As a sole proprietor, it’s important to understand and comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws, which can include zoning laws, employment laws, environmental laws, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

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