Sole Proprietorship

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DEFINITION of 'Sole Proprietorship'

The sole proprietor is an unincorporated business with one owner who pays personal income tax on profits from the business. With little government regulation, they are the simplest business to set up or take apart, making them popular among individual self contractors or business owners.

Many sole proprietors do business under their own names because creating a separate business or trade name isn't necessary.

Sole proprietorship is also known as "proprietorship".

BREAKING DOWN 'Sole Proprietorship'

There is no separate legal entity created by a sole proprietorship, unlike corporations and limited partnerships. Consequently, the sole proprietor is not safe from liabilities incurred by the entity. The debts of the sole proprietorship are also the debts of the owner. However, all profits flow directly to the owner of a sole proprietorship.

The benefit of the sole proprietorship is the tax advantage. The disadvantage of a sole proprietorship is obtaining capital funding, specifically through established channels, such as equity (selling shares) and obtaining bank loans or lines of credit. As a business grows it often transitions to a limited liability company (LLC) or S corporation.

To learn about the tax implications of being a sole proprietor, check out Who is required to fill out a Schedule C IRS form?

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