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What Is A Sole Trader?

Monday 8th July 2024

What is the definition of a Sole Trader?

A sole trader is an individual who owns and runs a business on their own. In this business structure, there is no distinction between the owner and the business entity. The sole trader has full control over all business decisions and retains all profits after taxes. However, they are also personally responsible for all debts and liabilities incurred by the business, meaning personal assets can be used to cover business debts. This is the simplest and most common form of business structure.     

Control and Profits

As a sole trader, you have complete control over your business and its operations. This means you make all of the decisions regarding how the business is run, including strategies, finances, and daily operations.

In terms of profits, a sole trader retains all the profits the business generates after taxes. Since there are no other owners or shareholders, you don’t have to share the profits with anyone else. 


The responsibilities of a sole trader include:

  • Financial Management (Bookkeeping and Taxation)

  • Compliance (Legal requirements, licensing, employment laws)

  • Financial Liability (Debts and liabilities)

  • Operations (Day-to-day management, decision-making)

  • Insurance (Business insurance)

  • Customer Relations (Customer Service)

A sole trader can build and maintain a successful business by managing these responsibilities effectively.  

However, it’s important to note that you are also personally liable for any losses or debts the business incurs.  


The benefits of being a sole trader include:

  • Simplicity - Establishing a sole trader business is straightforward and involves minimal paperwork compared to other business structures. 

  • Complete Decision-Making - As a sole owner, you have full control over all business decisions. 

  • Profit Retention - All profits generated by the business, after taxes, go directly to you. 

  • Privacy - Your business affairs are private, as sole traders are not required to disclose financial information, unlike limited companies publicly.

  • Tax Benefits - You can claim business expenses against your income, reducing your taxable income. 

  • Start-Up Costs - Starting as a sole trader typically involves lower initial costs compared to setting up a limited company.      

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