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Business Registration – Sole Proprietor


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You are a sole proprietor (self-employed individual) if:

  • Your business is not incorporated
  • You have sole responsibility¬† for decision making
  • You receive all profits and are responsible for all losses
  • You report your business income on a T1 Individual income tax return

A sole proprietorship is a business of one without corporation or limited liability status. The individual represents the company legally and fully. Common proprietorships include part-time businesses, direct sellers, new start-ups, contractors, and consultants.

Advantages of a Sole Proprietorship:

Quicker Tax Preparation: As a sole proprietor, filing your taxes is generally easier than a corporation.
Lower Start-up Costs: Limited capital is a reality for many startups and small businesses. The costs of setting up and operating a corporation involves higher set-up fees and special forms. It’s also not uncommon for a lawyer to be involved in forming a corporation.

Ease of Money Handling: Handling money for the business is easier than other legal business structures. No payroll set-up is required to pay yourself. To make it even easier, set up a separate bank account to keep your business funds separate and avoid co-mingling personal and business activities.

Disadvantages of a Sole Proprietorship:

Personally Liable: Your small business in the form of a sole proprietorship is personally liable for all debts and actions of the company. Unlike a corporation or LLC, your business doesn’t exist as a separate legal entity. All your personal wealth and assets are linked to the business. If you operate in a higher risk business such as manufacturing or consumables, the cost to benefit ratio is favorable toward a corporate structure.

Lack of Financial Controls: The looser structure of a proprietorship won’t require financial statements and maintaining company minutes as a corporation. The lack of accounting controls can result in the demise of your small business. No matter the legal structure of your business, take time to set up the proper financial statements for your company.