Becoming a sole trader is the simplest and most straightforward way to start a business. This article will provide an overview of what it means to be sole trader and how it could be the answer to your future business.
Related Post: A Basic Guide on Sole Proprietorship
What is a sole trader?
A sole trader is a self-employed person who trades on their own. If you set up as a sole trader, you will run your own business and be able to retain all of the business profits – after tax. A sole trader is legally responsible for their business, this includes being personally responsible for any business debts, being liable to income tax on profits and the requirement to file a self-assessment tax return annually. These are probably the biggest disadvantages to being a sole trader over running a limited company – where you would be a separate entity to the business. There are many pros and cons to being a sole trader vs limited company and some may be more important to others, depending on factors such as personal preference and financial means.
Why becoming a sole trader could benefit you
A sole trader business is the most simplified business structure there is, as well as one of the largest in the UK – currently at 62.7%. There are a wide number of benefits to being a sole trader and these include:
- Being your own boss – You aren’t answerable to anyone else and have full control over all aspects of your business. If something isn’t working well, you don’t need to endure it and can change it swiftly without having to wait for the views or the permission of someone else. In addition to this, if you don’t want to work Sundays for example – nobody can make you!
- It’s simple to start - You can set up as a sole trader pretty much immediately, all that is required is that you register as a business – for tax purposes, then you’re good to go.
- Little-to-no set up costs – Depending on your trade, you may already have the skill, products or talent to begin your business without any financial outlay. The need for financial expenditure and/or outside professional help to begin your business isn’t always a necessity. This differs if you were setting up as a limited company, where fees would be paid to Companies House in order to start trading.
- Simple accounts – Your obligation is to submit a self-assessment tax return, which can be done online or over the phone once a year. You may wish to seek out an accountant if your business grows but the only essential thing is to keep track of your business incomings and outgoings.
- Tax rebates – you will be able to claim capital allowances for any assets purchased for your business throughout the year, e.g business vehicles, electronics, equipment – even a clothing and laundry allowance is included. If you run your business from home you could also include the running costs of your property, including; cleaning costs, property repairs, mortgage interest, rent, council tax and utilities.
- The profits – as a sole trader you will keep 100% of your business profits, rather than having to split with investors or partners.
- Privacy - a sole trader can be a completely private venture, this differs greatly from a limited company who is required to provide Companies House with records and accounts that will be published for anyone else to access.