Proprietorship literally corresponds to ‘ownership’. Sole proprietorship is perhaps the easiest and the oldest business forms are taken up by individuals. Before the business gains roots in the market, an entrepreneur likes to start browsing the profitability of his business avenues out in the open. A sole proprietor, hence, is the only person initiating the start-up, carrying it forward to achieve revenues & profits and subsequently paying personal income tax on the income so generated. However, the legal existence of this form of business is not recognized by law and is touted to be a risky choice as compared to other structures of business like Company or LLP. In this article, we will enunciate all about Sole proprietorship, its characteristics, and the registration process.

Characteristics of a Sole Proprietorship:

  • Single Entrepreneur – A sole proprietorship is run by a sole trader and is suitable for small businesses with light investment.
  • Complete Control: Since the daily affairs to run the business is taken by the proprietor himself, there are less confusions and more clear about a business decision.
  • Low-cost investment: The cost of forming a sole proprietorship is relatively less, with requirements just being limited to having a bank account.
  • Easy entry and exit: The compliance part for a sole proprietor is almost nil, so it doesn’t take much time to come into the market and in case of business failure, it is an equally simple exit.
  • No legal distinction of enterprise assets: The assets and other resources used by the proprietor for his business are his own and are not considered separate from the business entity. Therefore, in case of possible loss or failure of repayment of a loan, a proprietor is accountable.
  • Proprietor to pay income tax: Unlike in the case of a company or LLP, where the entity pays corporate tax, the income generated from the operations of a sole proprietor is his own. This makes him eligible to pay income tax on the income earned by his firm.

Sole proprietorship has been considered a traditional approach to run a business. It may a low-cost budget and less investment, but it carries an equal number of drawbacks, namely:

  • Less access to banks for raising funds
  • Unlimited Liability
  • No addition of partners to distribute loss.
  • Less resourcefulness
  • Lesser reliability

Minimum Requirements and Documents Checklist:

  • Opening a current account in a bank.
  • PAN Card of the proprietor
  • Address proof (Voter ID/Aadhar card/Driving License)
  • Copy of utility bills
  • Proof of address of the Firm – if rented, then copy of rent agreement; if owned then property papers or utility bills (not more than 2 months old)
  • NO objection certificate from the landlord if the office premises are rented.

Process of registration:

While there is no legal procedure stipulated by law to register a sole proprietorship, it largely depends on the type of business carried by the proprietor which decided the future course of actions. A business will either be

  1. Manufacturing/product based
  2. Service-based


This type of enterprise aims at productions and sales of selling physical and tangible products to the customer online or offline. For eg: e-commerce websites, FMCG products wholesalers and retailers. The products so manufactured or sold require:

  • VAT/Sales TAX/TIN registration
  • Micro small and medium enterprise certification (MSME)
  • Shop and Establishments certificates (in some cases)
  • CA certification

While for Firm registration, the documents required are more or less similar as provided in the checklist above, VAT registration procedure may vary state to state.

Service-based Sole Proprietorship:

Unlike Manufacturing, Service-based proprietorship specializes in providing consultancy services/Marketing/Digital Content/SAAS services/Business intelligence/technical know-how, etc. The two main requisite here would be:

  • Service Tax Certification – a certificate provided by the central government.
  • CA Certification attesting the business objects of the proprietorship.

The same document checklist mentioned above in the article would be adhered.

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