Business Ownership Structure – Sole Trader

If you want to start or buy a business – or have an existing business – you might want to know the best ownership structure for you to use. We will talk about three main business structures in Australia and NZ – Sole Traders, partnerships and companies – during the next three articles and please send us an email if you want to know more.

The first is you don’t have to stay with the same structure – you don’t have to form a company to buy a company, for example. Companies can buy partnerships, a single trader can buy a company and so on. Or, if you are currently a single trader, you can turn it into a company; A company can be lowered and turned into a partnership. There are, of course, costs and hassle in making this change so let’s fix it, now, and ask for money and your business is productively directed to run a business.

Personal obligations

Single traders are you, the owner and the person. Therefore a single trader is a legal entity because the laws recognize you – you can sign contracts, demanding and demanding, own property, taking loans, having a bank account and so on. Partnerships are not legal entities and cannot do this – we will discuss it next week.

So, you start or buy your business, pay from your personal bank account or a separate business account and, from whatever account you use, you make business purchases – assets and expenses. This is exactly like making a personal purchase.

If you don’t pay your mortgage, Mortgagor can sell your home and then demand for any shortcomings and you can lose other personal assets.

Same with your business: If your business expenditure is on credit and you don’t pay, creditors, lenders, mortgages or banks can require you and get courts to take your personal and / or business assets. Because the business is you, the legal system does not see the difference between your business and your personal assets. The company avoids this problem and you can read about it here in two weeks.


Because you are your business and it is you, legally, so business income is yours. Whatever the advantage (or loss) you created from your business, added to your other income. So, if you have an interest and other income of $ 10,000 and your business generates a profit of $ 30,000, your taxable income is $ 40,000 (10,000 + 30,000 = 40,000). If your other income is $ 40,000 and your business generates a loss of $ 25,000, your taxable income will be $ 15,000 (40,000 – 25,000 = 15,000). Simple math.

The disadvantage of this is that all business income (or losses) belongs to you – you cannot spread it to your other family members to reduce taxes, as you can with partnerships or companies.

Your business tax file number will be your existing personal tax number.

Any business in Australia must have an Australian Business number (ABN) so you have to get [not valid in NZ]. You must register for GST if your gross income will be more than $ 75,000. You can do this on the ABN form.

You trade alone

When you die, the business ends, unless you provide assets to be forwarded in a will. You cannot forward your shares in this business with the company.

You can only borrow money with your personal assets. The company gives you more access to finance and we will discuss it within two weeks.


Just as any ownership structure, there are advantages and disadvantages. Above, we explain the three main problems and below is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of the ownership structure of a single trader.

Advantages of Sole Trader

Low entry fees – no company setting costs.
Easy to arrange – only you.
Some legal fees.
Only one tax refund is needed – cheaper accounting costs.
No Name Registration is needed (if traded with your own name).
Disadvantages of Traders Sol
Personally responsible for business debt.
When you die, the business is dead.
Cannot divide revenue to other family members to reduce taxes.
Limited access to business finances.

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