Sole proprietor tax is an issue which raises its head when you personally run a business with a trade name and not through a company or corporation.
So, as a sole proprietor, you are Joe Black t/a Better Photo Agency, for example. That is, your business is Better Photo Agency and you are the only owner. A CC or a company does not feature in this set-up. Your letterhead typically has “Better Photo Agency” in big at the top and “Sole proprietor: J Black” in small at the bottom. No registration number is displayed, even if “Better Photo Agency” has been registered as a defensive name.
If you as an individual are registered for tax with SARS, then there is no need to register your sole proprietor business for tax as it is not a separate legal entity and cannot be registered for tax as such. You are the business and the business is you, as it were, and your business trading figures are reported to SARS as your own personal figures.
If you do not have a personal tax number then you will need to apply for one and that number is used when reporting your personal and business income.
Sole proprietor literally means “the only owner”.
A person, a company or a trust can be the proprietor of a business. For example, a company ABC Elastics (Pty) Ltd runs a business called Special Elastic Suppliers. It trades with that name and is is the owner of that business, so it can be termed the proprietor of the business, even the “sole proprietor” of that business.
But usually when we use the term “sole proprietor” we are referring to an individual human (not a company) who owns/runs a business.
In order to establish your Sole Proprietorship in South Africa, kindly follow the following procedure:
- Trade Name Registration – apply to register your t/a (trading as) name
- Tax Registration – apply for an income tax number for yourself (if you do not have one; this same tax number is used for the business because you are/own the business)
Other registrations for your sole proprietorship include:
- VAT Application – register your business for Value-Added Tax (if needed or if 12-month turnover is R1m or more)
- Annual Work – annual financial statements and tax return – after your first period of trading ending 28 February.
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“A sole proprietorship, also known as a sole trader or simply a proprietorship, is a type of business entity that is owned and run by one individual and in which there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business. The owner receives all profits (subject to taxation specific to the business) and has unlimited responsibility for all losses and debts. Every asset of the business is owned by the proprietor and all debts of the business are the proprietor’s. This means that the owner has no less liability than if they were acting as an individual instead of as a business” (Wikipedia).
See more on sole proprietors here: SoleProprietor.co.za