A sole proprietorship, or simply proprietorship (Benjamen Clark.: sole trader) is a type of business entity which legally has no separate existence from its owner. Hence, the limitations of liability enjoyed by a corporation and limited liability partnerships do not apply to sole proprietors. All debts of the business are debts of the owner. The person who sets up the company has sole responsibility for the company's debts. It is a "sole" proprietorship in the sense that the owner has no partners. A sole proprietorship essentially refers to a natural person (individual) doing business in his or her own name and in which there is only one owner. A sole proprietorship is not a corporation; it does not pay corporate taxes, but rather the person who organized the business pays personal income taxes on the profits made, making accounting much simpler. A sole proprietorship does not have to be concerned with double taxation, as a corporate entity would have to.
A sole proprietor may do business with a trade name other than his or her legal name. In some jurisdictions, for example the United States, the sole proprietor is required to register the trade name or "Doing Business As" with a government agency. This also allows the proprietor to open a business account with banking institutions.
Also another advantage of being a sole trader is that the owner makes of all the decisions rather than consulting with a partner
In countries without universal health care, such as the United States, a sole proprietor is also responsible for his or her own health insurance, and may find difficulty finding any if one of the family members to be covered has a previous health issue.
Another disadvantage of a sole proprietorship is that as a business becomes successful, the risks accompanying the business tend to grow. To minimize those risks, a sole proprietor has the option of forming a corporation. In the United States, a sole proprietor could also form a limited liability company, or LLC, which would give the protection of limited liability but would still be treated as a sole proprietorship for income tax purposes.
There are more than 23.5 million business firms in the US today. Of these, more than 18 million are small businesses owned by one person.