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A proprietorship is the state or right of owning a business or holding property. Generally, proprietorship and sole proprietorship are terms which have simultaneous usage. Since the business done under proprietorship is not registered, there exist no legal boundations as such. In India, these types of businesses are operated in unorganised sectors. The major idea is that there is unlimited liability of the proprietor unlike partnership where there is limited liability. There exists a stark difference between limited and unlimited liability. Limited liability means that for any of the act, offences, debts and loans of other partners not all the shareholders and the partners are legally responsible. They are responsible to the extent of a particular nominal value. This is in relation to the financial risk. Moreover, unlimited liability bears all the financial losses and gains on the proprietor only. However, there are a lot of questions which needs to be answered, such as what are the advantages and disadvantages if proprietorship? How can these be termed under one particular umbrella term? The advantages and the disadvantages are clearly illustrated in the following excerpt. 


The sole proprietorship is a business which does not have specific registration process requirements and the proprietor’s legal identity is used by the business. They are not treated as separate persons. The major advantages are as follows:


The business of proprietorship is really easy to establish. It is not a mammoth task. It does not have any prior registration process formalities and requirements to be fulfilled. As it is the identity of the proprietor which is used as the legal identity of the business as well. The PAN and Aadhar cards of the promoter can be used to obtain the identity of the business that needs to be optionally created and protected. Its establishment is not a difficult task like other firms and companies which are required to be registered.


Since there is only one single person who is operating the entire business, it becomes very easy for the sole proprietor operate his/her business without any hassles and external interference. S/he becomes the sole decision maker and does not need to consider any other bundle of opinions. The investment done in the business is entirely the proprietors only and no extra interference exists in the operation of the business. 


Being a sole proprietor, an individual becomes the whole and sole beneficiary of all the profits as well. It is a one person company which makes the proprietor eligible for the entire profits gains. The proprietor is not required to distribute it amongst other under any legal formality rather it helps the proprietor to gain more money than invested. In other firms and companies such as partnerships, LLPs, a minimum of at least two persons are involved. It is only business in which only one man involvement exists. 


The proprietorship firms are not registered with any of the Government authority like the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, the compliance requirements are very minimal. The proprietor is required to file income tax returns if the firm has the income of more than 2.5 lakhs per annum. Moreover, the proprietor who has crossed the age of 60 years would be required to pay taxes only if the income is above 3 lakhs. Also, the proprietor who has attained the age above 80 years would be required to pay only when the taxable income is above 5 lakhs. The income tax liability can also be reduced by other methods as well. The methods are as follows:

  • The proprietor can make a contribution in various provident funds, life insurance premiums, also to the subscription to certain equity share or debentures.
  • The contribution to certain pension funds also helps.
  • Income from the royalty and royalty on patents also give massive advantage.
  • The caring of the dependent is being done by the proprietor would help him availing the deduction in income tax liability. 


The proprietor is the sole owner of the business s/he is undertaking. This means that there is no leakage of any information to the third party in anyway. The privacy of business is clearly maintained. There is no need to provide any details to the Government as well since the proprietorship is not registered except the income tax payments. This shows that the proprietorship firms are more private than the private companies itself as the details of the private companies gets published from time to time. 


Unlike a LLPs and other companies which are registered and possess limited liabilities, in a proprietorship there is no limited liability. The concept of limited liability says that the partners are liable for the amount of investment done by them. This means that liability is limited and the partners will be liable for only some nominal value. Whereas in the proprietorship there is no concept of limited liability and hence everything has to be bear by the proprietor.


As far as there are manifold advantages of the proprietorship, there also exist certain disadvantages of a proprietorship. The disadvantages are as follows:


This can also prove to be the biggest disadvantage as the proprietor is the sole owner of the business. This means that at the occurrence of any loss the proprietor would be the only person who must meet all the liabilities at any cost. The personal assets gets used for discharging any liabilities and debts. Nobody else can be made liable.


There exists a difficulty in obtaining the funds as well. A sole proprietor is a person who can never indulge in the sale of business interests and shares as his work is of sole tradership. It deprives the entity from receipt of any type of equity funding. This means that the person who is running the business in proprietorship finds it really difficult to get any of the funds from banks, companies, for that matter, from private persons as well. The banks wary in lending the sums of money to a proprietor as the existence of the firm is tied directly to him itself. Whereas in LLPs and in companies, more than one person becomes responsible for the liabilities and the business continuation is nonetheless ensured even if there is any death or insolvency of one of the partners. This is clear that it is easy for a registered company or a LLP to raise loan whereas it becomes extremely difficult for the sole proprietor to raise the same. This is due to the risk factor which is associated with the proprietor as there is uncertainty factor which exists. 


A proprietor can also be subject to the incidence of payment of higher taxes. Proprietorship firms are taxed as if the individual is being taxed. This means that the income tax rate for a proprietorship firm is based on certain slabs. There are certain benefits which a company might enjoy but a proprietor cannot. For example; the income tax rate for the company for income up to 10 lakhs is lowered. The income tax rate is much higher for a proprietorship when compared to company of LLP. 


There are no business write-offs which exists in a proprietorship. A proper business write-off can reduce the amount of taxable income of tax one owes. It actually deduct the cost of running the business from one’s own income. But being a sole proprietor, again this benefit does get availed by the individual running such business. 


There exist the whole and sole control of the owner itself. This means that it is the owner who makes all the decisions without any external interference. This makes it more difficult for the business to grow as well the employees also does not get many opportunities to grow. Also when more employees are added up, it is the owner only who is allowed to take any vacation or a holiday. Usually, employees get an off or vacations.


In order to sum up, it would be right to say that a business always comes with its pros and cons. On the top of it, proprietorship business is not a piece of cake. A one man business needs complete determination and courage to run it. It brings about various advantages and disadvantages which should be overcome much more easily by the person aiming to run the business. However, if the challenges are well tackled, it could bring about enormous advantages and benefits to the proprietor. A proprietor can also make employment of certain persons in order to run the business more smoothly but the losses and the profits incurred in the business are solely his own. Nobody else has any right on the same. Hence, it implies that in order to run a business of proprietorship kind, one must be a pro and should construe each and every aspect of the same with great details. 

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