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Sole Trader:

This is the simplest form of business. It is one person trading either under their own name or a business name. It is the one person who is in control. You can employ any number of people in the business. As a sole trader you would have complete control over the business and all the profits (after tax) will be yours.

On the downside, you will personally be accountable for any debts and liabilities that the business incurs down to your last penny. This includes any bank or other lenders' loans that might be raised in order to start the business and keep it afloat in the early months before cash flow begins to kick in. There is no safety net: ultimately all your personal assets,including your home, could be lost if your business fails.

If you run a business where there is risk of personal injury to third parties (e.g. catering or bouncy castle hire) then it is vital that you are insured against these risks. This is true whichever business structure you decide upon but is particularly important when you are personally liable.

Compared to the other forms of business, the administration of a sole trader is fairly simple. You will need to keep accurate records of income and expenditure and file an annual self-assessment tax return.

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