Sole Trader Business Name Registration

How to Register as a Sole Trader in Ireland


A Sole Trader business is one of the simplest types of business concerns to run. The Sole Trader i.e. the single person, one-man/woman- firm is a frequently used business model. 


A Sole Trader business structure is one where the business i.e. the owner operates either in his/her own name without having chosen to register a limited company and or become engaged in a business partnership.

The characteristics of a Sole Trader, generally means that the Sole Trader provides or raises the capital for his/her firm, he/she makes all the decisions and is personally liable for all legal actions and debts. His/her liability is unlimited; if the business fails, debtors can call upon his/her private assets and even the family home. The profits, however that the Sole Trader makes belongs solely to the individual. It is effectively his/her salary as well as the interest on his/her capital (assuming the business is making profits).


Running a business as a Sole Trader has fewer legal formalities and compliance requirements compared to other structures such as limited companies for example. The main advantages of being a Sole Trader are:

Decisions are made by the business owner.

Business Expenses which are incurred in running the business are allowable deductions against profits.

All profits are kept by the owner - there is no disbursement

A Sole Trader is not required to file an annual return and accounts each year on the public file as in the case of a limited company. This should not be confused, however with the Sole Traders obligation to file a tax return each year.


Running a business as a Sole Trader means that the business owner is fully liable for all debts of the company at all times and also on business cessation should there be debts outstanding. The benefit of limited liability, as in the case of owners of a limited company does not apply - see Why incorporate

It is often more difficult for Sole Trader business's to attract investment and raise finance from institutions. Where Finance, Grants etc are obtained there may be a requirement for a limited company.


There are a number of requirements and obligations which a Sole Trader must comply with: 

(a) A Sole Trader is legally obliged under the Registration of Business Names Act to register the business name under which he/she is trading if such trading name is not carried on under his/her own name.

(b) is legally obliged to register as a Sole Trader for central tax purposes with the Revenue Commissioners

(c) is obligated to maintain proper bookkeeping and accounts records.

(d) must register for VAT where annual sales turnover exceeds €37,500 in the case of the supply of services and €75,000 in the case of a Sole Trader supplying goods.

(e) register as an employer if employees are hired and operate a payroll for such employees.

(f) will be operating his/her business concern with full and total personal liability and responsibility for any an all outstanding debts, charges, fines and or litigation matters that the business may incur from time to time and or at the time of business closure. Read Why Incorporate

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