A sole proprietorship is a basic business structure operated by just one owner who has complete authority over the business and is personally responsible for all of its assets and debts.
Sole proprietorship is one of the most widely used business forms in the Philippines mainly due to its simplicity, minimal cost, and easy, streamlined setup process, making it a top option for sole business owners, consultants, and individuals self-contractors. While sole proprietorship owners get to enjoy all profits earned by their business, they are also fully responsible for losses, debts, and liabilities.
In the Philippines, sole proprietors and their businesses are considered as a single taxpayer sharing the same Tax Identification Number (TIN) for tax purposes. Those who plan to establish a sole proprietorship in the Philippines need to register with the Department of Trade and Industry and must apply for a business trade name.
Unlike other common business structures such as corporations, various partnerships, and limited liability companies or LLCs, it is the sole proprietor who is in charge and responsible for the business.
In partnerships, the responsibilities of the business are shared between multiple individuals. In LLCs and corporations, the financial liabilities are handled by the corporation and the LLC itself, and not the individuals behind its operation.
To start a sole proprietorship, you’ll need to go to three different government agencies: The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), your Local Government Unit (LGU) or Barangay, and the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s Revenue District Office in the city where you plan to set up your business.
Keep in mind that you cannot be officially registered as a sole proprietorship if you do not have complete documents and requirements from these three agencies.
Here’s a brief overview of the steps required to set up a sole proprietorship in the Philippines:
The first step is to search for your intended business name and see if there are existing businesses with the same name. If the name you choose is available, fill out a business name application form, and then submit it to the DTI office. If all requirements are met, the DTI will issue a Certificate of Registration.
Submit a copy of DTI’s Certificate of Registration, Proof of Residence, and two valid IDs, and then fill out a business application form at the Barangay where your business will operate.
Head to the municipal office in the city where you plan to establish your business. Here, you’ll need to complete an application form and submit your DTI Certificate of Registration, Barangay Clearance Certificate, Proof of Residency, and two valid IDs.
The last step is to register your business with the BIR. To do this, you will need to obtain a copy of “BIR Form 1901” at your city’s regional office. You’ll also need to submit your DTI Certificate of Registration, Barangay Clearance Certificate, Proof of Residency, Mayor’s’ Business Permit, and a valid ID. After submitting these, pay for all registration fees, register your book of accounts, and submit any invoices and receipts for your business.