sole trader vs limited company

Sole Trader Vs Limited Company: Choosing the Best Fit

The most common and usual business structure in Ireland involves the position of a sole trader, someone who runs his or her company freely with complete control and few legal responsibilities.

They still risk their personal assets, as they're subject to unlimited liability and personal income taxation. Still, a lot of people like it because it's inexpensive and simple.

A limited company, on the other hand, is a distinct juridical entity that gives tax advantages, limited liability, and is perfect for growing, drawing investors, safeguarding personal assets, and offering more funding alternatives and credibility.

To understand the sole trader vs limited company concept, you need to go through from the main understanding of both setup costs, tax liabilities and set a goal for your business.

What is a Sole Trader

A sole proprietor is defined as, when a business is solely owned, one person establishes, and runs it, accepting full responsibility for all of its risks, gains, and losses. A single owner pays the tax for the sole trader or business.

The owner may have to pay a higher tax rate than other people if the profit is below a predetermined level, like £20,000. One benefit of being a sole proprietor is that there's often relatively little paperwork and a straightforward management structure involving few employees.

But they're drawbacks as well. Due to their perception that sole entrepreneurs are less reliable or professional than larger corporations, some businesses may be unwilling to work with them. This hesitancy may prevent some commercial prospects.

Even with these difficulties, running a sole proprietorship is usually simple, with little red tape, and simple administrative procedures.

What is a Limited Company?

A limited company's liability is restricted at the value of its shares, and its own legal existence apart from its owners. Since salaries are paid out of profits, this split offers more flexibility in terms of organizational layout, tax specifications, and salary distributions.

Limited corporations, however, have to comply with strict reporting requirements, which include filing accurate accounts, keeping records, and registering with businesses. By Using a large number of documents, limited companies increase their expenditures on working.

Although these challenges, limited firms have a number of perks. Investors, and prospective business partners find them more appealing due to their increased credibility and stability. More advantageous tax planning options are also available to limited businesses, enabling them to minimize their tax obligations.

Sole Trader Vs Limited Company Ireland

Ireland is a desirable location for businesses due to its energetic and business-friendly economy. A sole trader vs limited company model are two prominent types of companies.

Sole Trader Ireland

A sole dealer is an individual who oversees and regulates their firm independently of one another, taking full responsibility for all business debts while maintaining total control and keeping all post-tax profits.

This structure is perfect for small enterprises and freelancers looking for simplicity and direct control because it is easy to use and requires little setup.

Limited Company Ireland

On the contrary, a limited company, which is sometimes held by shareholders and run by directors, has legal separation from its owners. Although this structure has more involved setup and compliance requirements, it offers limited liability protection, protecting the shareholders' personal assets.

Limited corporations are a good option for firms that need to make large investments or aim to grow significantly because they can also provide possible tax benefits and an increased reputation.

Key Differences

  • Whereas shareholders of limited companies are only liable for the limited liability protection to their shareholders, however, sole traders are subject to unlimited personal liability for corporate responsibilities.
  • While limited businesses pay 12.5% Corporation Tax, which provides chances for tax planning, sole traders pay income tax, PRSI, and USC on profits. Creating a limited company entails more complexity, expense, and more compliance requirements than setting up a sole trader, which is easier and less expensive and requires less continuing management.
  • A limited firm could be seen as more respectable and expert. While limited corporations have structured decision-making procedures, sole traders preserve total authority. While limited corporations may keep gains for reinvestment, potentially lowering personal tax responsibilities, sole traders are entitled to keep all post-tax profits.

Factors like liability, taxes, administrative costs, credibility, and corporate objectives influence the decision. Consulting experts can offer tailored advice on which structure is best for a given set of circumstances and long-term goals.

Advantages of A Sole Trader

There're lots of advantages of a sole trader which helps to clear the concept about sole traders. Some important features of a sole trader is given below:

  • Flexibility and Control: A solitary businessman offers a great degree of flexibility because they've total control over all business decisions and operations. Because of this independence, decisions can be made quickly without requiring consent from a board of directors or partners.
  • Direct Profits: The independent owner obtains all business profits individually. Profits aren't required to be distributed with shareholders or shareholders and which may be favorable financially.
  • Simplified Tax Filing: Generally speaking, filing taxes as a sole proprietor is less complicated than filing as a corporation. By reporting business revenue, and costs on their personal tax returns, sole proprietors are able to bypass the intricacies of preparing corporate tax returns.
  • Lower Start-Up Costs: In general, starting a sole proprietorship costs less money than establishing a corporation or partnership. The initial expense of registering a firm and maintaining compliance is typically less.
  • Personal Satisfaction: Being an independent businessperson can be personally fulfilling as it offers a sense of accomplishment, and contentment from starting and expanding a company on your own.
  • Risk Management: Although the owner's unlimited accountability represents an extreme danger, it also encourages cautious and cautious firm management, which frequently results in improved risk management procedures.

Disadvantages of Sole Trader

  • Unlimited Liability: Sole proprietors are subject to limitless liability, which puts their personal assets in jeopardy in the event that the company accrues debt or runs into legal troubles.
  • Limited Growth Potential: Sole proprietors frequently face greater challenges in raising finance, which limits their ability to grow and expand.
  • Total Responsibility: Since sole proprietors are responsible for every part of the company, managing it all on their own can be stressful and restrict their capacity to take time off.
  • Tax Implications: Because sole proprietors are subject to individual income taxes rather than the possible tax advantages enjoyed by limited corporations, this can occasionally result in higher tax rates.
  • Less Credibility: Compared to limited corporations, sole proprietorships are frequently seen as less reliable or professional, which can have an impact on investor and client confidence.

Advantages of Limited Company

Important features of a limited company is explain below:

  • Limited Liability: Protection from limited liability is one of a limited company's greatest advantages. Shareholders liability for the company's dues is limited to the amount they spontaneously put in stocks and the shareholders personal assets are always safe.
  • Tax Efficiency: Compared to sole proprietorships, limited businesses may offer greater tax savings. They can distribute profits as dividends, which may be taxed at a lower rate than income, and they can take advantage of a number of tax breaks and allowances.
  • Professional Image: Marketplace can be improved for a limited company by maintaining its framework. It frequently encourages greater self-assurance in customers, vendors, and financiers, which may result in additional company prospects.
  • Continuity: To ensure the stability, and continuity of a limited company, it does need to prove perpetual existence, the company has shown to exist even if ownership changes.
  • Raising Capital: Limited enterprises find it simpler to raise financing. They can attract investors by issuing shares, which is a big advantage for growth and expansion.
  • Transfer of Ownership: Limited company ownership is easily transferred by using shares selling methods as compared to a sole trader.
  • Regulatory Compliance: While the compliance requirements can be demanding, they also encourage better business practices and transparency, which can be beneficial in the long term.

Disadvantages of Limited Company

  • Less Privacy and Confidentiality: Accounts, shareholders, and directors of limited companies are all accessible to everyone on the Companies House record. This makes keeping company information secret from competitors more difficult.
  • Shared Ownership and Control: A limited company's ownership and control are shared by its many investors. Shareholders have to give permission to decisions. It can be more challenging to sell or transfer the ownership of a limited company than transferring ownership for a business that is solely owned.
  • Potential for Higher Taxes: Sole traders pay income tax; limited corporations pay corporation tax on profits. Limited businesses, however, have additional options for efficient tax preparation. The particulars of the firm will influence how taxation is handled.

Sole Trader Tax Ireland

In Ireland, sole proprietors manage their own companies and bear personal debt obligations. A yearly self-assessment tax return is required, and they pay income tax, PRSI, and USC. If turnover for products or services surpasses certain levels, VAT registration becomes necessary.

Every year, preliminary tax payments based on expected liabilities are due. There are several tax breaks and credits available, and allowable company expenses and capital allowances can lower taxable profit. Timely completion of tasks and accurate record-keeping are crucial.

Limited Company Tax Ireland

Operating a limited company in Ireland has certain tax requirements, such as corporation tax on both trade and non-trading income and online yearly report filing. If a company's turnover is above specific levels, they are required to register for VAT and submit periodic returns.

Payroll deductions for PRSI, USC, and PAYE must be made by employers and submitted to Revenue. Tax payments are due in part because of expected liabilities. Asset sales are subject to capital gains tax, though there may be exceptions. There are financial advantages to various tax credits.

Withholding tax is applied to dividends, and businesses are required to provide yearly financial accounts. Audit scope depends upon the size of the company. It is advised to seek professional tax advice to ensure efficiency and compliance.

Public Limited Company Ireland

limited company Ireland

In Ireland, a Public Limited Company (PLC) that wants to sell shares to the general public needs to adhere to certain legal restrictions. It needs two directors, a certified company secretary, a minimum of seven shareholders, and an issued share capital of €25,000.

PLCs can raise money by going public via share offerings, but they need an approved prospectus first. They are required to file yearly returns with audited financial accounts and host an annual general meeting.

A board of directors and, in the case of major PLCs, an audit committee are involved in corporate governance. PLCs are subject to company tax, VAT laws, and dividend withholding taxes.

Significant capital access, share liquidity, and limited liability are among the benefits; regulatory constraints, increased expenses, and public scrutiny are among the drawbacks. The allocation of assets and the handling of creditor claims make dissolution proceedings intricate.

How To Register As a Sole Trader Ireland

Registering as a sole trader in Ireland involves registering with the tax authorities (Revenue Commissioners) and potentially the Companies Registration Office (CRO), if you use a business name.

Depending on the nature of your business and sales, you might also need to register for VAT with the Revenue Department and your local government.

Remember to keep good records, pay income tax and social insurance, and consider seeking professional advice for legal obligations and tax benefits.

Setting Up a Sole Trader Business

Becoming a sole trader in Ireland requires planning, registration, and ongoing management. First, solidify your business idea and craft a plan. Next, pick a distinctive name for your company and, if required, register it.

Register with the tax authorities and potentially for VAT depending on turnover. You need to open a separate bank account for your firm, if you want to get any licenses or permits. Set up a system to track income, expenses, and invoices. Develop a marketing strategy to attract customers.

Finally, consider professional guidance and launch your business, staying adaptable to market changes.


If you want to get information related to taxes, you need to connect with a legal adviser. If you have a complex tax condition, you need to coordinate with the perfect consultant for more accurate results. This article will just provide information about tax and legal advice.


Sole traders and limited companies offer distinct advantages, and drawbacks. Sole traders enjoy simpler setups, full control, and flexibility, but face unlimited liability and higher taxes.

Limited companies provide liability protection, potentially lower taxes, and a more professional image, but come with stricter regulations and higher costs. Consider your priorities like liability, taxation, and growth potential to choose the best structure for your business.

Rían Doyle

I'm a VAT professional with years of experience helping businesses with compliance and reporting. My goal is to simplify VAT calculation and provide valuable insights through my engaging writing style and clear explanations of complex concepts.