From sole proprietorship and partnership to private limited companies and limited liability partnerships, there many business structures one can choose from right here in Singapore. Let’s take a closer look at Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) and Sole Proprietorship and find out which one is most suitable for your and your business.
Similar to Private Limited Companies (PLC), LLPs are also considered corporate bodies, which means they are a separate legal entity where the liability of each partner is limited. One great advantage of setting up a LLP is that it gives owners the flexibility to operate as a partnership while still maintaining a separate legal identity.
Unfortunately, sole proprietors don’t have a distinct legal identity, which means both the owner and their business are treated as one. Since there is no legal separation between business and personal assets, the owner is solely responsible for any debts that the company may incur. In a nutshell, LLPs have a distinct legal personality that is tied to the company while sole proprietorships are tied to individuals.
Compared to other companies, LLPs and sole proprietorships have a relatively easier registration process and have minimal compliance requirements as well. Both business structures don’t require their owners or partners to file and audit their accounts, or file annual returns with Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
Raising funds may be a challenge for both sole propriertorships and LLPs. Both business models are generally perceived to have less credibility amongst investors and have lower public perception.
Despite being a separate legal identity, LLPs are still not as credible in comparison to other companies as they are not as heavily regulated. Hence, most of the funding that LLPs incur comes from the partners’ investments or private investors. Similarly, sole proprietorships get their funds from their own personal finances or private investments as well.
LLPs in Singapore are not taxed at the entity level and each partner is taxed at personal income rates (max 22%) if the partner is an individual. However, if the partner is a company, these corporate partners will be taxed according to corporate rates (max 17%).
Similarly, sole proprietors are taxed at personal income rates as well. Depending on how much your business makes, your income tax rate increases too and ranges from 2% to 22%. Unlike private limited companies, these two business entities are not eligible for corporate tax benefits or deductions from the government.
In terms of succession abilities, the continuity of a LLP isn’t limited to the death or retirement of a partner and has a far more enduring business structure compared to sole proprietorships.
Unfortunately, sole proprietors don’t have the same fate and have limited perpetual succession. This means that there is no continuity in their business. Once the owner passes away, the business ends as well.
For those looking to expand and grow their business, LLPs are considered the next step for sole proprietors that want to have a larger business setup. Once you have made the transition to a LLP, you can enjoy added advantages such as limited liability and corporate ownership.
Finding the right business structure for you solely depends on your personal and business goals. Once you have identified these, the next step is to calculate the risks and advantages of each business entity and determine which one fits your needs and wants the best. Regardless of how big or small, keep in mind that any business venture will come with its risks and it is important to be calculative with your decisions.
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