If you’re considering venturing into the world of online selling as an independent business owner, you may have encountered the term “sole proprietorship.” This term isn’t commonly used in everyday conversation, even among business owners or sole proprietors themselves. So, let us simplify the concept and explain how you can apply for it.


Who Qualifies as a Sole Proprietor?


A sole proprietor is essentially anyone who owns a business. According to the law, the business owner and the business itself are considered a single entity. This means that if the business has outstanding debts, the business owner is personally responsible for them. This differs from a corporation, where the owners aren’t individually liable for the company’s debts.


How Can You Become a Sole Proprietor?


Suppose you wish to establish an online store. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Register with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
  2. During DTI registration, you must choose a unique name for your business.
  3. After choosing your business name, follow these DTI registration steps:
    Step 1: Identify the scope of your business.
    Step 2: Enter your chosen business name.
    Step 3: Provide your personal details and address.
    Step 4: Select your preferred payment method.
    Step 5: Obtain your certification.

Make sure to retain a copy of your Transaction Reference Number (TRN) as you’ll need it for online payments. Additional requirements for your business registration may be requested; submit these within 15 business days to avoid restarting the process.

  1. Obtain your business permit from the city or municipality where your business operates, or from your place of residence if your business is online. Instructions for acquiring a business permit can be found here. 
  2. Register your Tax Identification Number (TIN) with the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Guidance on this process can be found here.
  3. Register your business with the following government agencies:
  • Social Security System (SSS)
  • Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) if you employ five or more workers
  • PhilHealth
  • Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) if you deal in logs or lumber.