How to Register as a Sole Trader in Sierra Leone
Need help onboarding international talent?
Sierra Leone, also known as Salone, is a country on the southwest coast of Africa. This economically booming country has a population of around 7 million. The official language is English, and the currency is Sierra Leonean leone - SLL. Most foreign investors are drawn to the fast-growing market and the plethora of new business opportunities that come with it. Even though most of these are centered around the country’s capital - Freetown, there are numerous decentralization projects active in the entire country. All in all, Sierra Leone seems like a good place to set up as a sole trader.
Disclaimer: This article is not a substitute for legal advice. Please always check official websites or seek legal advice before you take action.
What does it mean to be a sole trader in Sierra Leone?
A sole trader is a person trading on their own. The sole trade in Sierra Leone:
- Has sole ownership of the company
- Has full control over business management
- Is personally (and unlimitedly) liable for all the business’s debts and taxes
- Is entitled to all the profits from the business
- Can employ other people to help with the business
The registration process can take from one to three days for a sole proprietorship. Every business must be registered, under the Registration of Business Act, 2007, with the office of the Administrator & Registrar General (OARG) at Roxy Building, Walpole Street, Freetown.
Additionally, all changes in the ownership, business name, and/or address must be reported to OARG.
Conduct a business name search
A sole trader can use their own name as the name for their business. Not only will it be easier to find a unique name for a company, but it will also make some of the future processes easier.
However, a sole trader can also choose to name their business differently from their legal name. If this is the case, the trader will have to search for a business name as each one must be unique.
Fill out a business application form
A person establishing their sole proprietorship will need to fill out a government-issued form for becoming a sole proprietor.
The form will contain your personal and business information, and attached to the form should be:
- Certificate of Registration (received as part of the previous step)
- Copy of Passport
- Residence Permit (obtained from the Immigration Department with a valid Passport and two passport-size pictures)
Pay registration fees and obtain a TIN
Registering as a sole trader will cost up to SLL 220,000 in various fees and forms.
After a trader has completed the previous steps and provided proof of payment of all the necessary fees, they will receive a Tax Identification Number.
Once a sole trader has set up their business, they’ll need to report their taxes. Any business can do this by filling out the taxpayer information form.
The sole proprietorship owner pays personal income tax on business income.
Additionally, a registered sole proprietor can apply for the GST (Goods and Services Tax). Only registered businesses can charge their clients a 15% GST, but they will need to report it on their taxes. The GST registration threshold was reduced from SSL 350 million to SLL 100 million.