Legal Forms of Business in Sri Lanka

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A business also called a company, enterprise or firm is a legally recognized organization, designed to provide goods and services to consumers. According to the purpose of the business, ownership of the business and nature of economic contribution of the business; the business can fall into one of the three standard sectors. There are; private sector, public sector and nonprofit sector.

The part of the economy concerned with providing basic government services is called public sector. In most countries the public sector includes such services as the military, public transit, primary education and healthcare. Their aim is to give service to the people and less emphasis is made on profit making. Public cooperation is the widely known type of public sector business entity.

The non-profit sector is derived with organizations that do not distribute their surplus funds to owners or shareholders, but instead use them to help pursue their goals. Examples include charitable organizations, trade unions, and public arts organizations.

In private sector, businesses are financed and controlled by individuals or private institutions, such as companies, stockholders, or investment groups. These businesses run for private profit and they are not controlled by the state or the government. There are many types of business entities defined in the private sector and authorized by the legal systems of various countries. These legal forms of business include;

• Sole Proprietorship

• Partnership (General Partnership, Limited Partnership and Joint Venture)

• Corporation (C Corporation and S Corporation)

• Limited Liability Company (Private and Public)

These legal forms have been derived according to their Source of the capital, Value of capital investment, Nature of ownership, Number of owners, Nature of liability and many other factors.

Each legal form has its own advantages as well as disadvantages. When making a decision about the type of business to form, there are several criteria you need to evaluate based on advantages and disadvantages of above mentioned legal forms. The most important fact is cost of formation of the business and cost of ongoing administration. This includes cost of record-keeping and paperwork, as well as the costs associated with administrative requirements. Legal liability is the next thing to be considered and it defines to what extent the owner need to be insulated from legal liability. Based on the individual situation and goals of the business owner, he has to consider what the available tax implications are because it is also an important factor. Finally the owner has to think about the future needs and whether the legal forms support flexibility feature.

Sri Lanka Company Act, No.7 of 2007 and Company Act, No. 17 of 1982 have defined Sri Lanka legal forms of organizations, which can be the choices for Sri Lankan business community when forming a new business. Legal Forms of business in Sri Lanka include;

• Sole Proprietorship

• Limited Liability Company (Private and Public)

• General Partnership

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship also known as a sole trader is a type of business entity which is owned and run by one individual and where there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business. Sole proprietorships are forms of business ownership that mingle the owner's rights, liabilities and responsibilities with the business' rights, liabilities and responsibilities.

Regardless of the state of the business, the procedures we need to follow to form a sole proprietorship are fairly simple, and do not even require an attorney, accountant, or business consultant. There are no legal requirements for establishing a sole proprietorship, other than obtaining the necessary local business license and permit.

As the sole proprietor, owner has the full control and responsibility for the...
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