Can a person who has a criminal conviction open a business as a sole trader?

Question Details: I'm hoping to be a first time business owner under the structure of a sole trader. Will having a criminal conviction hinder my chances of owning my own business?

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Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley

Yes, a person with a criminal conviction can operate as a sole trader.

It is important to realise that as a sole trader, you do not actually 'open a business' which is separate to yourself. Instead, a sole trader is just a person who carries out business-like activities. In the eyes of the law, a sole trader and their business are the same thing.

This means that you are entitled to do anything as a sole trader that you are as you are as an individual. The only things that your criminal conviction will stop you doing as a sole trader are the things it will also stop you doing as an individual.

You can find more information on sole traderships at the link below. It is likely that your bank will also be able to provide you with information about running your business.
www.business.govt.nz

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