Starting a Business in Ireland

Foreign Nationals

Non-European Economic Area nationals must get permission from the Minister for Justice and Equality in order to set up a business in Ireland. They may be eligible to apply for the Immigrant Investor Programme or the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme. If they wish to start a retail, catering, personal services or similar business they should apply for the Business Permission Scheme

Business Name Registration

You can set up a business as a sole trader, as a partnership or as a limited company. The type of structure chosen will depend on the kind of business one is running, with whom you will be doing business and your attitude to risk. It is advisable to get the advice of a lawyer or accountant when considering the structure for your business. Businesses are registered by the Companies Registration Office (CRO).

You need to fill one of the following forms:

  • Form RBN1: for an individual
  • Form RBN1A: for a partnership
  • Form RBN1B: for a body corporate

Submit the appropriate form along with the registration fee (€40 for paper filing/€20 for electronic filing), to the CRO within one month of adopting the business name.

For more guidance on Business names, click here.

Certificate of Registration

It normally takes three weeks from the receipt of the form by the CRO for the registration of a business name to the issuance of the Certificate of Registration by the registrar of companies.

A copy of the Certificate of Registration once received must be exhibited in a conspicuous position.

Business letters

The name(s) of the proprietor(s) of a business must be shown on all business letters, circulars etc. on which the business name appears. If the proprietor of the business name is a corporate body, the following additional information must be shown on business letters:

  • The full name of the company 
  • The names of current and any former directors and their nationality if not Irish 
  • Additional particulars are required on letters and order forms for Irish registered companies (this does not apply to unlimited companies) 
  • The place of registration (e.g. registered in Dublin, Ireland) 
  • the registration number (i.e. number on the certificate of incorporation) 
  • the address of the registered office (where this is already shown on the document, the fact that it is the registered office must be indicated) 

You can register your business name and file company returns online with the CRO using CORE (Companies Online Registration Environment.)

Taxation, Pay Related Social Insurance and Employing staff

Businesses incorporated as companies are liable for corporation tax, which stands at 12.5 percent. Those that are not are considered sole traders and pay taxes under the self-assessment system.

If you are self-employed you pay related social insurance (PRSI) for the self-employed. If you are an employer and you created new and additional jobs in 2012 you may have PRSI for the self-employed.

If you are starting up a business and decide to recruit staff you must register for PAYE and PRSI with Revenue. You can find information about employer obligations and employee rights, as well as the minimum wage, social insurance, PRSI, leave and health and safety here.

Paying Taxes in Ireland

The Irish tax system has various taxes in two forms: direct and indirect taxes, which are both collected by Revenue. The major tax types are income, corporation and Value Added taxes; other types of taxes are capital gains, local property, and stamp duty, among others. See the Revenue website for more information.

In order to register for tax you must first obtain a PPSN. Information on obtaining a PPSN can be found on the Department of Social Protection website. ROS is Revenue’s internet facility which provides you with a quick and secure facility to register for tax, pay tax liabilities, file tax returns, access your tax details and claim repayments.

Revenue undertakes checks to ensure that everyone’s tax affairs are in order.

Personal Tax; Pay As You Earn (PAYE)

The PAYE system is a method of income tax and USC deductions under which a person’s employer calculates and deducts the amount(s) due each time a payment of wages, salary, etc. is made to an employee. It is also used for collecting PRSI. Click here for the Code of Practice for Determining Employment or Self-Employment Status of Individuals.

One may be entitled to claim various tax reliefs to reduce the amount of tax you pay. Find more information on credits, reliefs and exemptions here.

Business and Corporation Tax

Corporation tax is charged on the worldwide profits of companies that are tax resident in Ireland. A company is generally regarded as Irish tax-resident if it is managed and controlled in Ireland. Corporation tax is also charged on certain profits of the Irish branch of a non-resident company. This includes PAYE employers, and to the self-assessment system as it applies to income tax and capital gains tax.

Profits here consist of income (business or trading income comprising active income, and investment income comprising passive income) and certain capital gains.

Corporation tax rates is 12.5 percent on trading income (including qualifying foreign dividends paid out of trading profits); 25 percent on all other income, including non-trading income and non-qualifying foreign dividends; and 33 percent on capital gains for four succeeding years.

You should advise Revenue that you are setting up a company once you have registered the company with the Companies Registration Office and received your CRO number. Learn more about starting a business here.

Corruption In Ireland

Corruption is not a serious obstacle for foreign investors operating in Ireland, although companies continue to experience bribery risks at the local level in relation to public procurement and the issuing of building permits.

The Prevention of Corruption Act forbids any individual to give or accept a bribe, including to foreign public officials. A company can be found liable for corrupt acts committed by individuals working on its behalf, and companies registered under the Irish Companies Act can be prosecuted in Ireland for foreign bribery offences.

Facilitation payments are prohibited, and gifts and hospitality are considered illegal if provided ‘corruptly’. The Irish government is currently implementing reforms aimed at increasing administrative transparency, accountability and anti-corruption standards after the national Tribunals of Inquiry found evidence of conflicts of interest, corruption and collusion between politicians and businesspeople throughout Ireland’s public administration.

The Criminal Justice (Corruption) Bill is awaiting enactment; it promises to replace existing laws with a single anti-corruption law, to increase corruption penalties and to require companies to prevent corruption.

January 2015
GAN Integrity Solutions

Source: Business Corruption in Ireland