Ireland company registration

DOING BUSINESS IN IRELAND IN 2021

pay fee by instalmentsbusiness setup without travel

Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group PLC assists our Clients with i) company registration and multi-currency corporate bank account opening, ii) accounting and tax considerations, iii) holding company and double tax treaty access and iv) trading within the EU.

Compare different Ireland entitiesTax Resident LLCTax exempt LLCHolding companyIFSC LLCPLCLLPRepresentative office
Best use of company?All products and servicesAll products and servicesManage global subsidiariesFinancial servicesPublic listingProfessional servicesMarketing & research
How soon can you invoice Clients/sign sales contracts?2 weeks2 weeks2 weeks3 months3 weeks3 weeks3 weeks
How soon can you hire staff?2 weeks2 weeks2 weeks3 months3 weeks3 weeks3 weeks
How long to supply corporate bank account numbers?1 month1 month1 month1 month1 month1 month1 month
How long to supply company registration/tax numbers?2 weeks2 weeks2 weeks3 months3 weeks3 weeks3 weeks
Corporate tax rate on annual trading profits?12.5%0%12.5%12.5%12.5%0%0%
Corporate tax rate on annual non-trading profits?25%25%25%25%25%0%0%

Expand table

Effective corporate tax rate on net profits of €500,000?4.5%0%0%4.5%4.5%0%0%
Limited liability entity?YesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Minimum paid up share capital? (EUR)1111250001None
Recommended paid-up capital?111Depends on License250001None
Corporate bank account location?Barclays IrelandUnicredit IrelandAIBSCB BankBank of IrelandUlster Bank IrelandHSBC
Can secure trade finance?YesYesYesYesYesYesNo
VAT payable on sales to local customers?up to 23%up to 23%up to 23%Noup to 23%up to 23%No sales allowed
Average total business set up engagement costs? (EUR)8,3558,3558,35510,90510,20510,2058,310
Average total engagement period?2 months2 months2 months4 months2 months2 months2 months
Accounting and tax considerationsTax Resident LLCTax exempt LLCHolding companyIFSC LLCPLCLLPRepresentative office
Statutory corporate tax rate on annual trading profits?12.5%0%12.5%12.5%12.5%0%0%
Statutory corporate tax rate on annual non-trading profits?25%25%25%25%25%0%0%
Legally corporate tax exempt if properly structured?NoYesNoNoNoYesNo
Group HQ tax incentives?YesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Must file an annual tax return?YesYesYesYesYesNoYes
Must file annual audited reports?YesYesYesYesYesNoYes
Must appoint an auditor?NoNoNoNoYesNoNo
Access to double taxation treaties?YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Company registrationTax Resident LLCTax exempt LLCHolding companyIFSC LLCPLCLLPRepresentative office
Minimum number of shareholders/partners?111172Parent company
Minimum statutory paid up share capital? (EUR)111125,0001None
Minimum number of directors/managers?1111221
Must sign an physical office lease agreement during incorporation?NoNoNoNoYesNoNo
Shelf companies available?YesYesYesYesNoNoNo
Time to incorporate a new entity?2 weeks2 weeks2 weeks3 months3 weeks3 weeks3 weeks
Can easily convert to a PLC?YesYesYesYesYesNoNo
Can have preference shareholders/partners?YesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Business considerationsTax Resident LLCTax exempt LLCHolding companyIFSC LLCPLCLLPRepresentative office
Regulatory license usually required?NoNoNoYesNoNoNo
Good entity for trademark registration?YesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Can secure an import and export license?YesYesYesYesYesNoNo

Resident director/partner/manager/legal representative required?Yes
Sponsorship by a local citizen required?No
Our Client needs to travel to Ireland for business set up?No
Temporary physical office solutions available?Yes
You need a local resident as bank signatory?No
Can be wholly foreign owned?Yes
Resident director/partner/manager/legal rep. required?Yes
The entity will likely be regulated by?CRO
Foreign non resident director needs a residence visa?No
How soon can you sign a lease agreement?1 week
Withholding tax on payments to foreign shareholders?up to 20%
Monthly VAT reporting to the Government?Yes
Public register of shareholders and directors?Yes
Government approval required for foreign owners?Yes
Corporate documents to be attested/translated?No
Can bid for Government contracts?Yes
Each foreign director needs a personal income tax number?No
Foreign non resident director needs a residence visa?No
Maximum number of staff allowed?None
Maximum number of staff allowed?None
Can secure residence visa for business owner?Yes
Other useful information
What will be included in my customer sales invoice?Available template
This country has signed free trade agreements?72
This country is a member of WIPO/TRIPS?Yes
This country is a member of the ICSID?Yes
Average custom duties suffered?0.6%
Government foreign investment approval required?No
Maximum shareholding for foreigners?100%
Average monthly office rental? (EUR per sq m)50
Minimum statutory monthly salary? (EUR)1,376
Average monthly salary for local skilled employees? (EUR)2,500
Security deposit to be kept with Government?No
EUR deposit interest rate? (1 year average)0.25%
Overseas remittance currency controls?No
Banking considerations
Multi-currency bank accounts available?Yes
Corporate visa debit cards available?Yes
Quality of e-banking platform?Yes
Crowd funding available in this country?Yes

Ireland business setup summary

  • Advantages and disadvantages of Ireland business set up

    Advantages of an Irish company

    Ireland business registration advantage

    1. Ireland is a trading gateway to Europe because:
      • Registering a company in Ireland provides a gateway to the European Economic Area (EEA), the largest consumer market in the world. Ireland’s currency is the Euro. The country is the only English speaking member of the European Union (EU).
      • Ireland has strategic access to the United Kingdom (UK) because it shares a border within the same island. Since the UK left the EU, Ireland is the only country to share a land border with the UK territory.
      • The sale of goods to customers within the EU is VAT-free, but Value Added Tax (VAT) is payable in other member states.
      • An Irish LLC enjoys duty-free goods imports from other EU countries.
      • Irish employees can easily move within the EU to work and live.
    2. Ireland is a low tax country because:
      • The corporation tax rate is 12.5%, the third-lowest in the EEA after Bulgaria and Hungary.
      • It is easy to legally eliminate withholding tax on outgoing overseas funds transfers. The annual corporation tax bill is reduced by up to 25% by the cost of R&D expenditure in the same year.
      • For the 1st year of business, trading profits can be reduced by expenditure incurred in the three years prior to the start of trade. Furthermore, for the first three years, annual income up to €320,000 is legally tax-exempt.
      • Following business registration in Ireland, an Irish LLC is exempt from VAT, if at least 75% of sales turnover arises from the export of goods.
      • There are no withholding taxes for a company formed in Ireland on outbound payments for up to 73 double taxation signatory countries and the EU. Payments include dividends, interests and royalties.
      • If an Irish LLC is properly structured, the following investment income is legally tax exempt: i) subsidiary dividends ii) interest and royalty and patent income and iii) foreign branch profits.
      • Capital gains tax exemption on disposal of international subsidiaries.
      • Trading losses may be i) carried forward indefinitely against future trading profits ii) carried back for one year iii) allocated within Group companies or iv) offset against capital gains tax liabilities.
      • The Irish Tax Authorities welcome email and phone communication from business owners. Tax officers are helpful, providing timely written advance tax rulings and clarifications regarding tax laws.
    3. Large Multinational Corporations (MNCs) doing business in Ireland through a subsidiary enjoy countless benefits including:
      • An effective corporation tax rate of 0%, usually after Group relief. Also, if the Irish company is properly structured, investment income including i) subsidiary dividends ii) interest, royalty and patent income and iii) foreign branch profits are legally tax-exempt.
      • Access to i) low-cost government-owned industrial parks with purpose-built factories and ii) low-cost greenfield sites for industrial usage. Investors can custom-build factories without the need for local planning permission.
      • Excellent Group relief incentives including i) exemption from filing consolidated tax returns and ii) inter-company transfer of trading losses, excess management expenses and excess capital allowances.
      • Stamp duty relief is available for transfers arising from corporate re-organizations and reconstructions.
      • Trading losses may be i) carried forward indefinitely against future trading profits, ii) carried back for one year iii) allocated within Group companies or iv) offset against capital gains tax liabilities.
      • Lastly, these large Irish companies registered as non-residents are likely to benefit as there are no ‘Thin Capitalization rules’ in Ireland.
      • There is limited transfer pricing legislation for large multi-national companies registered in Ireland.
      • A new Irish company registration (LLC) entitles it to receive a cash grants of €10,000 for each staff member hired from the long-term unemployed pool. Free re-training and re-skilling courses are provided for these employees.
      • An Irish LLC receives an annual cash grant of €10,748 for each employee with a disability.
      • The remuneration of part-time employees is paid by the Irish government, not the employer.
    4. Foreign employees relocating for Ireland business setup would enjoy low Irish income tax because:
      • 30% of remuneration more than €75,000 is exempt from income tax.
      • No benefit-in-kind income tax on i) employee family flights home, ii) annual school fees, iii) employee accommodation and subsistence costs and iv) employee stock options.
      • Employees can secure personal income tax relief on investments of up to €150,000 per annum in qualifying companies.
      • One of the key reliefs for employees assigned from foreign countries is the Special Assistance Relief Programme (SARP). This programme provides relief from income tax on part of the income earned by foreign employees who are working in Ireland.
      • An Irish LLC can offset R&D credits against the income tax of senior R&D employees.
      • Employees of a registered company in Ireland are entitled to enjoy an annual income tax reduction of €14,000, if they spend at least 30 days per annum working in an emerging market.
      • Business travellers can work in Ireland for 30 days without suffering income tax.
    5. Multi-national companies starting a business in Ireland enjoy access to a large pool of quality skilled labour because:
      • Labour cost per hour is €30.5, one of the lowest in the EU. Employers are not legally required to provide their employees with pensions or other benefits such as health care.
      • Labour productivity per person in Ireland is the third highest in the EU.
      • Ireland has the youngest population in Europe, 55% under the age of 35. The young workforce has shown an exemplary aptitude for the efficient collection, interpretation and dissemination of research information.
      • Currently, one million people are in full-time education in Ireland. In 2016, approximately 48% of 25 to 34-year olds were third level qualified.
      • Approximately 520,000 Irish residents speak one foreign language including Polish, French, Lithuanian, German, Russian, Spanish and Romanian.
      • EEA nationals and Swiss nationals can work in Ireland without a work permit or visa.
    6. Ireland is one of the technology hubs of Europe because:
      • An Irish incorporated LLC, which qualifies for the OECD compliant knowledge development box, suffers a corporation tax of only 6.25%.
      • Ireland has a pool of highly skilled and talented workers in the fields of science, technology and engineering. As a result, the country is the world’s largest software exporter.
      • Irish companies enjoy an expense deduction for the cost of IP amortised on their annual net profits over a 15-year period.
      • The government offers a portfolio of Business & Technology Parks in strategic locations. Furthermore, the country has a vibrant business angel and venture capital environment.
      • The technology industry in Ireland employs over 37,000 people and generates €35 billion in exports annually.
      • The close link between multi-national companies and Irish universities encourages leading-edge research.
      • They can take advantage of the knowledge development box, and lower their corporate tax.
      • Access to a big pool of highly skilled and English-speaking employees.
      • Opportunities to collaborate with top universities and education centres in the country.
      • Lower cost of living, compared to other major European cities.
    7. Ireland does not impose corporate income tax and capital gains tax on hedge funds. As a result, Ireland is home to over 40% of global hedge funds, which cumulatively account for €2.925 trillion in assets.
    8. A non-resident Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is legally tax exempt of Irish taxes. To enjoy this benefit, it is important to i) have a multi-currency corporate bank account outside of Ireland ii) not a permanent establishment in Ireland and iii) have customers nor suppliers in Ireland.
    9. An Irish LLC is a quality holding company because:
      • Sales of subsidiary shares are exempt from Irish LLC taxes.
      • There are minimal thin capitalisation, Controlled Foreign Company (CFC) and transfer pricing rules.
      • Ireland has a network of 73 double taxation treaties.
      • Dividends received from EU countries are free of Irish corporation tax.
      • Dividends received from non-EU countries are usually free of corporation tax, because of foreign tax credits.
      • Dividends paid to EU resident shareholders are free of Irish LLC withholding tax.
      • A pure Irish holding company does not need to register for VAT.
      • The sale or transfer of the shares in the Irish LLC do not suffer local capital gains tax.
      • Without triggering capital gains tax, it is possible to later ‘migrate’ an Irish tax-resident company to another jurisdiction by changing the location of its central management and control.

    Disadvantages of an Irish company

    1. For an Irish company incorporation, the company is likely to suffer from Irish VAT on imported goods and services, ranging from 0% to 23%. Goods imported into Ireland from outside the EU will suffer customs duties.
    2. A limited company registered in Ireland is also likely to suffer from a 25% corporation tax on its annual net profits arising from passive income including i) local rents, ii) local investment income or iii) income from oil, gas and mineral exploitations. A properly structured Irish LLC receiving international investment income enjoys the lower rate of 12.5%.
    3. A small tax resident Irish LLC suffers a surcharge of 20% on the undistributed investment and rental income. Professional services companies suffer a surcharge of 7.5% on undistributed trading income. Healy Consultants Group PLC helps our Clients legally eliminate this tax.
    4. Unfortunately, Irish parent and subsidiary companies must submit annual financial statements to independent statutory audit, regardless of sales income levels.
    5. Both resident director and company secretary are required for Ireland company incorporation:
      • A company formed in Ireland must either appoint one director that is resident in Ireland or other EEA countries, or deposit a bond of €25,000 with the Irish Business Registrar.
      • The company secretary can either be one of the company’s directors, or a second body corporate. Single-director companies must appoint separate secretaries.
    6. The employer-employee relationship in Ireland is complicated by:
      • An 11.05% mandatory government employer PRSI contribution.
      • The existence of powerful industrial unions.
      • The obligation to pay compensation to employees who are dismissed for reasons of redundancy.
      • Employees frequently force employers to attend Employment Appeals Tribunals regarding unfair dismissals.
      • In addition to income tax, employees of Irish companies suffer a punitive unpopular Universal Social Charge of up to 8% of gross remuneration.
      • The maximum average work week is 48 hours, however, in the collective agreements, the week is often reduced to 39 hours.
      • Also, included in the collective agreements will be the rates of overtime pay. For example, the current registered employment agreement for the construction industry provides for overtime rates of pay of time-and-a-half until midnight Monday to Friday and double time thereafter.
    7. Ireland is vulnerable to external shocks. Brexit has adversely affected trade relations with the UK, with the increase in trade costs and the full effect yet to be seen.
    8. Rising protectionism in the US might also decrease Irish exports drastically, which can then upset investor sentiment in Ireland.
  • Best uses of a local Irish company

    • Ireland is a popular choice for technology-oriented multinational companies that wish to expand their operations in Europe, because:
      • Ireland has the second lowest corporate tax rate in the region;
      • They can take advantage of the knowledge development box, and lower their corporate tax;
      • Access to a big pool of highly skilled and English-speaking employees;
      • Opportunities to collaborate with top universities and education centers in the country;
      • Lower cost of living, when compared to other major European cities;
      • Ireland is the key technology hub in Europe. Some examples of companies that have set up their European headquarters in Ireland include Apple, Facebook, PayPal and Microsoft.

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For additional information on our business registration services in Ireland, please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Petar Chakarov, directly:
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Ireland department of foreign affairs and trade Dublin chamber of commerce Central bank of Ireland Chambers Ireland - in business for business Chartered accountants Ireland Ireland companies registration office IFSC Ireland Immigrant council of Ireland Irish naturalisation and immigration service - department of justice and equality Inter trade Ireland - cross border business development and business support Ireland department of finance