Ireland company registration

DOING BUSINESS IN IRELAND IN 2024

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Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group assists our multi-national Clients with i) company registration and multi-currency corporate bank account opening, ii) legal, accounting and tax considerations, iii) Government grant assistance and iv) securing business premises and employing staff.

Compare different Ireland entities Tax Resident LLC Holding company IFSC LLC PLC LLP Representative office
Best use of company? All products and services Manage global subsidiaries Financial services Public listing Professional services Marketing & research
How soon can you invoice Clients/sign sales contracts? 2 weeks 2 weeks 3 months 3 weeks 3 weeks 3 weeks
How soon can you hire staff? 2 weeks 2 weeks 3 months 3 weeks 3 weeks 3 weeks
How long to supply corporate bank account numbers? 1 month 1 month 1 month 1 month 1 month 1 month
How long to supply company registration? 2 weeks 2 weeks 3 months 3 weeks 3 weeks 3 weeks
How long to supply tax numbers after company registration? 1 week 1 week 1 week 1 week 1 week 1 week
How long to supply VAT numbers after company registration? 5 weeks 5 weeks 5 weeks 5 weeks 5 weeks 5 weeks
Corporate tax rate on annual trading profits? 12.5% 12.5% 12.5% 12.5% 0% 0%
Corporate tax rate on annual non-trading profits? 25% 25% 25% 25% 0% 0%

Expand table

Effective corporate tax rate on net profits of €500,000? 4.5% 0% 4.5% 4.5% 0% 0%
Limited liability entity? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Minimum paid up share capital? (EUR) 1 1 1 25000 1 None
Recommended paid-up capital? 1 1 Depends on License 25000 1 None
Corporate bank account location? Barclays Ireland AIB SCB Bank Bank of Ireland Ulster Bank Ireland HSBC
Can secure trade finance? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
VAT payable on sales to local customers? up to 23% up to 23% No up to 23% up to 23% No sales allowed
Average annual total business set up engagement costs? (EUR) 16,580 8,355 10,905 10,205 10,205 8,310
Average total engagement period? 2 months 2 months 4 months 2 months 2 months 2 months
Accounting and tax considerations Tax Resident LLC Holding company IFSC LLC PLC LLP Representative office
Statutory corporate tax rate on annual trading profits? 12.5% 12.5% 12.5% 12.5% 0% 0%
Statutory corporate tax rate on annual non-trading profits? 25% 25% 25% 25% 0% 0%
Legally corporate tax exempt if properly structured? No No No No Yes No
Staffed office and employees required to secure VAT? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Group HQ tax incentives? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Must file an annual tax return? Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Must file annual audited reports? Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Must appoint an auditor? No No No Yes No No
Access to double taxation treaties? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Company registration Tax Resident LLC Holding company IFSC LLC PLC LLP Representative office
Minimum number of shareholders/partners? 1 1 1 7 2 Parent company
Minimum statutory paid up share capital? (EUR) 1 1 1 25,000 1 None
Minimum number of directors/managers? 1 1 1 2 2 1
Must sign an physical office lease agreement during incorporation? No No No Yes No No
Shelf companies available? Yes Yes Yes No No No
Time to incorporate a new entity? 2 weeks 2 weeks 3 months 3 weeks 3 weeks 3 weeks
Can easily convert to a PLC? Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Can have preference shareholders/partners? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Business considerations Tax Resident LLC Holding company IFSC LLC PLC LLP Representative office
Regulatory license usually required? No No Yes No No No
Can secure EU VAT in any country Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Can secure EORI number for EU import.export? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Good entity for trademark registration? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Can secure an import and export license? Yes Yes Yes Yes No No

Resident director/partner/manager/legal representative required? Yes, EEA representative
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, EEA representative
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
Access to international PSP such as WISE? 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

    • Because Ireland is an English-speaking gateway to European markets, a large number of global and U.S. businesses use Ireland as their EMEA headquarters. The first attraction and perhaps one of the primary reasons for doing business in Ireland is the fact that it is so easy compared to other European countries. Other benefits include:
      • There is free movement of goods and services within the EU and its 500 million plus consumers including i) duty-free importation of goods from other EU countries and ii) goods exported from Ireland are exempt from VAT and customs duties and iii) most categories of services supplied to customers located outside of Ireland are exempt from Irish VAT; and
      • Being the only English-speaking common law jurisdiction in the European Union (EU). Ireland’s legal system has a robust and long-established regime for the domestic enforcement of judgments. Irish judgments can be enforced across EU member states under the Recast Brussels Regulation; and
      • Clear employment laws and access to a young, highly educated, English-speaking workforce; and
      • Ireland has a very stable political system and there are generally no restrictions on foreign investment into Ireland; and
      • There is no exchange control nor currency regulation in Ireland. Consequently, there are no restrictions on the repatriation of earnings, capital, royalties or interest. Repatriation payments can be made in any currency. Under double taxation treaties, there is no Irish withholding tax on overseas payments by an Irish entity, including dividends and interest and and patent royalties; and
      • Ireland has a well-developed and highly sophisticated banking system, providing quality customer service. Irish based banks offer sophisticated financing products including overdraft, lines of credit, term loans, invoice discounting, factoring, leasing, structured finance, letters of credit, commercial paper and bonds; and
      • IDA Ireland is the primary government agency for the promotion of inward investment. It owns industrial parks with purpose-built factories which are ideal for new projects where our Clients’ do not wish to construct their own premises. IDA has partnered with over 1,600 entities to establish and expand their Irish presence; and
      • Part of the IDA incentive packages include state financial assistance in the form of grants including i) capital grants contributing towards the cost of fixed assets such as site purchase and buildings and new equipment and ii) employment grants to companies which will create jobs and iii) training grants to cover the full cost of certain training initiatives including trainees’ wages, travel and subsistence expenses and iv) R&D grants in respect of approved research and development work, including product and process development, feasibility studies and technology acquisitions. Grants are generally paid after the relevant expenditure is incurred. When a claim for a grant payment is received by the IDA, it is assigned to a designated executive who liaises with the client company – to ensure that the grant is paid as quickly and efficiently as possible. The availability and level of grant assistance is largely dictated by the geographical location of the project within Ireland. It is only in exceptional circumstances that grant assistance is available in the Dublin area. The highest levels of grant are available in the border regions with Northern Ireland, the midlands and western regions of Ireland; and
      • Enterprise Ireland is an Irish state agency providing a range of funding and supports available to companies at varying stages of development; and
      • To attract foreign talent to Irish companies, a Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP) provides relief from income tax on the earnings of key employees, who are assigned to work in Ireland from abroad. The relief is a tax deduction up to 30% on Irish employment income exceeding €100,000 and less than €1 million; and
      • Irish employees seconded abroad can benefit from the Foreign Earning Deduction (FED). The FED scheme is designed to assist Irish companies seeking to expand into certain specified relevant countries. A portion of the employment income (up to a maximum of €35,000) will be exempt from Irish tax; and
      • Ireland has a reputation and a proven track record as a successful location for established and high-growth multinational companies. One third of multinationals in Ireland have had operations in the country for over 20 years, illustrating the longevity, resilience and commitment of these companies to Ireland. Home to 9 of the top 10 US technology companies, 9 of the world’s top 10 pharma companies and 20 of the world’s top 25 financial services companies; and
      • Ireland has strict laws protecting patents, trademarks, copyright, registered designs, trade secrets; and
      • The 2023 IMD World Competitiveness Ranking named Ireland the second most competitive economy in the world and the first in economic performance.
    • Ireland has attracted worldwide leaders in areas such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and financial services. Twenty-four out of the twenty-five pharma and biotech companies also have stable operations in Ireland. The country is a magnet for multinationals that enjoy a lot of European accounting and tax benefits including:
      • The corporate tax rate in Ireland is set at 12.5 percent. This low rate is legitimate and fully consistent with European policy and accepted by the European Commission as not representing harmful tax competition; and
      • An Irish holding company disposing of shares in a subsidiary company is exempt from Irish capital gains tax; and
      • There are broad exemptions from Irish withholding tax on interest, royalties and dividends. Generally, no Irish withholding tax obligation will arise where the recipient is located in an overseas tax treaty country or an EU member state; and
      • Ireland has signed comprehensive double tax treaties with 73 countries, including treaties with all EU member states, the US, China, India and all OECD member countries; and
      • Companies that export 75% or more of their output can apply to the Revenue Commissioners for authorisation to receive almost all of their goods and services from Irish and foreign suppliers free from any VAT charge. This reduces administration and the need to get a VAT refund; and
      • Ireland offers a refundable corporation tax credit of 25% for qualifying R&D expenditure undertaken within the EEA. A tax credit is also available for construction or refurbishment work carried out on a building used for qualifying research and development activities. The credit is equivalent to 25% of the qualifying cost of construction or refurbishment and may be claimed in full in the year of expenditure; and
      • When calculating corporation tax, capital expenditure incurred on intangible assets acquired for the purposes of a trade can be offset against taxable income. The definition of intangibles for the purposes of the relief was very widely drafted and includes goodwill directly attributable to intangibles; and
      • There are no company registration taxes (capital duty) and there are broad exemptions from stamp duty on intra-group transfers, reconstructions and mergers and transfers of IP. Ireland does not impose a stamp tax in respect of debt or equity financing; and
      • Group relief may be claimed where one member of a group of companies is entitled to surrender its trading loss to another member of the same group. Group relief is available to Irish companies in respect of trading losses incurred by their non-Irish subsidiary companies that are resident in EU member states and EEA states with which Ireland has a double tax treaty; and
      • Ireland does not levy withholding tax on professional fees paid across border; and
      • Foreign companies in Ireland are exempt from corporation tax in respect of interest received from certain Irish government securities; and
      • The government charges a low corporate tax rate of 6.25 percent for revenue that is tied to a business’s patent or intellectual property; and
      • Ireland is recognised as one of the best countries in the world for ease of paying taxes and regularly tops charts for the most effective EU country in which to pay taxes; and
      • Pre-trading expenditure incurred in the 3 years prior to the commencement of trading is deductible for tax purposes; and
      • Dividends received by an Irish resident company from another Irish resident company are exempt from corporation tax; and
      • Overseas dividends received by an Irish resident company are taxed at 12.5%, if the dividends are paid out of trading profits of an EU company or a tax treaty county. Credit for foreign tax suffered is also available; and
      • Onshore pooling of tax credits is allowed for certain foreign interest, branch profits and dividends. Effectively this means that it will be usually possible to eliminate any Irish tax on the repatriation of profits to Ireland; and
      • Interest paid by an Irish company to a non-Irish resident is exempt from Irish withholding tax when i) the interest is paid by a company in the ordinary course of its trade and ii) paid to a company which is tax resident in an EU member state or iii) paid to a double taxation agreement country; and
    • Over the past decade, substantial efforts were made at a political level to establish Ireland as the preferred location for e-commerce, technology and intellectual property-based industries. Sixteen of the top twenty global tech giants have firms in Ireland. Ireland is committed to a light, flexible, enterprise friendly e-commerce regime. The country adopts a technology neutral approach in its legislation and regulation. Consequently, the country is the global technology hub of choice when it comes to attracting the strategic business activities of ICT companies, earning the reputation for being the heart of ICT in Europe because:
      • Some of the world’s most cutting-edge companies have invested in Ireland including i) 6 of the top 10 companies on Forbes’ 2023 list of The World’s Most Innovative Companies have Irish operations and ii) Ireland is one of the world’s leading Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) locations and iii) Ireland is 12th in the global scientific ranking; and
      • Ireland offers an OECD compliant, modified nexus Knowledge Development Box (KDB) that offers a 6.25% corporation tax rate on profits derived from intellectual property (including patents and copyrighted software) where the R&D takes place in Ireland; and
      • Ireland is a signatory to The International Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris Convention) pursuant to which each convention country must grant, as regards intellectual property rights, the same protection to nationals of all other convention countries as it grants to its own nationals; and
      • The country is also positioning itself to become a world leader in the Internet of Things, Big Data, ICT Skills, Energy Efficiency, Health Innovation and Cloud Computing; and
      • Although Irish patent legislation specifically excludes “computer programs” from patentability, this exclusion is interpreted narrowly. As with the European Patent Convention (see below), the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland (IPOI) will grant patents for inventions requiring the use of software to achieve their purpose; and
      • Ireland has ratified the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Patents can therefore be applied for through the EPC system, the PCT system, or through the IPOI. The EPC system enables applicants to secure patent rights in a number of European countries by way of filing a single application to the European Patent Office. When granted, this application results in a bundle of national patents in the designated countries; and
      • The EU Database Directive on the legal protection of databases was implemented in Ireland. Irish law provides that copyright subsists in original databases, the period of protection lasting until 70 years after the death of the author, regardless of when the work was first lawfully made available to the public; and
      • Ireland has implemented EU Directive on the Legal Protection of Topographies of Semiconductor Products (87/54/EEC), which affords protection to the design and the layout of the elements composing a semi-conductor product.
    • For companies which license out their IP to third parties, Ireland is a quality location to establish an IP holding company to effectively manage and exploit IP. Ireland’s robust legal system protects intellectual property including patents, trademarks, copyright, registered designs, design rights, inventions, domain names, supplementary protection certificates or plant breeders’ rights. Specifically, some IP benefits include:
      • A company licensing its IP out of Ireland enjoys a 12.5 % corporate tax, providing there is relevant substance, management and control in the Irish operation and the royalty income relates to Irish activity. In order to qualify as an Irish IP trading company, an Irish company will need to carry out a number of the following activities i) development of intellectual property and ii) legal protection and contracts and iii) financial management and taxation and iv) administration and billing and v) trademark/brand enhancement and vi) marketing and promotion and vii) licensing and viii) business development; and
      • Companies carrying on a trade can claim tax depreciation on the capital cost of acquiring qualifying intellectual assets over the qualifying life of the asset, subject to a cap of 80% of the cost of the asset for assets acquired. Companies can effectively write capital expenditure off against the income streams that the expenditure generates. Any excess capital allowances can be carried forward indefinitely for set off against future profits; and
      • There is no stamp duty on the transfer of certain IP assets; and
      • An OECD-compliant IP box regime known as the Knowledge Development Box (KDB), which provides for an effective 6.25% rate of corporation tax on Irish resident companies’ profits from qualifying assets including patents, computer programmes and some intellectual property. To qualify, a company must create a usable qualifying asset from qualifying Research & Development activities that earns income. A qualifying asset is an asset created from R&D activities. Examples of these assets include i) a programme for a computer and ii) intellectual property for small companies which is certified by the Controller of Patents as patentable but not patented and iii) an invention protected by a qualifying patent; and
    • Over the past 30 years, Ireland has nurtured a talented workforce. Consequently, the country is ranked first in the world for the flexibility and adaptability and productivity of its employees. Consequently, multi-national companies benefit from:
      • Irish people having a strong work ethic that is reflected in the low rate of employee turnover, well below the European average. Positive demographics help Ireland boast the youngest population in the EU (40% are under the age of 30); and
      • Ireland’s education system is ranked amongst the top ten in the world and the country has one of the highest percentages of population who have completed third level education. The share of 34 year olds in Ireland with a third level qualification is 53.5%, compared to an EU average of 40%; and
      • A conveyor belt of skilled science and technology graduates fuel Ireland’s thriving Internet sector. In turn, the innovation and creativity developed within the sector helps Ireland become an internationally recognised hot bed for skilled multilingual tech talent; and
      • Ireland is implementing a comprehensive and forward-looking National Skills Strategy and Action Plan for Education, which aims to make Irish education and training the best in Europe by 2026; and
      • Ireland combines competitive salaries with a high standard of living, which attracts talent from every corner of the world and makes the country one of the most productive economies in the EU; and
      • The Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2023 provides employees with a legal right to request remote working. The act also transposed the EU directive on work-life balance for parents and carers into Irish law, the aim of which is to increase the participation of women in the labour market and to encourage a more equal sharing of family related leave between men and women. It provides for a right to request flexible working arrangements for caring purposes and provides five days’ statutory unpaid leave for medical care purposes and five paid days’ leave for victims of domestic violence; and
      • Strong and diverse multilingual skills – 17% of Ireland’s workforce is international and over half a million Irish residents speak a foreign language fluently; and
      • EEA, UK and Swiss nationals can work in Ireland without requiring a work permit.
    • Ireland has a tax-exempt regime for regulated investment funds and a regime to facilitate international financial transactions including securitizations. Investment funds within this regime are not subject to Irish tax on income or gains. Furthermore, there is no withholding tax on distributions, redemptions or transfer of units where the investor is i) non-Irish or ii) an exempt Irish investor and iii) the required declaration is in place. Funds are hugely important to the Irish economy, and Ireland is now the largest alternative investment fund center in the world. Ireland administers 40% of the world’s alternative funds. It’s a major fund jurisdiction for U.S. managers wanting easy access to European assets and investors, and a center of excellence for the administration of funds, even when they are domiciled elsewhere. The popular Irish collective asset-management vehicle (ICAV) is a regulated fund with high levels of investor protection. An ICAV is a new and flexible corporate fund structure which is not subject to Irish company law but is governed by bespoke new ICAV legislation. An ICAV operates as a corporate vehicle which is fully exempt from Irish tax on income and profits and may be particularly attractive to US investors as it should be entitled to “check the box” to elect to be a designated entity for US domestic tax purposes. Furthermore, there is also the investment limited partnership (ILP), designed for sophisticated investors in private equity, private credit, real estate, infrastructure, and real assets. Ireland has special tax regimes for regulated investment funds and unregulated securitisation companies that are efficient, clear and certain; and

    Disadvantages of an Irish company

    • Because there are so many multi-national companies in Ireland, there is a shortage of quality employees for smaller companies. Around 90% of Irish SMEs struggle to recruit or retain employees who have the right skills and qualifications, especially in customer-facing and managerial roles; and
    • Ireland is the fifth most expensive economy in the EU, according to the National Competitiveness Council. Elevated costs for labor and property can be a significant hurdle for some businesses. Many SMEs and startups are met with the challenge of limited rental options and high rental prices; and
    • At least one of the directors of an Irish company must be resident in the European Economic Area (EEA), unless the company obtains a bond to the value of €25,000 as security for compliance with Irish tax and company law; and
    • VAT may be payable on the sale of a commercial property, and the buyer usually bears responsibility to discharge that liability. A lease of commercial premises is likely subject to a VAT charge on the rents payable; and
    • An Irish tax resident ‘close company’ is a company under the control of five or fewer shareholders or under the control of its directors. A surcharge of 20% is payable on the undistributed investment and rental income of a close company. Professional services companies are liable to a surcharge of 15% on one half of the undistributed trading income and a surcharge of 20% on the undistributed rental and investment income; and
    • Any company that files a late annual return must submit audited financial statements to the Government; and
    • Ireland imposes an exit tax of 12.5% on companies that transfer assets to another jurisdiction or transfer the entire business to a foreign jurisdiction. Examples include i) a company resident in the EU transfers assets from a permanent establishment in Ireland to its head office or to another permanent establishment in another country or ii) a company resident in the EU transfers its business from a permanent establishment in Ireland to its head office or to another permanent establishment in another country or iii) a company transfers its residence from Ireland to another country. In these circumstances, the company is deemed to have disposed and immediately reacquired its assets/business at market value. Any gain arising as a result will be taxable at 12.5% and can be paid over a five year period;
  • 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.
    • Attractive Jurisdiction for Holding Company:
      • Ireland’s attractive regulatory, tax and legal regimes, combined with an open and accommodating business environment has established the country as a world class location for the headquarters of many large multinationals.

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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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