Business entities in Ireland

Irish business entities are useful for multi-national Clients. The most common company type in Ireland is Private Limited Company (LTD). Healy Consultants Group PLC assists our Clients to i) choose the most suitable entity, ii) agree to the optimum corporate structure, iii) legally minimise local and international tax and iv) agree to the multi-currency corporate bank account location.

This web page helps multi-national Clients understand the myriad of Irish entities available.

  • The Ireland limited liability company (LLC)

    • The Irish LLC is an excellent low tax entity to conduct business within the EU with a VAT number.
    • A tax resident Irish LLC is an excellent holding company that enjoys the benefits of i) 73 double tax treaties, ii) EU directives, iii) dividends received from EU countries that are free of Irish corporation tax, iv) dividends paid to EU resident shareholders that are free of Irish LLC witholding tax, v) sales of subsidiary shares that are exempt from Irish LLC tax, vi) dividend received from non-EU countries that are usually free of corporation tax because of foreign tax credits, vii) minimum thin capitalisation and transfer pricing rules, viii) the exemption of VAT registration because it is a native Irish holding company and ix) the sale and transfer of the shares in the Irish LLC do not suffer local capital gains tax. If properly structured, the entity is usually legally tax exempt.
    • An Irish LLC can be registered with only i) one shareholder, ii) a minimum share capital of €1 and iii) one director.
    • While the owner(s) or shareholder(s) can be foreign and is not required to live in Ireland, at least one director must be ordinarily resident in Ireland or another EEA country unless our Client is willing to deposit a bond of €25,000 with the Irish Business Registrar. Many multi-national Clients ask Aidan Healy to be the nominee professional, passive resident director.
    • An Irish LLC setup in Ireland must also appoint a resident company secretary and have a registered address in Ireland. Healy Consultants Group PLC will supply this professional service.
    • Annually, the Irish entity is required to submit i) a legal annual return to the Companies Registration Office (CRO) and ii) a corporation tax return and unaudited financial statements to the Irish Revenue Authority.
    • If the Irish LLC has a permanent establishment, it is required to register for VAT and submit quarterly government reports.
    • If properly structured, an Irish LLC can be legally tax exempt.
    • Investors looking to register a cryptocurrency trading company prefer to incorporate an LLC due to flexibility.
  • The Irish limited liability partnership (LLP)

    • A non-resident LLP is legally tax exempt. To enjoy this benefit, entity criteria include i) the partners need to reside overseas, ii) no customers and suppliers are based in Ireland and iii) no employees and office are located in Ireland.
    • An LLP setup in Ireland must appoint a minimum of two persons who can either be individuals or corporates. At least one of the partners must be a general partner, subject to unlimited liability for any loss suffered by the partnership, while the other partner must be a limited partner, liable only to the extent of their contributions upon Irish LLP registration.
    • While the partners are not required to live in Ireland, at least one director must be ordinarily resident in Ireland or another EEA country. Many multi-national Clients ask Aidan Healy to be the nominee professional, passive resident partner.
    • While the LLP is a tax transparent entity, not subject to corporate income tax in Ireland, it still must submit an annual return and a tax return to the Irish authorities. They must produce and publish financial statements. Partners must also include the income derived through the partnership in their personal income tax statements.
    • Irish law firms are now able to use an LLP corporate structure to avail of limited liability. By converting to this, the legal partners would not be personally liable for the firm’s debts, liabilities or obligations, meaning their personal assets can’t be seized.
    • Best uses for this entity: The main advantage of an LLP is that the entity is tax transparent. The requirement to have one general partner with full liability can be legally circumvented by appointing an LLC as corporate general partner. Lawyers, surveyors and accountants are some of the professions that LLP was designed for as they have restrictions from their professional associations, such as setting up a limited company.
  • The Ireland special purpose vehicle (Section 110 company)

    • Ireland regulations allow businessmen and corporations to establish special purpose vehicles (SPV) to hold real estate, subsidiaries and other types of Irish and overseas assets. The procedures to do so are to i) register an LLC (or another type of business entity) and ii) apply for SPV status with the Ireland Central Bank.
    • Before granting SPV status, the Central Bank will require evidence that the company i) manages assets worth a minimum of €10 million and ii) is controlled by a majority of Irish residents. If needed, Healy Consultants Group PLC can assist our Clients with nominee services for passive professional resident directors.
    • The main advantage of SPV status is a reduced corporate income tax rate of 12.5% on investment income while other companies are subject to a 25% rate. The company will also have access to Irish double taxation avoidance treaties to reduce international taxation on income distribution to overseas owners.
    • The Ireland SPV is used as a holding vehicle for assets owned by multinationals and high net worth individuals such as financial assets, commodities and plant and machinery.
    • Specifically, for property investments, Ireland provides businessmen with the opportunity to open an investment fund. Furthermore, a real estate investment fund is tax exempted from capital gains, stamp duty and withholding tax remitted locally or overseas.
    • Another type of financial company is the IFSC licensed entity. This business vehicle can offer international financial services, and benefits from the same low corporate tax of 12.5% and no withholding tax on interest payments.
  • The Ireland public limited company (PLC)

    • Irish PLCs require a minimum of i) seven shareholders, ii) two directors (one of whom must be Irish resident) and iii) a minimum issued capital of €25,000 (25% of which must be paid-up before incorporation).
    • Irish PLCs are required to appoint an external auditor and to file audited financial statements every year with the Companies Registrar. Additional requirements apply if they want to issue transferable shares or to get listed on a stock exchange.
    • The Irish PLC is usually the optimal business entity for entrepreneurs who are willing to raise finance to fund a project. It is also the only business vehicle which can be introduced on the Ireland Stock Exchange.
  • The Ireland company limited by guarantee

    • This entity is usually used to start a charity in Ireland, and other types of non-profit businesses.
    • The Irish company limited by guarantee is a business vehicle similar to a company limited by shares. The main difference between the two entities being that promoters do not have to acquire shares and are only required to pay up their guaranteed contribution if the company is wound up.
  • The Ireland branch office

    • Occasionally, multi-national Clients register a branch when they wish to consolidate Irish annual income and expenses with their overseas parent company. If the Irish entity is expected to be a cost centre and have annual losses, the branch results seamlessly flow to the parent company.
    • The Irish branch does not have a separate legal identify but merely an extension of the overseas parent company. Consequently, the branch does not enjoy separate limited liability status. This means the Irish entity risks flow directly to the parent company.
    • Foreign corporations are allowed to register a branch of their company in Ireland, by appointing a resident representative of their group in Ireland and providing the authorities with a business address in Ireland (which can be only a registered address, with or without virtual office services).
    • Like Irish companies, Irish branches of foreign companies are required to submit each year an annual return and their financial statements to the Irish Companies Registrar. They can also be subject to an audit.
  • The Ireland representative office

    • Occasionally, multi-national Clients register an Irish representative office, especially when the entity is not expected to generate revenue. Instead, the purpose of the entity is to establish an Irish permanent establishment including local employees and a physical office address.
    • While Irish regulations allow foreign companies to open a representative office, such business entities are not allowed to pursue production-related or commercial activities in the country. Consequently, this entity can only engage in i) market research and ii) promoting the business of the parent company.
    • The Irish representative office does not have a separate legal identify, but merely an extension of the overseas parent company. Consequently, the representative office does not enjoy separate limited liability status. This means the Irish entity risks direct flow to the parent company.
    • Best uses for this entity: Registering a representative office in Ireland is a good way to venture into this market; conduct a market survey and confirm the profitability of future investment projects in this country.
  • The Ireland free zone company

    Shannon free trade zone company

    • Shannon free zone was launched in 1959 and is the world’s first free trade zone. The zone is 600 acres big, located next to Shannon international airport and near the town of Limerick. The free zone is an attractive site for international distribution in Europe due to exemption from custom duties and access to air and land transport infrastructures. The Shannon free trade zone is an excellent location, situated on the edge of Europe, and an excellent gateway for Europe to the USA.
    • Key sectors that Shannon free trade zone specializes in include i) aviation, ii) information and communications technology, iii) engineering, iv) pharmaceutical, v) medical devices and vi) international services.

    Key benefits offered by Shannon FTZ include:

    • A corporation tax of 12.5% for all trading profits.
    • Goods exported from Shannon to non-EU countries are exempted from custom duties.
    • Goods imported from non-EU countries for processing are also duty-free.
    • No value-added tax on imported goods.
    • Capital grants.

    Other benefits include:

    • Excellent transportation network connection to Ireland’s main cities.
    • Proximity to Shannon airport with daily connections to USA and Asia.
    • Highly skilled and educated workforce.
    • Employment grants.
    • Research and development grants.

    Qualifying criteria for eligible companies include i) employment creation and ii) export orientation.

  • Comparison table of the types of companies in Ireland

     Limited liability companySpecial Purpose VehiclePublic Limited companyLimited Liability PartnershipBranchRepresentative OfficeCompany limited by guarantee
    Also known in Ireland as:LTDSection 110 companyPLCLLPBranchROCompany limited by guarantee
    How long to set the company up?2 weeks3 weeks3 weeks3 weeks3 weeks3 weeks3 weeks
    How long to open company bank account?4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks4 weeks
    Legal liability?LimitedLimitedLimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedLimited
    Minimum shareholders?1172Parent companyParent company1
    Wholly foreign owned?YesYesYesNoYesYesYes
    Minimum issued capital?€1€10 million€25,000€1NoneNoneNone
    File annual tax return?YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
    Corporate bank account options?AIBSCB IrelandUlster Bank IrelandKBC Bank IrelandUlster Bank IrelandSBC IrelandBank of Ireland
    Does our Client need to travel?NoNoNoNoNoNoNo
    Resident director/representative required?YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
    Minimum directors allowed?1122111
    Corporate shareholders allowed?YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
    Individual shareholders allowed?YesYesYesYesNoNoYes
    Resident company secretary required?YesYesYesNoYesYesYes
    Ireland corporate tax rate on trading income?12.50%12.50%12.50%None12.50%None12.50%
    Ireland corporate tax rate on non-trading income?25%12.50%25%None25%None25%
    Annual financial statements required?YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
    Allowed to issue sales invoices in Ireland?YesYesYesYesYesNoYes
    Allowed to sign contracts with Ireland entities?YesYesYesYesYesNoYes
    Allowed to import and export goods?YesYesYesYesYesNoYes
    Can rent an office in Ireland?YesYesYesYesYesYesYes
    Can buy Ireland property?YesYesYesYesYesNoYes
    Can own equity in other Ireland companies?YesYesYesYesYesNoYes
    Total Ireland business setup costs in Yr. 1€8,355€8,355€10,205€10,205€9,470€8,310€8,355
    Subsequent annual costs (excl. accounting and tax fees)€3,045€3,045€4,945€4,045€3,045€3,045€3,045
    Sample engagement fee invoiceView invoice PDFView invoice PDFView invoice PDFView invoice PDFView invoice PDFView invoice PDFView invoice PDF

Frequently asked questions

Contact us

For additional information on our business setup services in Ireland, please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Petar Chakarov, directly:
client relationship officer - Petar
  • Mr. Petar Chakarov
  • Client Engagements Manager
  • Contact me!
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