Business entities in Ireland in 2024

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There are two main types of company in Ireland; private companies and public companies. Private companies limited by shares tend to be the business entity of choice for our multi-national Clients’. Public limited companies are typically used where securities are listed or offered to the public. Healy Consultants Group 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 private company limited by shares is the most common form of trading and services entity in Ireland and is generally incorporated as a subsidiary of a non-Irish holding company or as a stand-alone start up company;
    • While the owner(s) or shareholder(s) can be foreign and not required to live in Ireland, at least one of the directors must be ordinarily resident in Ireland or another European Economic Area (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.
    • 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.
  • Designated Activity Companies (DAC)

    A DAC is also a private limited company, but with a defined business function. It can list debts and securities, making it a common form of company type for special purpose vehicles (SPVs) engaged in capital market transactions. The DAC must have at least two directors and a company secretary and the minimum share capital requirement is nominal.

  • 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 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)

    • 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. 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 into a capital/escrow account). The Irish Stock Exchange operates three markets for securities: i) The Main Securities Market (MSM) for the securities of Irish and overseas companies, ii) The Enterprise Securities Market (ESM) for small to mid-sized companies, and iii) The Atlantic Securities Market (ASM) for European and United States listings.
    • 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 Ireland branch office

    • A foreign company can trade directly in Ireland by establishing an Irish branch and registering in Ireland as an “external company”. The external company will be subject to compliance with certain requirements and filing obligations. The Irish branch is not a separate legal entity from the external company that established it. Consequently, the branch does not enjoy separate limited liability status. This means the Irish entity risks flow directly to the parent company; and
    • Non-resident companies that trade through a branch or agency in Ireland are subject to corporation tax on branch profits. Non-resident companies must pay income tax on other Irish-source income, subject to any relief provided by a double tax treaty. There is no withholding tax on the remittance of branch profits to the foreign head office; and
    • Branch establishments entail fewer compliance and financial reporting obligations and branch structures can be more cost-effective to unwind. This needs to be weighed against tax and other considerations such as the lack of ring-fenced liability, market perception and potential issues with the transferability of Irish business operations; and
    • At least one person resident in Ireland must be nominated to act on behalf of the company and to sign Companies Registration Office (CRO) forms and other documentation. A foreign company trading in Ireland through a branch is also required to file its financial statements with the Registrar of Companies (CRO); and
    • A foreign company setting up a branch in Ireland is therefore required to file basic information with the Registrar of Companies. This includes the date of incorporation of the company, the country of incorporation, the address of the company’s registered office, details regarding the directors of the company and the name and address of the person responsible for the branch’s operation. The foreign company’s constitution, certificate of incorporation and audited accounts must also be filed with the Registrar of Companies. On submission of the above, the Registrar will issue a certificate of registration to the branch.
  • The Ireland representative office

    • A foreign company may establish a representative office in Ireland but they should be passive and not sell or engage in business, 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. Consequently, this entity can only engage in i) market research and ii) promoting the business of the parent company; and
    • 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; and
    • 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.
  • 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. Qualifying criteria for eligible companies include i) employment creation and ii) export orientation.
    • 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.
      • 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.
  • Comparison table of the types of companies in Ireland

    Limited liability company Public Limited company Branch Representative Office
    Also known in Ireland as: LTD PLC Branch RO
    How long to set the company up? 2 weeks 3 weeks 3 weeks 3 weeks
    How long to open company bank account? 4 weeks 4 weeks 4 weeks 4 weeks
    Legal liability? Limited Limited Unlimited Unlimited
    Minimum shareholders? 1 7 Parent company Parent company
    Wholly foreign owned? Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Minimum issued capital? €1 €25,000 None None
    File annual tax return? Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Corporate bank account options? AIB Ulster Bank Ireland Ulster Bank Ireland SBC Ireland
    Does our Client need to travel? No No No No
    Resident director/representative required? Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Minimum directors allowed? 1 2 1 1
    Corporate shareholders allowed? Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Individual shareholders allowed? Yes Yes No No
    Resident company secretary required? Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Ireland corporate tax rate on trading income? 12.50% 12.50% 12.50% None
    Ireland corporate tax rate on non-trading income? 25% 25% 25% None
    Annual financial statements required? Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Allowed to issue sales invoices in Ireland? Yes Yes Yes No
    Allowed to sign contracts with Ireland entities? Yes Yes Yes No
    Allowed to import and export goods? Yes Yes Yes No
    Can rent an office in Ireland? Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Can buy Ireland property? Yes Yes Yes No
    Can own equity in other Ireland companies? Yes Yes Yes No
    Total Ireland business setup costs in Yr. 1 €16,580 €10,205 €9,470 €8,310
    Subsequent annual costs (excl. accounting and tax fees) €8,880 €4,945 €3,045 €3,045
    Sample engagement fee invoice View invoice PDF View invoice PDF View invoice PDF View invoice PDF

Frequently asked questions

Recruitment questionnaire: Ireland

    • Message from our Chairman

      Dear candidate,

      In 2021, Healy Consultants Group is increasing our strength of our Ireland team hiring 5 Accountants. We work Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm.

      Since 2003, we assist Clients with subsidiary incorporation in every country in the world, together with legal, accounting and tax and banking support.

      Aidan Healy

      Aidan Healy

      Managing Director

    • Message from our Senior Manager

      Dear candidate,

      If you are interested in applying for a position in a young, dynamic international high-tech e-commerce consulting company, please complete the 5 minute questionnaire below. Within two days thereafter, our HR Department manager will email you to arrange a video call interview. Before your interview, it is wise you are familiar with our business web site.

      Lisa Mchugh Dolan

      Lisa Mchugh Dolan

    • Your contact details

      To help our in-house Human Resource Department communicate with you, I would be grateful if you complete this form:

      1. Your name?*

      2. In which city do you live?

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      4. What is your highest level of education?

      5. Your email address?*

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    • Working with Healy Consultants Group

      To help our in-house Human Resource Department evaluate your ‘fit’ in the organisation, I would be grateful if you complete this form:

      1. What are your monthly salary expectations?*

      2. Are you familiar with our Staff bonus policy (click link)?*

      3. Are you most motivated by results, or relationships, or data?*

      4. How soon can your start work with Healy Consultants Group?*

      5. Are you comfortable reporting to a Manager that is in a foreign office?*

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        Team 0%

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    Jobs at Healy Consultants Group

    • The accounting role

      We are looking to hire 5 senior accountants to support our Ireland team. Read this web page to learn more about the role. In the meantime, please answer the questions below. Thank you:

      *Fill in NA or No if you are not applying for accounting position

      1. Are you interested in learning about accounting and tax practices across multiple different countries?*

      2. Are you interested in learning about legal and compliance practices across multiple different countries?*

      3. Do you enjoy preparing financial statements?*

      4. Do you enjoy preparing corporation tax returns?*

      5. Are you interested in internal audit?*

      6. What accounting software are you familiar with?*

      7. Are you familiar with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)?*

      8. Are you interested in researching and writing local and global tax and accounting centric content for our business website?*

      9. Are you interested in posting updates on Healy Consultants Group social media platforms?*

    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
    • Sales & Business Development Manager
    • Contact me!