How to start a business in Ireland - company formation, EU trade for imports & exports, VAT & taxes

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Learn the ins and outs of company formation in one of the world's premier business destinations

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Ireland may be a small country but the economy is fuelled by foreign investment, low corporate tax and a liberal approach to trade. Generous investment incentives complete an attractive package. And after the UK's vote to leave the European Union, no wonder thousands of foreign investors with import and export businesses are turning to Ireland to reap the benefits of EU trade opportunies and the Euro currency.

Ireland is perfectly positioned as a trade bridge between Europe and the United States. In addition, it is a global e-commerce hub and has a strong tech community with startup grants available and a world-class telecommunications network. Above all, it has a particularly beneficial tax environment on all trading income, whether manufacturing or otherwise. If you need advice on tax planning in Ireland we have a team of local specialists who can advise you on setting up your tax efficient business in Ireland.

Here's just some of the reasons businesses are opening companies in Ireland:

  • Most popular format for foreign investors
  • No minimum threshold of share capital
  • A private limited company (LTD) can be run by a sole director as long as they are a resident of a European Economic Area country.

Requirements for setting up a Private Limited Company in Ireland:

  • The company should have at least one director who is a resident of the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • If the directors are resident in a non-EEA country, they will have to pay a non-refundable bond of €1957.50.  This lasts for 2 years and then it needs to be renewed. However tax residents of the EU (regardless of the passport they hold) will NOT have to pay this bond.
  • Shares remain the same as if the company were being set up with Irish directors – a minimum of one share at a cost of €1 is required (this is for a single member company) and then two or more shares for a multiple member company.
  • You do not need to have a nominee director as the bond works as a type of insurance to the government.

What are the main features of a Private Limited Company (LTD)

  • The minimum share capital is €100
  • Minimum of seven shareholders required
  • Audited accounts to be filed annually

What are the main features of a partnership?

  • Available as a general, limited or investment limited partnership
  • General partnerships have unlimited liability
  • Limited partnerships have limited liability
  • Investment limited partnerships are eligible for tax relief

How do investment limited partnerships work?

These partnerships are useful for collective investment companies, having tax transparency which enables investors to secure tax relief. Requirements include:

  • One general partner must be an Irish incorporated company
  • At least two directors must be Irish
  • Minimum share capital of €100,000

What are the main features of a branch?

  • A foreign parent company is responsible for all liabilities of the Irish branch
  • A branch is required to register with the Registrar of Companies
  • A minimum of two directors
  • Accounts to be filed annually

How easy is it to recruit staff in Ireland?

Ireland has a well-educated and motivated workforce. There is a thriving recruitment sector and we will be happy to help if you require advice on any recruitment issues.

What is the regulatory environment like in Ireland?

Ireland’s government has streamlined its regulatory infrastructure. Financial controls are now the responsibility of a single body, the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority. The overall regime is relaxed. There are no general restrictions to foreign ownership, capital and dividends can be freely repatriated plus Ireland has bilateral tax treaties with many countries.

Are there financial incentives available?

The Irish authorities, in coordination with the EU, offer a broad range of incentives for international investors, including the following:

  • Capital grants towards the cost of land, buildings, plant and equipment
  • Employment and training grants to promote job creation
  • Research and development grants

What about banking facilities?

Ireland is emerging as a major international banking centre in its own right. The main national clearing banks offer a full range of services, including foreign exchange and hedging, while many international banks are represented here for commercial lending and foreign exchange facilities. Opening a bank account is the first step you will need to take if you establish a company in Ireland.

For help with opening an Irish business bank account or how to register a business name or address in Ireland or any other issues you may have regarding company incorporation in Ireland including insurance, VAT & tax benefits, please download our free guide below, contact us on 0033 (0)1 53 57 49 10 or email us from our contact page and we’d be delighted to help you.