Guideline on Setting Up a Company in Ireland


Setting up a company in Ireland

Welcome to our guide on starting a company in Ireland. It’s for EU, EEA, UK, Swiss, and non-EEA nationals. We’ll take you through each step from your business idea to taxes and legal structures. This guide ensures a smooth setup. Let’s begin!

Key Takeaways:

  • Develop your business idea through resources like the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and their Start Your Own Business programme.
  • Write a comprehensive business plan and register your business name with the Companies Registration Office (CRO).
  • Choose the legal structure that suits your needs, knowing that it affects taxes and personal liability.
  • Understand your tax obligations based on the legal structure you choose, and comply with income tax, PRSI, USC, Corporation Tax, VAT, and Employers’ PRSI.
  • Register as an employer if you plan to hire staff and fulfill your employment tax obligations.

Developing Your Business Idea

When starting a company in Ireland, your first step is creating a strong business idea. This is the key part of your whole plan. The Local Enterprise Office’s (LEO) Start Your Own Business programme can help. It gives useful advice and support. This way, you can make sure your business idea is likely to succeed.

The LEO’s Start Your Own Business programme has ten steps. It guides you on starting a business. It covers things like building your idea, what staff you need, and checking if your idea will work. This programme helps you turn your starting idea into a full business plan. It shows how important a detailed business plan is. This plan is like a map for your future business moves.

This programme covers lots of topics, like making your business grow, who your customers are, and how to look after your money. You’ll also learn about the best ways to market your product and important legal matters. This full approach makes sure every part of your business idea is solid. It helps you prepare for success in the business world.

The LEO’s Start Your Own Business programme is great for people who want to start a business. It gives expert help all the way through. Taking part in this programme will help you refine your idea and build a strong business plan. This can make your business more likely to do well in Ireland.

Writing Your Business Plan and Choosing a Business Name

Having an idea for your business is just the start. Next comes the solid business plan. It outlines your goals and how you’ll reach them. A must-have, it helps when looking for funding, grants, or selling the idea to investors.

A really good business plan shows you know your stuff. It covers industry details, market research, and strategies. This roadmap leads your business to growth and success.

When writing your plan, make sure to include essential sections:

1. Executive Summary

This part gives an overview. It includes your business’s mission, who you’re aiming at, and key financial points.

2. Company Description

Talk about your business’s setup and what it offers. Include where it’s located and its legal status.

3. Market Analysis

Do thorough market research. Understand your customers, the competition, trends, and areas for growth.

4. Organization and Management

Explain your company’s structure. Introduce key team members and what they’ll do.

5. Sales and Marketing Strategies

Highlight how you’ll sell and promote. This part covers pricing, where you’ll sell, ads, and how to attract customers.

6. Financial Projections

This is about your financial future. Include sales, profit, and how money will move in and out of the business.

7. Funding Request

If you need money, state how much and what it’s for. Also mention what lenders or investors will get back.

Picking a good business name is vital too. Make sure it fits your brand and is memorable. Remember to check if it’s already in use and if the website address is free. You’ll have to register the name with the Companies Registration Office (CRO).

With a detailed business plan and a strong name, you set a great base for your business’s future.

Choosing a Legal Structure

When you start a business, picking the right legal structure is key. It affects your taxes and how much you’re responsible for business debts. There are a few in Ireland: self-employed/sole trader, partnership, and limited company. Each one has its tax rules and benefits, so choose wisely.

Self-Employed/Sole Trader

Running a business on your own is what self-employed means. You deal with everything yourself and could risk personal assets if your business has debts.

For taxes, you pay income tax on what you make. Plus, you pay towards Pay-Related Social Insurance (PRSI) and Universal Social Charge (USC).


A partnership involves working with someone else or a few others to make and split profits. But, like being a sole trader, you’re still responsible for everything the business owes.

Each partner pays their own income tax for their share of profits. And they also put money towards PRSI and USC.

Limited Company

In a limited company, the business is separate from its owners. This means your personal stuff is usually safe if the company has debts.

The company pays Corporation Tax on profits. As a director, you pay Income Tax and charges on your pay from the business.

Picking the best legal structure for you needs thinking about tax effects and how much risk you want. Talking to a legal or financial expert can help a lot.

Understanding Your Tax Obligations

All businesses in Ireland must meet their tax duties. The type of business structure you have affects these obligations. Knowing and following these tax rules is key to staying legal and handling your money well. For each kind of business structure, specific tax obligations exist. Let’s look at what these are.

Sole Trader

  • Income Tax: If you’re a sole trader, you pay Income Tax on your business’s profits.
  • Pay-Related Social Insurance (PRSI): You also contribute to PRSI for social benefits.
  • Universal Social Charge (USC): USC tax goes towards public services.


  • In a partnership, each partner pays their own Income Tax, PRSI, and USC on their share of the profits.

Limited Company

  • Corporation Tax: Limited companies pay Corporation Tax on their profits.
  • Income Tax: The directors pay Income Tax on their salaries and extra earnings.
  • PRSI and USC: They also have to pay PRSI and USC, like sole traders do.

All businesses, no matter the structure, must add Value Added Tax (VAT) on their sales. VAT rates change depending on what you’re selling. And if a business has staff over 16, they also pay Employers’ PRSI.

It’s vital to understand and meet your tax obligations in Ireland. By knowing what the law requires, you can keep your business financially sound and operating legally.

Legal Structure Tax Obligations
Sole Trader – Income Tax
Partnership – Income Tax (each partner)
– PRSI (each partner)
– USC (each partner)
Limited Company – Corporation Tax
– Income Tax (directors)
– PRSI (directors)
– USC (directors)
All Businesses – VAT
– Employers’ PRSI

Registering Employees

If you’re hiring staff, it’s very important to register as an employer with Revenue first. Doing this helps you meet your tax duties and report as required.

To register, use the MyEnquiries service on the Revenue Online Service (ROS). Just give your name, address, and tell them you plan to hire. Then, you’re set as an employer.

Getting your workers registered is key for following the law and starting a smooth hiring process.

You’ll also need to pay Employers’ PRSI. This payment helps your workers access social welfare benefits.

Registering Employees – Step by Step

  1. Go to the Revenue Online Service (ROS) and click on MyEnquiries.
  2. Fill in your details such as name and address.
  3. State that you plan to hire staff and finish the registration.

By getting your employees registered, you show you’re serious about being a good employer. This ensures they are treated fairly and helps you with tax rules and work laws.

Benefits of Registering Employees Requirements
Compliance with employment tax obligations Registration with Revenue as an employer
Access to Employee PRSI benefits and social welfare support Payment of Employers’ PRSI
Legal compliance with Employment Rights legislation Registration through MyEnquiries service

Registering your employees means you’re doing your part as a good employer. It makes for a workplace that focuses on treating everyone rightly and by the rules.

Grants and Other Supports

Starting a new business in Ireland comes with help from many places. You’ll find government agencies and groups offering grants and advice. If your business cares about the earth, there are special funds for you too.

Government Agencies

Irish government bodies are key for new businesses. They fund a variety of projects, from new inventions to creating jobs. Notable agencies include Enterprise Ireland, Local Enterprise Offices, and Innovate UK.

Financial Supports

Besides grants, new ventures can access low-interest loans and tax breaks. This financial help is crucial for buying gear and hiring teams. It’s all about giving your ideas the boost they need.

Sustainability Supports

Are you into making the world greener? There are funds just for sustainable businesses. These can support your eco-friendly goals, from saving energy to making green products.

Insurance and Planning Permission

Don’t forget about insurance and planning rules. Depending on what your business does, you might need special insurance. And if you’re changing a building, you’ll need the right permissions.

Available Grants and Supports

Grant/Support Description Eligibility Criteria
Research and Development Grants Funding for businesses involved in cutting-edge science and innovation. For companies focused on research and development.
Start-up Loans These are special loans to kickstart new businesses. For new companies with solid business plans.
Sustainability Grants Financial help for companies leading the way in sustainability. Open to companies serious about being sustainable.

These grants and supports are just some of what Ireland offers. It’s important to look into what fits your business best. Using these resources can really help you succeed and grow.

Stakeholders and Share Capital

When starting a company in Ireland, think about who’s involved and the share capital needed. Key players are a director, a company secretary, and shareholders. The director runs the show for the shareholders. The secretary checks that everything’s legally sound.

You need an address in Ireland to register your company. This address will be your company’s official contact point.

Finding out the share capital is a big deal. Share capital shows who owns the company. Shareholders can put in cash or assets. Think hard about how much and what type of share capital.

Picking a standout name for your company is key too. Your name must follow rules set by the Companies Registration Office (CRO). This makes sure your name is unique and won’t step on anyone else’s toes.


Stakeholders are people or groups interested in the company’s achievements. In Ireland, key roles include:

  • Director: They run the company, making choices based on what’s best for the investors. Directors have legal and ethical duties.
  • Company Secretary: This person looks after legal stuff and keeps important records. They help the company follow the rules.
  • Shareholders: These are the people or groups that own parts of the company. They get a say in the company’s direction and a share of its gains.

Share Capital

Share capital is what shareholders put in for their shares. It shows how much of the company they own. It also affects how profits get shared out.

You can have different types of shares, each with its own perks. Types include ordinary, preference, and redeemable shares.

Decide on your share capital carefully when starting your business. Think about your starting funds, future money needs, and who will own what.

Unique Company Name

Choosing a unique name for your company is crucial. Follow the CRO’s rules to avoid naming issues.

Before you decide on a name, do a thorough check for duplicates. The CRO has a name search tool for this.

If your chosen name is clear, move quickly to reserve it online with the CRO. This protection lasts for 28 days.

Requirement Description
Stakeholders Director, company secretary, and shareholders are essential stakeholders in the company.
Address in Ireland An address within Ireland is required as the company’s registered office.
Share Capital Share capital represents the ownership of the company and can impact distribution of profits.
Unique Company Name The company name must comply with CRO guidelines and should be unique.

Form A1 and Constitution

When you’ve figured out your stakeholders and share capital, it’s time to create Form A1 and a constitution for your company. These papers are key and need to be handed to the Companies Registration Office (CRO) in Ireland for the law.

Form A1 is the form for registering your Irish company. It asks for key details like the company’s name, its address, who the directors and secretary are, and the share capital. Filling and sending Form A1 is very important when setting up your company.

The constitution, or memorandum and articles of association, lays down the company’s rules, who can do what, and what everyone should do. It covers how the company runs, its internal rules, and more. Crafting a detailed and legally sound constitution that meets your company’s needs is a must.

Accuracy and meeting all legal needs are vital when making Form A1 and the constitution. Errors could slow down registration or stop it entirely. Getting advice from a legal expert or using online tools can smoothen things out.

Setting up costs can change based on your situation. Remember to plan for legal advice, fees for registering, and any other help you might need. This ensures a hassle-free and lawful registration.

By carefully making Form A1 and the constitution, and meeting all rules, your company will be set to go in Ireland.

Annual Accounting Requirements

Once your company is up and running, you’ll need to look after some yearly accounting tasks. These are vital to follow the law and keep your business’s finances in check.

You’ll have to make and send financial statements to the Companies Registration Office (CRO) each year. These documents show how your business did financially. They include your earnings, spending, and what you own and owe.

Getting your financial statements in on time shows you’re serious about being clear and responsible. This also helps people like investors and those who might lend you money see if your business is doing well financially.

Key Components of Financial Statements:

  • Balance Sheet: This shows what your company owns, owes, and the value for its owners at one moment. It gives a quick look at your financial health.
  • Income Statement: Also called the profit and loss statement, this paper shows your money coming in, going out, and what’s left over, in a set time. It highlights how profitable your business is.
  • Cash Flow Statement: This statement keeps track of the cash coming and going in your business over a period. It’s a measure of how well you handle money.
  • Notes to the Financial Statements: These notes explain more about your numbers. They detail things like how you count expenses, possible future costs, and big events.

Accuracy is key when putting together your financial statements. Mistakes might lead to fines and can make people doubt how you handle your company’s money.

Deadline for Filing Financial Statements:

You must send your financial statements to the CRO within nine months of the end of your business’s financial year. This keeps you clear of any late fees and shows you are on top of your business’s financial health.

It’s smart to start putting your financial statements together early, so you have time to double-check them. This way, you can fix any errors before the deadline hits.

Legal Compliance and Professional Assistance:

It’s a good idea to get help from an accountant or a finance expert to make sure you’re doing everything right, according to the law. They can also give you advice on your business’s financial progress.

As well as the financial statements, you might have to do other yearly accounting tasks and keep proper financial records. Staying on top of what’s required by law can keep your business away from fines and legal troubles.

Annual Accounting Requirements Deadline
Prepare and file financial statements Within nine months from the end of your financial year
File an annual return Within 28 days of your annual return date
Maintain proper accounting records Ongoing

Meeting your yearly accounting needs not only keeps you legal but also helps in making wise business choices with good financial information. It’s a crucial part of keeping your business strong and lasting.

Benefits of Limited Liability

One key benefit of forming a company in Ireland is limited liability. This feature protects directors and shareholders. It keeps their personal assets safe from the company’s debts.

In contrast to sole traders, liabilities of a business fall on the business itself. Directors and shareholders are only liable for their investment. This shields their personal belongings, like homes or savings, from business debts.

A limited company setup is great for protecting personal wealth. It lowers the financial risks tied to the business. This is especially useful for risky sectors or those facing legal issues.

Moreover, limited liability boosts a company’s image. It makes suppliers, investors, and partners more willing to work with them. This trust can open doors for business growth, expansion, and easier access to funds.

In conclusion, limited liability in a company structure offers safety to entrepreneurs. It ensures their personal assets aren’t at risk from business issues. This way, they can work on their business without constant worries.

Key Steps to Set Up a Limited Company in Ireland

To set up a limited company in Ireland, you have to follow some important steps. These steps are key for its success. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Appointing Directors: Pick people to be the company’s directors. Directors are in charge of running the company and making big decisions.
  2. Choosing a Company Secretary: Decide on a company secretary. They will take care of paperwork and make sure the company follows all rules.
  3. Determining Beneficial Owners: You must know who the company’s beneficial owners are. These are the ones who really own or control the company.
  4. Registering for Tax: Sign the company up for tax with the Irish Revenue Commissioners. You’ll get a tax number and sort out your tax duties.
  5. Opening an Irish Business Bank Account: Set up a business bank account for the company. This account will handle all the money and transactions for the company.
  6. Filing Annual Returns: Every year, you have to send in your company’s details to the Companies Registration Office (CRO). This info includes names of directors, shareholders, and financial records.
  7. Completing Directors’ Tax Returns: Each director needs to do their own tax return. They report their income and any taxes they owe.

Following these critical steps will get your company ready to run in Ireland. Professional guidance is crucial. It helps you meet all legal standards and enjoy the benefits of being a limited company.

Key Steps Description
Appointing Directors Choose individuals to manage the company
Choosing a Company Secretary Select an individual to handle administrative tasks
Determining Beneficial Owners Identify individuals who own or control the company
Registering for Tax Obtain a tax registration number and fulfill tax obligations
Opening an Irish Business Bank Account Open a dedicated bank account for company transactions
Filing Annual Returns Submit annual returns to the Companies Registration Office
Completing Directors’ Tax Returns File individual tax returns for directors


Starting a company in Ireland means you have to know the law and money stuff. We’ve covered all the steps needed. This includes thinking up a business, meeting yearly money tasks, and protecting the business.

To make it work, just follow these steps and obey the rules. This way, setting up your company in Ireland can be smooth.


Q: What is the first step in setting up a company in Ireland?

A: Start by working on your business idea.

Q: How can the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) help in developing my business idea?

A: They offer a great program. It’s called Start Your Own Business. It’s free and will help you make your idea better.

Q: How important is a business plan in setting up a company?

A: A good business plan is key. It helps you get funds, like loans, or impress investors.

Q: Do I need to register my business name?

A: Yes. If your business name is not your own, it must be registered with the CRO.

Q: What are the different legal structures to consider when setting up a company?

A: You can choose to be a sole trader, be in a partnership, or form a limited company.

Q: What taxes do I need to pay as a sole trader?

A: Sole traders pay Income Tax, PRSI, USC, and also VAT if they sell goods or services.

Q: How do I register as an employer?

A: To register as an employer, use Revenue’s MyEnquiries on ROS.

Q: Are there grants and supports available for new businesses in Ireland?

A: Yes. Many groups and the government offer help like grants and advice for new businesses.

Q: What stakeholders do I need to have when setting up a company?

A: At the least, you need a director, a company secretary, and shareholders.

Q: What documents do I need to prepare and submit to the Companies Registration Office (CRO)?

A: You’ll need Form A1 and your company’s constitution. They must be sent to CRO.

Q: What are the annual accounting requirements for a limited company in Ireland?

A: Each year, you must file financial statements with the CRO on time.

Q: What is the advantage of limited liability in a limited company?

A: It protects the personal assets of directors and shareholders. They are not fully responsible for business debts.

Q: What are the key steps to set up a limited company in Ireland?

A: Steps include choosing directors, picking a secretary, and registering for taxes. You also need a business account and must file tax and annual returns.

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Final thoughts about Ireland

Thank you for reading this article. You can continue to explore our articles about Ireland in our Blog or access some other articles about Irish Education and Housing, how to start a Business and Statistics, Finance and Travel Business. If you need services related to company formations, nominee services, banking or payment processing services, please get in touch, and we will introduce you to our trusted partners.

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