Irish-owned businesses account for 90 percent of all businesses in our country. Will you become the next Irish business owner?
Ireland is a very business-friendly state. It forgoes the complicated forms of other countries and the stack of paperwork in favor of a streamlined, electronic process accessible to everyone.
To trade in Ireland, you’ll want to complete the process of registering a business here. Going about the matter depends on whether you’re a sole trader or limited partnership.
Are you getting ready to launch your business? Read this easy guide to learn how to register a company in Ireland.
Are you a one-person business or a freelancer? In Ireland, you’re a sole trader – and you still need to register your business, if only for tax purposes.
Your first stop will be with the Companies Registration Office (An Oifig Um Chlaru Cuideachtai) or CRO.
Because you’re a sole trader – and not a company – all you need to do is register your business name. In fact, even this registration isn’t mandatory, but it is helpful for tax purposes and in the event that you grow your business later.
If you click here, you’ll get to the CRO’s business name registration guide.
To file as an individual, you complete form RBN1 for individuals. You can file online or with a paper application. You must also pay the filing fee: €20 for electronic and €40 for paper filing.
When the CRO receives your application and accepts it, it issues a certificate stating the registration of your business name. The CRO sends the certificates by e-mail within three weeks. Make sure you whitelist the CRO when you apply to make sure your email host doesn’t divert your document to your Spam or Junk folder.
Completing the RBN1 Individual form to register your business name is simple.
You’ll need to note:
You can make changes by writing to the CRO after filing. Changing particulars costs €15.
Are you running your business with at least one other person? You’ll set up your company as a limited partnership.
Forming a limited partnership is slightly more involved than a sole proprietorship. In addition to applying for your name, you’ll need to provide two forms – the LP1 and LP3 – and the correct filing fees to the CRO.
The LP1 is your Application for the registration of a Limited Partnership. You have space to report the essential founding details of your business as well as all details about the partners involved. Remember, a limited partnership has a minimum of two partners and a maximum of 20.
The LP3 form is the Statement of the Capital contributed by Limited Partners form.
You’ll note each partner’s contribution and contact details on the form.
Strangely, the CRO filing fee for the LPI is negligible: €2.50. There’s no filing fee associated with the LP3.
With those filings complete, you’ll then provide the CRO with RBN1A, the form for registering a business name for a partnership. It requires a filing fee of €20 for electronic filing and €40 for paper filing.
Be sure to provide a functional email address and whitelist the CRO because you’ll receive the certificate by email in around three weeks.
As a sole trader, your income tax preparation process is comparable to what you experienced if you were previously Pay As You Earn (PAYE).
Switching over to becoming a sole trader happens on Revenue’s website.
Log into myAccount on Revenue’s eRegistration portal. From here, you’ll use the Manage my Record and Tax Registrations section to register your business. You don’t need to provide any documents. You’ll add the start date of your business (the first date you’ll begin reporting additional income).
Likewise, if you close your business, you can also cancel your current registration from the same portal.
To get started, you’ll need your Personal Public Service Number (PPSN). It’s the same number you provide to Revenue to pay taxes when you worked for an employer.
You should find it on your public services card. Don’t have a public services card yet? Make an appointment to get one because all Irish citizens and residents will need one soon enough.
If you don’t have a card, you can also get your PPSN number from your last tax statements, pay slips, or online directly from Revenue.
To register from VAT, you’ll opt-in through your myAccount portal.
The general rule says that you must register for VAT if you are “an accountable person,” i.e. if you pay taxes. However, not all businesses and services must pay, and if you meet the qualifications for exemption. You don’t need to register.
We recommend speaking to an accountant about the rules to make sure you’re adding VAT to your invoices when necessary.
If you are a new sole trader, you may fall below VAT thresholds, which means you don’t need to pay in. Some of the limits are:
There are different thresholds for those who supply goods, so again, talk to your accountant about filing VAT returns.
To register for tax as a limited partnership (or trust or partnership), you and your tax agent will let revenue know by submitting an application. You can do this when you receive your CRO number, which arrives after you submit your applications.
Note: sole traders do not need the CRO number or certificate to register for tax.
Using an accountant or tax agent is by far the best way to accomplish this task. Revenue may require a paper copy or registration via the online system. If you submit a paper application when you should register online, Revenue will get in touch to tell you to work online only.
Are you the first in your family or town to start a business recently? You might wonder where you can turn for help, particularly when you are still in the earliest stages.
Regardless of the county you live and work in, you will find there are two invaluable resources at your disposal – and one of them is free.
The first place to go is your Local Enterprise Office (LEO), usually located in your county town. LEO offers free support and services to new businesses as well as mentorship programs and networking opportunities.
LEO can answer all your questions about how to register a company in Ireland and how to get a bank account. They’ll also point you in the direction of government grants and loans that may help you get off the ground and do things like building a web presence.
LEO doesn’t provide any formal legal or tax advice, so you’ll need to seek out a professional to receive these. Thus, your second resource is your accountant or tax agent.
Making the jump from PAYE to self-employment means a whole new set of taxes. Your tax agent will make sure all your paperwork is up to scratch. They’ll also provide you with helpful tips to minimize your tax bill through the appropriate deductions.
If you are providing a unique product that you intend to develop for the market, then you’ll also want a lawyer. Protecting your invention will offer a smoother path to business success. Stick to firms with intellectual property experience, and start your path to patenting sooner rather than later.
Ireland has a fantastic business landscape made up largely of SMEs (and micro-businesses). Our history as incredibly skilled craftspeople lives on in today’s small business legacy. You can be a part of it, and getting started is a matter of filling in a few forms.
Are you ready to register a company in Ireland? It only takes a few forms and a filing fee to get all the paperwork you need. Don’t forget, you will also need a website and a good host. So why not work with an Irish provider? Click here to read about the five quality to look for in an Irish website hosting provider.
Do you have questions about launching your business’s digital space? Contact us with any questions.