How to set up a business in Ireland



Starting a business in Ireland

If you are thinking of setting up a business there are a number of issues you need to consider. Different supports and regulations apply, depending on your particular situation. You may be employed, unemployed or someone who is coming from outside Ireland to set up a business.


Legal Structure

Sole trader

It is relatively simple to set up as a sole trader.  If your business fails, your personal assets could be used to pay your creditors. The main legal obligation is that you must register as a self-employed person with Revenue. If you wish to use a business name you must register your business name with the Companies Registration Office (CRO).



This is where 2 or more people agree to run a business in partnership with each other. The partnership agreement should be drawn up by a solicitor. The partners are jointly responsible for running the business and if it fails all partners are jointly responsible for the debt.


Limited company

If you set up your business as a limited company, the business is a separate legal entity. If the company gets into debt, the creditors generally only have a claim on the assets of the company. The company must be registered with the Companies Registration Office (CRO) and the company reports and accounts must be returned to the CRO each year.


Types of employment

Self- employed - The main legal obligation when becoming self-employed is that you must register as a self-employed person with Revenue. You pay tax on the profits from your business and on any other income that you have.

Company Director -  The responsibilities as a director are wide and diverse.  The main duties are laid out by common law and EU Regulations.  You would be registered as a director of a company and pay tax through this method.  Additionally, the company profits will be liable for Corportation tax


If you are starting up a business and decide to recruit staff you must register for PAYE and PRSI with Revenue.



How your business is taxed depends on whether it is incorporated as a company. If it is a company then it is liable for corporation tax. If your business is not incorporated you are considered to be a sole trader and you pay tax under the self-assessment system.



If you feel you have a good business idea and are looking for funding, there are various avenues you pursue.