We provide valuable advice to individuals who are Starting a Business.

This advice is tailored to the particular business venture but would include the following:

  • Advice on the best structure for your business (Sole Trader Or Limited Company).
  • Assistance with forming the company, if required.
  • Registration of a business name, if required.
  • Registration for all appropriate taxes.
  • Advice on how VAT, PAYE, RCT, Income Tax and Corporation Tax apply to your business.
  • Preparation of Business Plans and Cashflow Statements, if required.
  • Recommendations of and training in accounting software for your business or alternatively, assistance with setting up appropriate excel spreadsheets to record your business transactions.
  • Assistance in making a Business Expansion Scheme (BES) application to Revenue, if required.

If you are thinking of Starting a Business in Ireland 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.

Unemployed people

If you are unemployed you may be eligible for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) or the Short-Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA). If you are starting a business, you also may get extra supports under these schemes, for example grants for training, market research, business plans and access to loans to buy equipment.

Foreign nationals

Nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland do not need permission to set up a business in Ireland. In general non-EEA nationals must get permission from the Minister for Justice and Equality in order to set up a business in Ireland. There are also a number of other steps required if you wish to come to Ireland to set up a business.

Legal structures

You can set up a business as a sole trader, as a partnership or as a limited company. See our section on the decision here. The type of structure you choose depends on the kind of business you are running, with whom you will be doing business and your attitude to risk. We can advise you on what structure will suit your business best.

Sole trader: It is relatively simple to set up as a sole trader but if your business fails, your personal assets could be used to pay your creditors. Your main legal obligation is that you must register as a self-employed person with the Revenue Commissioners (see ‘Tax and PRSI’ below). If you wish to use a business name you must register your business name with the Companies Registration Office.

Partnership: 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.

Business plan and funding

City and County Enterprise Boards provide supports including grants to local businesses that are starting up or in development. You can find information about training and financial supports on their website.

As part of the Jobs Initiative (pdf) announced on 10 May 2011, there is to be a partial loan guarantee scheme for companies as well as a micro-finance fund to provide small loans to start-up businesses.

Tax and PRSI

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 taxNew companies may get tax relief on the first 3 years of corporation tax. From 2011 the value of the relief will be linked to the amount of employers’ PRSI paid by a company in an accounting period subject to a maximum of €5,000 per employee.

If your business is not incorporated you are considered to be a sole trader and you pay tax under the self-assessment system. Further information is available in the Revenue booklet IT48 Starting in Business (pdf).

If you are a subcontractor working in construction, forestry or meat processing you may apply for a C2 certificate.This allows you to receive payments from a contractor without Relevant Contracts Tax (RCT) being deducted.

PRSI: If you are self-employed you pay Class S social insurance contributions. There is a guide PRSI for the Self-Employed-SW74 on the website of the Department of Social Protection. If you are an employer and you create new and additional jobs in 2010 and 2011 you may qualify for an exemption of employer’s PRSI for those jobs.

Employment rights and employers’ obligations

If you are starting up a business and decide to recruit staff you must register for PAYE and PRSI with the Revenue Commissioners. You need to know your obligations and duties as an employer and what are the rights of employees. There is a guide for employers who are starting a new business with paid employees on the website of the National Employment Rights Authority.


Need more information? Why not get in touch and we can help you get your business off the ground!