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Expanding a Business In Ireland: Requirements

Expanding is the goal of every business in the long term. A trademark of a successful business is the ability to expand. Opening a business in Ireland is a goal for many companies, but some legalities and processes are part of this which need to be well known first.

If you are considering expanding your business in Ireland, a business immigration lawyer can help you get ahead and understand how the process will work for you. Here at IAS, our team is well-versed in business immigration law. Give us a call today at +353 061 518 02, and our team can help you start your Irish expansion.

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    Why Expand In Ireland?

    Choosing where to expand your business can be hard, but the Irish economy has many benefits that can easily wipe away any doubts you ever had about expanding in this country. Ireland is a major base in Europe for many big companies such as Apple, Twitter, Amazon, TikTok, and more.

    There are five main benefits to doing business in Ireland:

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      Low Corporation Tax

      Ireland has one of the lowest corporation tax regimes in the world. France has the highest of all at 31%, while Ireland is only 12.5%. This is compared to Germany’s 30% and the US’s 27%.

      However, Ireland does not only have a very low corporation tax but is also listed as being the top country in Europe for how easy it is to pay business taxes by PwC.

      Intellectual Property Rights

      Irish laws are one of the best regarding the protection of intellectual property rights. The provisions in the Irish Trade Marks Act of 1996 and the Copyright and Related Rights Act of 2000 are widely regarded as being the best-in-class and much more beneficial than those of many other countries in the EU.

      Even more so, the Irish government has also enabled different tax benefits for companies that are involved in the development, acquisition, and licencing of intellectual property.

      Research & Development

      A five-year research and development strategy in Ireland known as Innovation 2020 is a roadmap for the country to become a global innovation leader. This ensures that companies that are based locally can outperform their competition in markets on an international scale.

      On top of this, the government has also introduced a knowledge development box, meaning that corporation tax is half of its standard rate at 6.25% instead of 12.5% for eligible company profits in research and development.

      Also, Irish companies can have a tax credit of 25% on R&D expenditures that are executed in Ireland.

      Talent Acquisition

      One of the most talented and educated workforces in the world can be found in Ireland. It has a rate of 56.3% of 30- to 34-year-olds holding third-level qualifications, in comparison to the average in the EU, which is 40.7%.

      The Irish government is also taking it very seriously, intending to have one of the best educational systems in Europe. This is thanks to their implementing the National Skills Strategy of 2025 and the Action Plan for Education.

      Brexit Relocation

      While most do not associate Brexit with Ireland, due to the uncertain future of the UK, a vast number of international companies have chosen to set up company in Ireland to continue to benefit from the security of EU markets.

      Companies such as TD Securities, Morgan Stabley, Thomson Reuters, Coinbase, Equilend, and more have moved to Ireland due to Brexit.

      Additionally, British citizens can even work and live in Ireland due to the Common Travel Area arrangement.

      Conducting Business

      While corporation tax is one of the main benefits of having a business in Ireland, there are many others. One of the additional benefits is the ease of opening an entity in Ireland. This process is one of the most streamlined in Europe.

      When registering a company in Ireland, it is not even mandatory to have a business bank account. In many other countries, this is one of the necessary steps to registering a company and can be quite a headache, as it involves a lot of paperwork and travel.

      Ireland allows you to establish a company online without needing to be physically present, sign incorporation documents, or submit papers.

      Ease Of Access To European Markets

      One of the primary reasons that businesses are expanding overseas is to gain access to newer and more lucrative markets. Companies expanding to Ireland get immediate access to the European substantial economic block and one of the grandest markets for global consumption: the EU.

      Organisations that choose to operate in the EU get many benefits, including the following:

      • The ability to export goods to almost any market worldwide
      • Protection from external competition in foreign markets such as Africa and Asia
      • Access to a vast market, ensuring that whatever products or goods a company specialises in will always have a market to sell them in.

      A recent report showed that 46% of respondents found that having access to EU markets was the most competitive benefit of conducting business in Ireland. The strategic location of the country has additional key benefits for business as well. This includes local skills and the low corporate tax rate in the country.

      Legalities Involved In Expanding In Ireland As A Non-Irish Citizen

      While Ireland is still considered to be one of the best locations for businesses in the EU, it is important to acknowledge the changing regulatory landscape and be consistently compliant. There are several aspects of the legalities in Ireland that businesses should be aware of.

      Awareness Of Beneficial Ownership Registration

      A Central Register of Beneficial Owners, or RBO, was established by Ireland in 2019. This was done following the EU Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which requires all member states to hold and obtain all beneficial ownership information of corporate legal entities.

      This holds statutory information about natural persons who are the beneficial controllers or owners of legal and corporate entities. This includes details of the beneficial interests they hold.

      The RBO started to accept filings from legal entities in June 2019, and all of the existing companies had 5 months to submit said information.

      Although there were concerns about GDPR, RBO is still open for filing from entities that have yet to comply with the requirements. Non-compliance with RBO requirements is considered an offence, and companies can be liable for convictions with fines of up to €5,000 or even €500,000.

      PPSN Disclosure Requirements

      PPSN is a Personal Public Service Number and is a unique reference number that is issued by the DSP (Department of Social Protection) to verify a director’s identity and reduce the possibility of ID theft in turn. This was introduced in 2021, and the PPSN requirements applied only to residents of Ireland.

      Yet, since June 2023, all directors of Irish companies have had to provide their PPSN or IPN to the Irish Companies Registration Office when they are filing forms for the company’s incorporation. It’s an annual return or change of directorship, and so on.

      PPSNs and IPNs are not publicly displayed; this means that they are not accessible to third parties in doing so.

      It does allow the CRO to cross-check director information on filings against DSP records to confirm that identity details match. CRO then rejects filings if the identity details don’t match, which can cause filing delays and thus penalties.

      Non-resident Irish company directors need to immediately have their identity verified by filing a Form VIF Declaration to obtain an IPN. Due to this, it is no longer possible in Ireland to run a company as an unidentified or anonymous person.

      How To Expand In Ireland Step By Step

      Overview

      Before you make the steps to expansion, it is key to have done the groundwork to ensure that your business will continue to be successful through expansion. Ireland is an opportune landscape for this, however, it is also important to consider your business plan and study the market.

      Business owners should never be so confident that they envision an ideal transition without considering the possibility of any downfalls.

      Consider Your Business Plan

      A business plan is not only good to give your business a backbone to be run by, but in regards to legal paperwork, this can be very useful. A good business plan can be the basis for success; it should cover forecasts, routes, and objectives. This plan will provide you with clarity on how the business will move from concept to profit.

      Whether you are expanding or proposing a start-up, a business plan is needed. This business plan answers three key questions:

      • What am I trying to achieve?
      • How will I achieve it?
      • When will I achieve this?

      Follow this guide for the ideal business plan:

      1. Create a summary of business essentials; this can be shown to potential investors.
      2. Describe your company, its services or products, why you provide them, and who your market consumers are.
      3. Considerations of market and sales: consider who will buy your product/service and why. How will you get your product/service to buyers?
      4. Management and workforce considerations Will you hire people in Ireland or take existing staff with you?
      5. Consider operations, such as offices, factories, production facilities, management systems, IT, and so on.
      6. Finance costs and forecasts that will help you turn intent into profit.

      Strategy For Entering The Irish Market

      A strategy for market entry is key to blueprinting how you will deliver your services to the market and consumers. This considers competition and customers.

      Consider the following in your market entry strategies:

      • Conduct research into the market in Ireland and identify potential customers, sales leads, locations, and channels.
      • Calculate rough sales volumes and your potential growth to expand a business to Ireland.
      • Identify the best distribution channels.
      • Studying your competitors their products, distribution channels, and services
      • Decide on entry points and niches.
      • Understand the current and potential future political and economic climates.
      • Calculating the cost and risk factors initially.
      • Acknowledge the business’s operational and logistical needs and contextualise them with those of the country.
      • Do a market test to understand how viable, transferrable, and profitable your product will be.
      • Analyse the market.
      • Evaluate the funding and help available to expand your business.
      • Consider opportunities, the environment, and risks.
      • Speak to producers and distributors to get an idea of the pricing of the market.

      Right To Work

      Those who are EEA or Swiss nationals in Ireland can travel to and work in Ireland as an employee or self-employed individual. These individuals do not need permission to establish a business in Ireland, nor do they need a visa to do so.

      Additionally, UK citizens have the right to work in Ireland, including as self-employed individuals.

      Step-By-Step

      Once you have your business plan and market research, you will need to proceed with the rest of your application.

      1. The next step is to choose your location. While this is Ireland, there are many locations in Ireland where you can choose to set up. Dublin is a very popular choice and an ideal location for many businesses starting up. However, it is like any other European capital, making it expensive. Additionally, Limerick, Galway, and Cork are good choices. Consider locations based on logistics, such as amenities, talent, and internet access. Once a location is chosen, register a business address.
      2. Expanding a company means you should already have a company structure, but if you do not, be sure to choose; this could be a PLC (private limited company), a PLC (public limited company), or a partnership.
      3. Now, it is time to file with CRO. This is when you register your company and receive the Certificate of Incorporation. This will need to include company bylaws, details of shared capital, a list of employees and directors, the registered office address, and a description of business activities.
      4. While there is a relaxed structure towards needing a business bank account in Ireland, it is still needed. Residents and non-residents can open bank accounts, but there is due diligence involved. Limited companies will need to obtain a signed mandate from each director. Additionally, the signed Certificate of Incorporation is needed, as are social security forms, proof of economic ties, proof of ID, and sometimes proof of character and legal opinion.
      5. Now it is necessary to obtain a company seal. All Ireland-based businesses need one. This seal is used to stamp documents and prove that these documents have been approved by a board of directors. Another requirement is to keep Statutory Registers and Records, recording all statutory and legal matters regarding the business.
      6. Register for tax. Businesses in Ireland need to pay three taxes, and businesses need to register before they can legally operate. These taxes include corporation tax, value-added tax, and social insurance. Once you have registered, you will automatically be registered for PAYE tax as well as PRSI (Pay Related Social Insurance) contributions. A tax number will also be assigned to allow for end-of-year taxes to be reported per year.

      Documents Required

      When registering for a company branch in Ireland, there will be special requirements to adhere to. Thus, the company will need to provide the following documents:

      • An F12 registration form is for companies in the EU, and an F13 registration form is for companies in non-EU countries.
      • Notarized copies of the parent company’s certificate of incorporation as well as a notarized copy of the articles of association belonging to the parent company.
      • A notarized copy of the parent company’s charter and copies of additional accounting documents, according to regulations 4(2)(i) or 7(2)(j),
      • Appoint a legal representative for the branch office that is being registered in Ireland and provide proof.
      • Appoint an Irish resident who will satisfy the EU Branch Disclosures law demands.

      Speak to our legal team today. They can help your business expand in Ireland. Contact Us

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        Sending Employees To Your New Ireland Branch

        If you are an EEA, Swiss, or UK-based company, your staff will not need a visa or permit to work in your Irish branch, as this is not a requirement.

        However, if you are a non-EEA-based company, employees who are transferring from a different branch to your Irish branch will require an Intra-Company Transfer Employment Permit to do so.

        These permits are in place to aid the transfer of senior management, key personnel, or trainees from overseas (not-EEA) branches of a multinational company to the Irish branch.

        The Irish government recognises that there may be instances in which this employment permit is necessary for the Irish-based branch of a company to grow. Yet, this permit cannot be used to permanently substitute for or fill a vacancy that would otherwise open a job opportunity for the Irish labour market.

        There is a preference for all holders of employment permits to be salaried, employed, and paid under employment contracts in Ireland. This means there are strict criteria, as employees will remain employed by an employer that is foreign-based.

        It is also important to be aware that intra-company transfer employment permits are limited to certain eligible positions. These include:

        • Senior management positions earn at least €40,000 per year.
        • Key personnel positions earn at least €40,000 per year.
        • Personnel who are undergoing a training programme and are earning at least €30,000 per year.

        Additionally, for this to be valid, the employee must have been working for the overseas company for at least 6 months before this employment permit is applied for. However, if the application for this permit is related to training, then the employee must have been working for the employer for at least one month prior.

        IAS Can Help You

        Expanding a business to Ireland can be complex; there are many Irish employment laws and business laws to consider. However, that being said, Ireland is still one of the most sought-after locations for business expansion in the European Union.

        Many multinational corporations seek to expand to Ireland to enter the European market; meanwhile, it is also a popular location for start-ups. However, with much to consider, it is wise to seek advice from an expert immigration lawyer and gain support for your expansion. Whether you need advice on grants, the challenges of registering your business, or the complexities of tax in Ireland, an expert immigration lawyer is here to help.

        Here at the IAS, we are experts in aiding developing and expanding businesses to understand Irish immigration law and tax credits for Irish businesses. We can help. Call us at +353 061 518 025 today and get started.

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