Step-by-step guide to setting up a business in Ireland
Setting up a business
This page gives a step-by-step guide to starting a business in Ireland. It is important that you meet all the requirements when starting a business to avoid unnecessary delays, charges, and penalties.
If you are not an EU, EEA, UK or Swiss national and you want to open a business in Ireland, you must apply for permission. Read about coming to set up a business in Ireland as a non-EEA, UK or Swiss national.
Step 1: Develop your idea
The Local Enterprise Office (LEO) runs a free Start Your Own Business programme which can help you develop your business idea.
LEO has also published a 10-step-guide to starting your own business (pdf). This guide includes information on business development, assessing the viability of your business idea, the requirements for your business such as staff, and how to write your business plan.
Find out how to get funding to start your own business. You can also get information on business grants below.
Step 2: Write your business plan and choose a business name
When you’re satisfied that your business idea is viable, the next step is developing a business plan. A business plan outlines your company’s goals and how you expect to achieve them. You will need a business plan if you are applying for a loan or a business grant, or if pitching to investors.
Choose a business name
If your company conducts its business under a name that is different to your own name, you must register the business name with the Companies Registration Office (CRO).
Find more information on registering your business name.
Step 3: Choose a legal structure
The legal structure of your business is important as it determines the type of taxes you must pay and your personal liability for your business debts.
Types of legal structures in Ireland include:
- Self-employed or sole trader
- Limited company
Read about deciding on a legal structure for your business, including your tax and legal obligations.
You can also read our guide to becoming self-employed.
Step 4: Understand your tax
All businesses must pay tax. The amount of tax your business must pay depends on its legal structure.
Types of legal structures
As a sole trader, you must pay the following taxes on your profits:
- Income Tax
- Pay-Related Social Insurance (PRSI)
- Universal Social Charge (USC)
If you register as a partnership, each partner must pay income tax, PRSI and USC on their share of the business profits.
If you register as a limited company, you must pay Corporation Tax, Income Tax, PRSI and USC on the company profits.
Read more about deciding on the legal structure of your business.
Other types of tax
Whether you are a sole trader, a partnership, or a limited company, you must charge Value Added Tax (VAT) on the sale of your goods and services.
If you employ staff, you must pay Employers’ PRSI to Revenue for all employees aged 16 and over.
Get more information on paying tax as a limited company, or read about paying tax as a sole trader (including the tax reliefs available). You can also read our page on understanding your tax as a business owner.
Step 5: Register employees
If you employ staff, you must register as an employer with Revenue. You can do this by telling Revenue of your name, address and intention to pay staff.
You must register as an employer before you pay your employees, using the MyEnquiries service on the Revenue Online Service (ROS).
Read more in our page on employing people in your business.
Grants and other supports
There are several government agencies and organisations dedicated to supporting new businesses across Ireland.
- How to get funding
- Getting business training and advice
- Managing credit difficulties
- Websites on setting up a business
- Finding the representative body for your sector
If your business model has a focus on sustainability, you may also want to read about the financial supports available to businesses going green.
If you are starting a business, you may need to consider things like insurance and planning permission.
You can also contact the organisations below for information and advice: