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
  • Partnership
  • 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

Sole trader

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.

Limited company

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.

Employers PRSI

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.

Read about:

If your business model has a focus on sustainability, you may also want to read about the financial supports available to businesses going green.

More information

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:

Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland,
East Point Business Park
The Plaza
Dublin 3
D03 E5R6

Tel: 01 727 2000

Companies Registration Office

Bloom House,
Gloucester Place Lower,
Dublin 1,
D01 C8P4

Opening Hours: 10am to 12:30pm and 2:30pm to 4pm, Monday-Friday
Tel: (01) 804 5200
Locall: 0818 452 000
Fax: (01) 804 5222

Workplace Relations Commission - Information and Customer Service

O'Brien Road
R93 E920

Opening Hours: Mon. to Fri. 9.30am to 1pm, 2pm to 5pm
Tel: (059) 917 8990
Locall: 0818 80 80 90
Page edited: 14 August 2023