Skip to content
× FreshBooks App Logo
FreshBooks
Official App
Free - Google Play
Get it
You're currently on our Ireland site. Select your regional site here:
8 Min. Read

What Are The Legal Requirements to Start a Business in Ireland?

What Legal Requirements Are Needed to Start a Business? 8 Tips for Startups

Starting a new business is an exciting time and it can be easy to dive right and overlook certain legal requirements. It’s not always as easy as choosing a name, making a product or service and then selling it to customers. And if you don’t know where to start you and your business could end up in trouble.

To help, we have put together a guide for everything you should know when starting your business in Ireland. We’ll cover everything from legal requirements, financial regulations, tax obligations and employment laws to follow. Sorting these details out early means you will have more time to focus on growing your business. 

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

Are There Certain Legal Requirements to Start a Business in Ireland?

Is It Mandatory to Register Your Business in Ireland?

Key Takeaways

Are There Certain Legal Requirements to Start a Business in Ireland? 

Having a great business idea is only the beginning. To be able to operate legally you need to follow a few rules. Here are six tips to help ensure you have everything you need to legally operate a business in Ireland.

1. Decide on a Business Type 

In Ireland, there are a few different business structures that you’re able to choose from to operate your business. It’s most common for a business to get started as a private limited company since they’re separate legal entities from you as a person. That said, there are a few options to choose from:

  • Private Limited Company (LTD) - This is one of the most common choices and it can be a perfect fit for small businesses. There isn’t a minimum share capital threshold and you can have shareholders without being required to hold annual general meetings. 
  • Public Limited Company (PLC) - If you want to expand your business then this can be a great option. These business types have unlimited shareholders but they must contain at least two directors. As well, you must begin business operations with a minimum share capital of 25,000 euros. 
  • Partnerships - This is a much more flexible business structure and it’s a good choice if you’re going into business with a partner, or more than one partner. There are limited liability and tax relief options with a partnership.
  • Sole Trader - This is another fairly common business structure and would work well if you’re the only one that will be operating the business. You make all the decisions, but there’s no legal separation between you and the business, which can sometimes be a risk.

2. Register the Name of Your Business 

After choosing a company structure, the next step is to register the name of your snugness. Try and choose a name that reflects your brand and make sure that it hasn’t already been claimed by another business. The name that you choose also needs to be unique and distinguishable from any other Irish Registered Company. 

As well, it’s important to know that certain words, such as group, insurance, and bank, all require special permission to get used in a business name. And non-descriptive words, such as Ireland, international, and services, can get discounted when you register since they don’t distinguish your business from others. 

Once you decide on a name, you need to file it with the Companies Registration Office (CRO). Your filling needs to include things such as the registered office, any company bylaws and a description of your business activities. 

Once you’ve registered, you will receive a Certificate of Incorporation if that’s the type of business structure you chose. 

3. Register for Taxes with the Revenue Commissioners 

Operating a business in Ireland means that you will have to register for three different taxes before you can begin trading. They are:

  • Value Added Tax (VAT) 
  • Social Insurance
  • Corporation Tax (if you’re a corporation)

Once you’ve registered for the relevant taxes, you’ll automatically get registered for Pay Related Social Insurance and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax. Then you will receive your Tax Identification Number, which will allow you to report all your end of year taxes. 

If your business structure isn’t a corporation, then you will be considered a sole trader and you pay tax under the self-assessment system outlined for self-employed people in Ireland. 

4. Get a Company Seal 

Every business that operates in Ireland is required to obtain a company seal. This is used to stamp certain legal documents. These can include Statutory Records and Registers and it’s important to keep records of any legal matters that relate to your business. 

Making sure all these documents are safe ensures you know where they are should you end up needing them. This helps avoid any headaches if you or your business runs into legal or statutory issues in the future. 

5. Get Business Insurance 

First-time business owners can often overlook the importance of getting business insurance. But, it’s important to have this in case something happens. Explore options for coverage that includes basic things such as theft, fire, and natural disasters.

As well, look into options that also cover product liability and public liability to protect yourself even further. 

6. Open a Business Bank Account 

Operating a business means that you’re going to have money flowing in and out, and opening a business bank account is important. To do this, you’re going to have to provide some documentation based on your business structure. If you’re a sole trader or a partnership, these are the most common documents to have: 

  • Two forms of ID
  • A Valid bank mandate confirming the right authority to open an account
  • Proof of business location 
  • Certificate of business registration 
  • An opening deposit amount

If you’re a limited company you can also expect to have to include your Memorandum and Articles of Association and your Certificate of Incorporation. 

One of the best things you can do beforehand is to check with your bank to confirm what they will need from you. This way you can ensure you have all the necessary documents to open a business bank account. 

7. Consult with a Professional 

Since there can be a lot of moving parts when first starting a business, it can be worth your time to set up an appointment with an accountant or a lawyer to go over your legal obligations. You can ask relevant questions and ensure you’re covered both legally and financially. 

They can also walk you through the necessary steps to take to register for certain things like your business name and taxes so you know you’re doing it properly. It can help avoid any unwanted or unexpected situations in the future that you weren’t prepared for. 

And, consulting with a business professional will also provide some valuable information and insights into everything you’ll need to know for owning and operating a business in Ireland. 

Is It Mandatory to Register Your Business in Ireland? 

It’s all going to depend on the type of business structure your business is operating under. For example, you don’t need to register a business name in Ireland if you’re operating as a sole trader and using your own name. However, you will still need to register for income tax as a self-employed sole trader. 

If you’re a limited corporation you will have to file with the Companies Registration Office (CRO). When you do this, you must include details such as your registered office, any company bylaws and a description of your business activities. 

Key Takeaways 

Starting a new business is exciting but there are still certain legal responsibilities you’ll have to follow. The first thing you should do is determine the business structure your business will have.

From there, you can register your business name, register for certain taxes and complete any of the other necessary requirements. 

The six tips outlined in this guide will give you a good start to legally operate a business in Ireland. For extra assistance, don’t hesitate to discuss specific questions and details with a lawyer or an attorney. And if you still have questions or need more clarification, be sure to check the Companies Registration Office and Revenue Commissioners websites. 


Did you enjoy reading this guide? Head over to our resource hub for more great content!


RELATED ARTICLES