Setting up a business in Ireland

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What business structures are available in Ireland?

The starting point for any commercial investment decision is the choice of investment vehicle.  The choice of which structure to adopt is an important one for filing and auditing requirements.  There are a number of different business structures operating in the Republic of Ireland, starting with a company.

All public statutory information on Irish companies is kept in the Companies Registration Office (CRO). The CRO’s Information Unit may be contacted between 9:30am – 4:30pm at 00 353 1 804 5200.  The CRO may also be contacted by email at  The different types of business structures available are listed below and see the brochure for more information.


Limited company

The shares of a limited company are owned by its shareholders.

Unlimited company

As opposed to a limited company, an unlimited company has no limit on the liability of the members. 


A partnership is an association of persons business in common

Foreign companies

A foreign company (those incorporated outside of Ireland) may conduct business in Ireland either through a branch or a place of business.

Financial services

More than 250 global financial institutions have established operations in Ireland.  Ireland’s International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Dublin was created by the Irish Government in 1987. It is home to a broad range of global financial services companies such as banks, insurance operations, leasing, fund management, fund administration, securitisation and more recently Islamic financing.  The industry is supported by a sophisticated network of financial advisors such as lawyers, accountants, fund administration and regulatory specialists.  All financial institutions are licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.  Companies can raise funds on the Irish stock exchange provided they meet the criteria required prior to making a public offer.  Listed companies are also required to comply with the listing rules.   See the brochure for more information

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What are my duties as a company director?

The executive powers of a company lie with the directors who are responsible for the day-to-day running of the company.  A director is defined as ‘including any person occupying the position of director by whatever name called’.  All companies must have one secretary and a minimum of two directors, one of whom is required to be an EEA-resident, unless the company holds a bond to the value of €25,400.  Formal qualifications are not required to become a director.  However, certain persons are precluded from becoming directors including a body corporate, an undischarged bankrupt and the auditor of the company.  There are restrictions on the number of directorships a person may hold if they are director of a financial institution as regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. See the brochure for more information

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What are the filing requirements for my company?

All Irish companies and some foreign companies operating within the Republic of Ireland are required to file an annual return.  Depending on the type of company incorporated, accounts may also be required to be filed with the annual return, as outlined in the brochure.

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Does my company require an audit?

The requirement for company financial statements to be audited is determined by their size and nature.  The majority of Irish companies require an audit by independent accountants, unless they are entitled to claim exemption on the basis of size, as discussed in the brochure.  An audit is the process of checking that the way an organisation presents information about its financial position is true and fair.  True and fair means that, in the auditor’s opinion, the company’s financial statements offer a true and fair view of its actual financial position and that any assumptions they include are reasonable. 

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Financial reporting

The financial statements of most Irish companies may be prepared in accordance with either international financial reporting standards (IFRS), as adopted by the EU, or in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in Ireland.  Accounting standards generally accepted in Ireland are those issued by the UK Accounting Standards Board (ASB), which are amended for Irish company law when relevant and published by Chartered Accountants Ireland. 

EU regulation requires all listed EU groups to prepare their consolidated financial statements in accordance with standards and interpretations issued (or adopted) by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) that have been adopted in the EU (EU-adopted IFRS).  Where IFRS accounting is adopted by companies, specific tax legislation is in place to deal with the changes in accounting and the transition adjustments to the accounts on the change to IFRS, such as the tax treatment of leasing, the tax treatment of securitisation companies using a different accounting framework and clarity around disallowance of fair value charges through the income statement for tax purposes.  The tax legislation is supplemented by detailed guidance notes.  In addition, there is on-going consultation with industry groups and the large accountancy practices with a view to identifying areas where additional clarification on the tax issues is required.  The area of taxation is covered in more detail later in the guide.

See the brochure for more information on

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