Setting Up an Irish Company from Europe

  • 2023-01-20

As an EU citizen, or an EEA or Swiss national, you’re entitled to a lot of unique benefits that save you application time, approval time, fees and legal obligations. One of the fundamental rights secured within the Union is the right to free movement, with no need to acquire a visa whether you’re looking to visit, travel through or even live and work in a number of European countries. 

Entrepreneurs based in and around Central Europe can look into a number of blossoming tech and innovation hubs in Europe - Ireland being one of the most popular - if they are keen to invest in or start businesses. There are but a few tax-related and legal processes.

Business Basics

Any EU or EEA national is entitled to come to Ireland to work, even on a self-employed basis. As far as the Baltic states like Lithuania are confirmed that right is secured by law. However, there are still a few requirements to be a legally-recognized business in an EU country. The following needs are why many entrepreneurs turn to immigration lawyers to ensure they don’t break any regional laws or end up with fines.

Specialist solicitors handle many cases like these for both EEA and non-EEA individuals, which also comes in handy if a business can grow internationally in the future, too. A fundamental of setting up a business in Ireland is having a registered office address and at least one director who is a resident of an EEA country. 

Some professional advisors can allow businesses to use their premises as a proxy address for a nominal fee. Immigration solicitors are well-equipped to assist business owners with this. Immigration lawyers in Ireland are an asset to the process of migrating your enterprise into Irish territory and can give you the confidence to focus on your products and services, rather than administrative needs.

Registering an address and a director are two of the foundational pieces of the process. You also need to file a submission to what’s known as the Register of Beneficial Owners within 5 months of incorporating. This Irish governmental body tracks those with interests in the business - for example, those with over 25% stake in its shares - much like Companies House in the UK. 

To be registered with the RBO, individuals must acquire a Personal Public Service Number, or PPSN.

A Matter of Time

You also need to register for and manage your annual returns with the CRO (Companies Registration Office), with the first return due within the first 6 months. As you can see, EU membership certainly smoothes the process of getting into Ireland, however there are no shortcuts to setting up a fully-fledged business that meets trading standards and tax obligations. The penalties for missing annual returns are high and often attract auditing at a minimum. For a new or small business, this disruption can be enough to stifle cash flow and operations to the point of closure on its own.  

Starting a business in Ireland is a privilege for EU members that carries all sorts of benefits, from a highly skilled talent pool to a richly connected transport and logistics infrastructure. It’s just critical to get the basic admin right, much of which will kick in within months of you moving and starting to do business. Ensure you’ve got the right advice and support on side to give your Irish venture the chance it deserves.