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Ireland – Self-Employment

Ireland is a popular destination for expats looking to start their own businesses or work as self-employed individuals. The country has a thriving start-up ecosystem, with a supportive business environment and a range of programs and incentives to encourage entrepreneurship. In this article, we will break down how self-employment works for expats in Ireland, provide a detailed step-by-step guide on how to register as self-employed, explain whether you can work as a digital nomad in Ireland, explain how to start a company in Ireland, and explore incentives and programs to encourage expats to become self-employed or set up a company in Ireland.

How Self-Employment Works for Expats in Ireland

In Ireland, expats can work as self-employed individuals and register as sole traders or set up their own companies. Self-employment is a popular option for expats looking for more flexibility and control over their work. However, it is important to be aware of the legal and tax regulations when working as a self-employed individual in Ireland.

How to Register as Self-Employed in Ireland

To register as a self-employed individual in Ireland, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Register for tax: You will need to register for tax with the Revenue Commissioners, Ireland’s tax authority. You can register online through the Revenue Online Service (ROS) or by completing Form TR1 and sending it to your local tax office.

  2. Register as a sole trader: If you are operating as a sole trader, you will need to register with the Companies Registration Office (CRO). You can do this online through the CRO website or by completing Form RBN1 and sending it to the CRO.

  3. Get a business bank account: It is important to keep your personal and business finances separate when working as a self-employed individual. You should open a business bank account to manage your income and expenses.

  4. Keep records: You will need to keep accurate records of your income and expenses for tax purposes. This includes invoices, receipts, and bank statements.

  5. File tax returns: As a self-employed individual, you will need to file tax returns every year. This includes a self-assessment tax return and a VAT return (if applicable).

Can You Work as a Digital Nomad in Ireland?

Yes, you can work as a digital nomad in Ireland. The country has a well-developed technology sector and a range of co-working spaces and networking events for entrepreneurs and remote workers. However, it is important to note that if you are working as a self-employed individual in Ireland, you will need to register for tax and follow the legal and tax regulations.

How to Start a Company in Ireland

To start a company in Ireland, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Choose a company name: You will need to choose a unique name for your company that is not already in use.

  2. Register your company: You can register your company with the Companies Registration Office (CRO) online through the CORE portal or by completing Form A1 and sending it to the CRO.

  3. Appoint directors and a company secretary: You will need to appoint at least one director and a company secretary for your company. Directors are responsible for managing the company, while the company secretary is responsible for ensuring that the company complies with legal and regulatory requirements.

  4. Get a business bank account: You should open a business bank account to manage your company’s finances.

  5. File tax returns: As a company, you will need to file tax returns every year. This includes a corporation tax return, VAT return (if applicable), and payroll taxes.

Incentives or Programs for Expats in Ireland


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There are several incentives and programs to encourage entrepreneurship and attract foreign investment in Ireland. Here are a few examples:

  1. Start-up Refunds for Entrepreneurs (SURE): This program provides a refund of up to 41% of the capital invested in a new business in the first year, subject to certain conditions.

  2. Employment Investment Incentive (EII): This program provides tax relief for investors who invest in qualifying start-ups and SMEs.

  3. Accelerator programs: Ireland has several accelerator programs that provide mentorship, funding, and networking opportunities to start-ups and entrepreneurs. Some examples include NDRC, Startupbootcamp, and Wayra.

  4. Enterprise Ireland: This agency provides funding, support, and advice to Irish companies looking to expand globally. They also offer programs for foreign entrepreneurs and companies looking to set up in Ireland.

  5. Investment in Ireland: The Irish government offers several incentives for foreign companies looking to invest in Ireland, including tax incentives, grants, and access to research and development facilities.

In conclusion, Ireland offers a supportive environment for self-employment and business start-ups, with a range of programs and incentives to encourage entrepreneurship. Expats looking to start their own businesses or work as self-employed individuals in Ireland should be aware of the legal and tax regulations, and take advantage of the resources available to them. With its vibrant start-up ecosystem and strong economy, Ireland is a great destination for expat entrepreneurs.


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