Ireland As A Business Location - Attracting Great Business

Author:Mr David O'Donnell
Profession:Mason Hayes & Curran


Ireland is a leading hub for Foreign Direct and Inward Investment. Corporations such as Apple, PayPal, Facebook and Google have located their EMEA operations in Ireland along with major pharmaceutical and medical device companies like Baxter Healthcare, Dow Chemicals and Pfizer. These companies have recognised the attractiveness of the country as a base to serve the European market of over 490 million consumers, one of the largest markets in the world.

Over 1,000 companies have set up in Ireland in a wide range of sectors as diverse as IT, cloud computing, social media, software development, financial services, life sciences and international services. Ireland provides investors with high returns through a combination of one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world of 12.5%, structured tax reliefs for research and development, a highly skilled and flexible workforce and a competitive cost economy.

Last year a large number of new multinationals and emerging companies located here or enhanced their R&D facilities. Ireland has proven itself through several decades as a profitable location for corporates establishing in Europe. The key advantages are:

Pro-enterprise culture Common law system, similar in approach to UK, familiar to US multinationals Low corporate tax of 12.5% Exemption from corporation tax on dividends paid to other Irish corporates Tax reliefs and enhanced tax credit system for Research and Development Highly skilled, English-speaking workforce Member of the EU and Euro currency zone providing easy access to EU internal market Only English speaking Euro currency zone member Easily accessible from mainland Europe and North America Business structures in Ireland

Companies and branches

The main vehicles for setting up a business in Ireland are:

an Irish-incorporated private limited liability corporation ('private company'); or an Irish-registered branch of a non-Irish corporation. Incorporating a new Irish corporation or registering a branch of a non-Irish corporation is a quick and efficient procedure. Our company secretarial department provides a range of corporate secretarial, registration and administrative services to support new companies.

Basics of Irish companies

Financing of Irish companies can be by way of debt, subscription for shares, and, in some circumstances, contribution of capital without the issue of shares. At present, there are no thin capitalisation rules in Ireland and therefore an Irish corporation can be financed with a minimum amount of issued shares. Most enterprises establishing in Ireland choose an Irish tax resident private company with limited liability which has a share capital, although other structures are available and may suit particular purposes.

Shares must be issued with a par value - usually e1, but the par value can be any amount in any currency. Irish limited liability companies can, subject to certain formalities being observed, redeem and/or repurchase their shares out of distributable profits and reserves.

There are no requirements for minimum payment of dividends or interest. A 20% withholding tax can apply to payments of dividends or interest, but there is a wide range of exemptions from such withholding taxes. Exemptions are generally available where the recipient is tax resident in an EU country or a country with which Ireland has a double tax treaty.

The day-to-day management of an Irish company is normally carried out by its board of directors. Every Irish company must have at least two...

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