Comparing company setup in Ireland and the UK

If you are looking to set up a business catering to clients or partners from the European region, Ireland and the UK may stand out as the prime choices. These countries, both communicate in English, exist within the same time zone, boast business-friendly governments, and uphold regulations that are comparatively lighter by European standards. Nonetheless, what sets Irish and UK company setups apart? Here are the things you need to know before conducting business in Ireland versus the UK. 

Key documents

The process of registering a company in Ireland entails the submission of specific forms to Companies Registration Office (CRO). The key form that needs to be submitted is Form A1. This form provides details on the company name, address, directors, secretary, shareholders, share capital etc. Form A1 should be followed with the Company Constitution. This document lays out the rules for governing the company. It specifies director and shareholder rights, procedures for meetings, etc.

In the UK, registering a private limited company involves filing documents with Companies House, the government agency that stores information on all UK companies. The key documents required include the Memorandum or Articles of Association, which govern internal affairs related to directors and shareholders, and Form IN01. Form IN01 provides important information such as the company name, address, details of directors, shareholders, and share capital, etc.

Corporate tax rates

The UK main corporation tax rate is currently 25% for companies with profits over £250,000. A small profits rate of 19% was also announced for companies with profits of £50,000 or less. Companies with profits between £50,000 and £250,000 will pay corporation tax at the main rate. However, they will receive “marginal relief” which reduces the amount of tax they have to pay compared to the full main rate.

In contrast, Ireland offers a highly competitive corporation tax rate of 12.5% for 99% of companies operating within its jurisdiction. This rate is significantly lower than the UK’s main rate, making Ireland an attractive destination for businesses. Notably, while Ireland has signed up to the OECD Two-Pillar agreement in October 2021, which includes a global minimum effective rate of 15%, this higher rate only applies to 1% of Irish businesses with revenues exceeding €750 million.

EU membership

The economic strength of London in particular had made it an ideal entry point for businesses entering Europe. Despite the whole Brexit debacle, the British economy is resisting. London remains as the financial hub of Europe. According to London Futures Report by Deloitte,a remarkable 40% of the Top 250 companies with global or regional headquarters in Europe have chosen to base their operations in London. Furthermore, London is the chosen centre for 60% of the non-European Top 250 companies that have their regional headquarters in Europe.

Nevertheless, the aftermath of Brexit has heightened the significance of Ireland’s EU membership for businesses. Ireland now serves as a gateway to the entire European market of 500 million consumers. The advantage extends to tariff-free exports across the EU, making Ireland a strategic choice for businesses seeking seamless access to this vast consumer base. Moreover, Ireland also currently ranks as the easiest European country in which to start a business, with Estonia and the UK in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

Company officers and shareholders

  • Director: Directors are legally responsible for running the company and making sure company accounts and reports are properly prepared. In both Ireland and the UK, registering companies require a minimum of one individual to act in the capacity of a company director. Additionally, both countries allow non-resident to be the director.
  • Shareholders: In both Ireland and the UK, a limited company must have at least one shareholder. The UK company can have an unlimited number of shareholders, whereas in Ireland, limited companies are capped at a statutory maximum of 149 shareholders.
  • Secretary:  A company secretary need to ensure a company complies with financial and legal requirements, as well as maintaining its high standards of corporate governance. UK companies do not legally need to have a secretary. On the other hand, Irish companies require an individaul or one of the directors to be the company secretary.

Registration timelines

A private limited company can be registered with the CRO within 14 days after they receive your completed application. In the UK, Registration of a private limited company with Companies House takes just 1 working day after they receive the completed forms and payment.

Healy Consultants Group provides a wide range of corporate services across the world. Email or WhatsApp us now to find out more about our services.

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