Why establish a base in Ireland?
Ireland will remain a full member of the EU. It will continue to be in the EU Customs Union and the Single Market. This is a cornerstone of Irish State policy and is supported by all parties represented in the Irish Parliament. Public Support for EU membership has been consistently very high (85%+) in Ireland for many years.
The EU Treaties guarantee extensive freedom to trade in goods with and to provide services to and in all EU member states. Irish established companies and firms can have the confidence that these overriding rights will continue in all EU states and can be asserted by legal action or by Commission action in any state.
Ireland has had a corporate profits tax rate of 12.5% for over 20 years, which all the main political parties have firmly resolved to retain. There is an exemption for start-up companies with profits below €200,000 in their first three years of trading.
There are several important reliefs from tax. They include extensive relief for research and development expenditure and for acquiring / onshoring intellectual property.
Ireland has an extensive network of double taxation treaties including with the UK, US and most developed countries.
Ireland is home to world-leading established companies and high-growth companies that will shape the economy of the future.
IBM’s Global Location Trends ranks Ireland first for attracting high-value FDI projects. One-third of multinational companies in Ireland have had operations for over 20 years.
There are thriving clusters around the country in sectors such as medical technology, pharmaceuticals, financial services and Internet technology.
Ireland has the youngest population in Europe with one-third of the population under 25 years of age. The population is forecast to increase by almost one million people to 5.75 million by 2040.
In 2017/2018 over 220,000 students enrolled in third-level courses across Ireland’s universities and colleges.Over 30% of students enrolled in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) courses.
Ireland’s education system is amongst the best in the world. It ranks in the top 10 globally.
Ireland enjoys a high degree of political stability. The major political parties, which enjoy the support of over 75% of the electorate, are very firmly committed to promoting a pro-business and a free market economy. Changes of government in Ireland do not lead to significant changes in the tax, legal, regulatory, employment or trading environments.
Ireland is firmly committed to continued membership of the European Union. Ireland has consistently demonstrated high degrees of public support for membership of the EU, of up to 90% or more. This support has continued and increased since the Brexit vote.
Ireland and the United Kingdom have the deepest ties of families, language and culture. English is the everyday language in Ireland.
There are almost 3 million visits from Britain to Ireland annually. There are approximately 2.6 million visits from Ireland to Britain annually.
In 2017 5.5% of all UK exports (£34 billion) were to Ireland while imports from Ireland (£21 billion) comprised approximately 3.4% of all imports.
In the most likely scenario, of an EU UK trade agreement without a customs union, significant customs and related procedures will apply to the importation of goods into the EU single market from the UK. In particular, it will be necessary that an importer of record, established in the European Union, completes the required import customs notices and declarations.
Establishing a base, agency or representation within Ireland will allow the continued importation of goods into the EU in circumstances where it might otherwise be uneconomic or impractical. In such cases, the establishment of a base in Ireland will enable UK businesses to have the best of both worlds, with access to the UK market with the benefit of its trade agreements, and continued access to the EU single market.
Irrespective of the outcome of Brexit, the EU, Irish and UK governments are firmly committed to the maintenance of the Common Travel Area. The CTA allows UK citizens to travel unconditionally without checks to and from the Republic of Ireland and to have immediate settled status in Ireland.
UK citizens may work or run a business in Ireland. UK citizens have immediate access to healthcare, education, social benefits and the right to vote in most elections. For historical reasons, most UK qualifications will continue to be recognised automatically, or with minimal further steps, in Ireland.
Ireland is readily accessible from any part of the United Kingdom. There are hundreds of daily flights as well as several ferry crossings.
An enormous volume of goods crosses the Irish Sea in both directions on a daily basis. Approximately 500,000 freight vehicles pass through Dublin port alone annually most coming from or going to to the United Kingdom.
The continued availability of the Common Travel Area will continue to make travel for Irish and UK nationals frictionless.
Ireland maintains a stable, secure and pro-business environment. The Irish Government is committed to the sustainable management of public finances. EU law on the Euro guarantees this position. The Irish state has “A” grading from all major credit agencies
Ireland is the third most competitive economy in the Eurozone and fifth most competitive in the European Union. Hourly labour costs in Ireland are mid-range in Europe and below the Eurozone average.
Ireland has the youngest population in Europe with a third of the population under 25 years old. The population is forecast to increase by 1,000,000 by 2040. Ireland has access to the EU and the UK labour market.
Irish laws and the Irish legal system are very similar to those in the United Kingdom. Irish common law is almost identical to that in England and Wales and Northern Ireland. UK precedents are commonly followed in Irish courts.
Most of the key commercial and employment legislation is in identical or very similar terms. The courts’ systems and procedures are very similar.
Withdrawal Agreement Ratified
- Withdrawal Agreement approved by EU & UK Government
- Rejected by Parliament three times and PM May resigned
- WA or variant may be ratified
- No deal Brexit on 31 October 2019 unless agreement or extension
- Deals only with Money, People, Transition and Backstop
- Accompanied by Political Declaration about Future Relationship
- Agreement on UK Financial Contribution to end 2020
- Agreement on the status of EU and UK citizens in the UK and EU
- UK leaves EU almost immediately but a Transitional Period begins
- Transitional / Implementation Period to end 2020
- May be extended by up to 1 or 2 years (decided by 30 June 2020)
- Future relationship to be negotiated in this period
- All EU rules continue to apply during this period
- The UK has observer status in EU institutions in this period
- The UK contributes to the EU budget in this period
- NI Backstop applies unless new agreement avoids hard NI border
- The UK may unilaterally withdraw the notice to leave
- The UK remains in the EU
- All laws remain the same
- Preserves all existing trade agreements
- Political implications
- Legitimacy issues
- A second referendum likely to be necessary
- Likely continuing debate about the relationship
No Deal / “Hard” Brexit
- Still the default option
- Both under EU and UK law
- Due to take effect on 31st October 2019
- Parliament seems opposed
- EU seems determined to avoid
- Involves a sudden big bang one time changes
- Numerous laws and trading rules change overnight
- Immediate customs duties
- Immediate customs processes and obligations
- Immediate regulatory controls
- Immediate cessation of single market rights
- Unpredictable unwinding and knock-on effects
- Negative economic effects very likely
Backstop in Unapproved Withdrawal Agreement
- Contained in the unapproved Withdrawal Agreement
- Agreed by the EU and the UK Government
- Withdrawal Agreement rejected three times by Parliament
- A variant of it may be agreed
- Applies if future EU UK Agreement does not avoid NI hard border
- Applies if no EU UK Agreement at end Transition Period 2020 (+?)
- EU and UK must agree that test is met
- NI remains in EU Customs Union
- NI remains in most EU Single Market goods rules
- GB in customs partnership with EU
- GB in regulatory alignment with EU
- GB (not NI) could readily revoke these commitments
- No Financial Contributions
An Economic Partnership/ Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement
- The UK Government’s preferred option
- Reflected in the EU UK future relationship declaration
- No customs duties on most goods
- Customs cooperation but declarations required on exports and imports
- Certificates of origin requirements
- Some regulatory checks
- The UK free to enter trade agreements with third countries –
- Higher alignment with the EU = reduced scope for /of trade agreements
- The UK has greater ability to regulate economic activity
- Level playing field rules/regulatory alignment likely
- No single market protections
- Some freedom of movement/mobility for workers
- Broad cooperation in important areas
- Limited freedom to provide services
- Facilitation of digital services
- Security partnership
- Cooperation in foreign-policy security and defence
Membership of the EEA
- Same relationship as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein
- No customs duties on most goods
- Some Customs cooperation
- Declarations required for exports and imports
- UK freedom to enter trade agreements with third countries
- More extensive trade agreements v less EU alignment/harmonisation
- The UK becomes a rule-taker for many trade rules
- No / limited input into EU rule-making
- The UK remains in the single market
- EU free movement of persons and workers
- EU free movement of goods and investment
- Access to EU single market in services
- Subject to EFTA Court- indirectly binding
- Easily negotiated – EEA provides an existing template
A customs union or partnership between the UK and EU
- The Labour Party policy
- No customs duties, customs controls nor origin checks
- Limited scope to enter trade agreements with third countries
- Greater power to regulate economic activity
- Level playing field rules/regulatory alignment
- No / very limited single market protections
- Broad cooperation in important fields
- Limited freedom to provide services
- Facilitation of digital services
Customs Union plus Single Market
- Back to 1992 (more or less)
- Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein status
- Plus customs union
- No customs duties
- No declarations of origin or customs control
- No/ very limited freedom to enter trade agreements
- The UK largely a rule-taker of many trade rules
- Free movement of goods
- Free movement workers (plus other categories?)
- Free movement of investment
- Access to the single market in services retained
- EEA provides a template to a large extent
- EU likely to accept EEA plus Customs Union
- EFTA Court- indirectly binding
Doing Business from Ireland
We are Republic of Ireland Solicitors and are regulated by the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland. We have 25 years’ experience in practising law in Ireland. We advise almost daily on Brexit related issues which arise in Ireland.
We provide UK clients with a one-stop shop in relation to establishment and trading in Ireland. We advise on the practical, tax and legal issues that arise. We advise clients on the regulatory and licensing issues specific to their sector and requirements.
Where appropriate, we implement the steps required to establish an Irish base. We advise on and/ or undertake any licensing and registration applications that are required. We assist with all employment, taxation, commercial, property, banking and other matters that may arise.
We are members of the InterTradeIreland Brexit advisory panel and that of another Irish development agency. We advise on and act in Brexit related matters on an almost daily basis.
We have advised on establishment, structuring, compliance and regulatory issues in many sectors. We have prepared detailed reports in relation to Brexit risks for clients in a wide range of goods and services sectors.
We have presented to the Incorporated Law Society’s principal CPD conference and to several trade bodies on Brexit related matters in Ireland. We have participated monthly in the Irish Small and Medium Enterprise Association’s Brexit Briefing programme across Ireland.
We have written and compiled the Brexit Issues website with over 300 articles by us and 500 articles comprising of edited and arranged EU Commission and UK Government material on Brexit. Brexit Issues does not offer opinions or judge the merits of Brexit.
Brexit Issues seeks to shine a light on the key Brexit issues and the possible outcomes. It focuses on the key issues such as free movement, trade, customs, regulatory matters, the withdrawal process and possible new relationships.
We are Republic of Ireland Tax consultants and are members of the Irish Taxation Institute. We have 16 years’ experience as tax practitioners in Ireland.
We advise on Irish taxation issues that arise in the establishment of a subsidiary or other presence in Ireland. We advise on compliance obligations in respect of corporation tax, personal taxation and on the reliefs that may apply.
We work with clients’ UK or associated Irish tax advisers where applicable, with a view to optimising the overall taxation position for corporate groups.
We advise on customs and VAT compliance and other issues in EU and non-EU trade. We advise on favourable reliefs and treatments that may be available in respect of VAT and customs.
We are intimately familiar with the legal landscape in the United Kingdom and understand the requirements and expectations of UK businesses. We advise on Irish law from an England and Wales and Northern Ireland law perspective.
Our principal, Paul McMahon, practised for many years as an England and Wales solicitor. He lectures on the Law Society of Ireland’s England and Wales Solicitors conversion course. He has written UK Law (An Irish Guide) which is a general overview of UK business law, for an Irish audience.
We are authors of Irish Legal Guide the most wide-ranging guide to Irish business law. It provides a practical and comprehensive guide to law, regulation and legislation in the Republic of Ireland.
Irish Legal Guide explains the law in practical and comprehensible terms. It also presents the relevant legislation, case law and other legal sources, should the user wish to explore the particular topic further.