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Setting Up a Liaison Office in Ireland

Setting Up a Liaison Office in Ireland

The representative office is one of the simplest ways for foreign companies to test the Irish market. This is a non-corporate form that can be employed for specific activities that are not commercial. The creation of a liaison office in Ireland is fairly simple and implies meeting fewer requirements compared to other legal forms.

Below, our Irish company formation officers invite you to discover what setting up a representative office implies. We are at your service if you want to set up a company in Ireland, no matter its form.

 Quick Facts 
Applicable legislation  Irish Company Law

 Status

The representative office does not have legal status, as it is an extension of a foreign enterprise in Ireland. 

 Uses of a liaison office

 Non-commercial activities (marketing, promotion, market testing, etc.)

 Restrictions of a representative office (if any)Yes, it cannot undertake any commercial or sale-related operation. 
 Minimum share capital (YES/NO)

No 

 Local representative required (YES/NO)

 Yes, an Irish liaison office must have a local representative.

 Documents to be filed by parent company

–  business name;

– local address;

– parent company’s Certificate of Registration (copy);

– information about the directors.

Local address requirement (YES/NO) 

 Yes, an Irish address must be supplied.

 Authority to be enrolled with

 Irish Companies Registration Office

 Liability of the parent company The parent company is liable for the Irish representative office’s operations.
 Taxation of a liaison office in Ireland

 Liaison offices are exempt from taxation.

 Possibility of hiring local staff (YES/NO)

 Yes

 Travel requirements for setting up a representative office (YES/NO)

No, there is no need to come to Ireland to set up a liaison office. 

 Advantages of a liaison office

– simple and fast to set up;

– low administration costs;

– it can be used as a marketing tool and to test the local market before entering it. 

 Support in opening a representative office YES, we can help you set up an Irish company, including a liaison office.

Steps in setting up an Irish representative office

The procedure to open a liaison office is not different from that of a branch office. The steps to complete are the same, and so are some of the requirements. In this sense:

  1. the foreign company must secure a legal address in Ireland;
  2. the parent company must also appoint a local agent;
  3. the overseas business must prepare a few documents;
  4. together with the proof of the address, and details of the local agent, all other information must be filed with the Companies Register.

Compared to the branch office, there are fewer documents to file when opening an Irish representative office. Also, the tax and VAT registration steps can be skipped. You can rely on our local advisors if you want to set up such an office hassle-free.

Opening a liaison office in Ireland

Any foreign company wanting to establish a presence in Ireland can do so by opening a virtual office or a liaison office. Compared to the Irish virtual office which does not require the presence of a company representative, the liaison or the representative office will be used as a communication channel between the parent company and clients, suppliers, and partners in Ireland. The liaison office is not very common in Ireland mainly because its activities are restricted to promoting and presenting the parent company’s products or services. Representative offices may not undertake any commercial activity on behalf of the foreign company. The Irish representative office of a company will not be allowed to sign any contract or issue any invoice either.

Considering the representative office will not conduct any commercial activity, it is not required to pay any taxes in Ireland. However, it must be registered with the Companies Registration Office in Ireland. Our consultants in company formation in Ireland may help you set up a representative office or any other type of company. The registration procedure for a representative office is mainly the same as for any other type of Irish company and must have an Irish business name and a legal address. Registering an Irish representative office does not take very much if all the required documents are properly prepared.

You can get in touch with us for advice on the requirements you must meet as an owner if you want to set up a company in Ireland. You need to make sure you have sufficient money for the operations, as well as select at least one director and company secretary. You can use our nominee services if you do not have the time to find such officers.

We also have an infographic on the representative office:

What are the documents required to set up a liaison office in Ireland?

The following documents are required when registering a representative office in Ireland:

  • a notarized and apostilled copy of the parent company’s memorandum and articles of association,
  • a list with the company’s directors,
  • the registered address of the liaison office,
  • the business name of the liaison office.

Also, the foreign company must appoint an Irish resident to represent the company and act as a contact point between the representative office and the authorities. The company representative must be appointed by power of attorney. A representative office is not required to submit any annual financial statements with the Irish tax authorities.

What activities can foreign companies undertake through liaison offices?

A liaison office in Ireland is limited in the tasks it can perform since it is dependent on and must adhere to the regulations of foreign corporations.

First and foremost, the parent entity or corporate group may be represented in Ireland by a representative office. For example:

  • it may be used to promote various activities, including exports and imports to or from Ireland;
  • another activity that can be carried out by a liaison office is encouraging technical or financial partnerships between Irish companies and foreign entity;
  • it may also serve as a communication link between the main company and the Irish subsidiaries.

Other functions of such an office can refer to advertising, providing information provision, market research, etc. From this point of view, the Irish representative office is one of the best ways to test the market without risking financial losses.

If you are interested in setting up a company in Ireland in order to complete commercial activities, we recommend the branch or the subsidiary.

Aspects to consider before opening a liaison office in Ireland

The representative office lacks a separate legal identity, a distinctive name or a trade name, which makes it totally dependent on the foreign company. If the office encounters financial difficulties, the parent company will be liable for them, as well as for other obligations.

However, there are also advantages when choosing this form, as due to the fact that it depends on the company opening it, the procedure for establishing a liaison office in Ireland is not difficult.

Foreign businesses usually want to test the market before committing to anything, which is the main justification for opening such offices. After reaching a conclusive result, the branch office is usually the next step in having a full presence in the Irish market.

Here is our video on this topic:

Economic developments in Ireland

Ireland is one of the leading European countries when it comes to multinational companies with headquarters here. This is reflected by the following data on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI):

  • at the level of 2021, there were 301,475 employees in multinationals in Ireland;
  • in 2022, their number increased by 24,019;
  • the same year, there were also 103 new investment projects that entered the Irish market.

For complete company formation and accounting services please contact our Irish specialists.