Are You a Tech Startup with Non-Resident Directors Looking to Set Up in Ireland?

Welcome to Ireland, where innovation meets strategic business opportunities!

If you’re leading a tech startup and considering Ireland as your next business venture, you’re on the right track. Ireland offers a compelling blend of a vibrant tech ecosystem, favourable tax regimes, and a highly skilled workforce, making it an attractive destination for emerging tech companies. For those with non-resident directors, understanding the local regulatory and financial landscape is crucial for a successful setup.

This blog post specifically addresses the needs of tech startups with non-resident directors who are considering Ireland as a launchpad for their ventures. By looking into the Irish startup ecosystem, the company formation process, and the specific requirements for non-resident directors, we aim to give you the knowledge and confidence to make an informed decision.

tech startup

Startups in Ireland

Ireland has firmly established itself as a hub for tech startups, thanks to its pro-business policies and supportive infrastructure. The country boasts a thriving startup ecosystem, with a wealth of accelerator programs, co-working spaces, and networking opportunities.

Here are some key benefits that make Ireland an attractive proposition:

  • Talent Pool: Ireland’s population is very tech-savvy and well educated. Universities often produce highly qualified graduates in engineering and computer science. For tech startups looking to hire qualified staff to support their expansion, this easily accessible talent pool offers a big advantage
  • Government Support: With the purpose of supporting digital startups, the Irish government actively cultivates an innovative culture by offering grants, tax exemptions, and incubation programmes. These programmes lighten the early-stage development load considerably, freeing you up to concentrate on your main business operations.
  • Funding Opportunities: Ireland has a well-developed venture capital ecosystem with a strong track record of investing in promising tech ventures. It is simpler for startups to obtain the capital required to expand their operations thanks to this strong funding climate.
  • Strategic Advantages for Tech Companies: With a strong startup ecosystem and a variety of multinational IT companies, Ireland serves as a gateway to European markets. Its solid infrastructure, young, educated talent pool, and stable, business-friendly environment make it the perfect place to develop innovative breakthroughs.

Setting Up a Company in Ireland

Establishing a company in Ireland calls for following a series of legal and regulatory requirements. Let’s look at a few:

  1. Incorporation and Corporate Structure: You can incorporate as a private limited company, which is flexible and well-suited for small to medium-sized tech businesses. Notably, if all directors are non-residents, you must either appoint at least one EEA-resident director or secure a non-resident director bond.
  2. Prepare Required Documents: You will need to gather documents such as a company name, director information, shareholder details, and a Memorandum & Articles of Association (MOA & AOA). The MOA & AOA outlines the company’s internal governance framework.
  3. Company Registration: Submit the required documents to the Companies Registration Office (CRO) in Ireland. Around Finance can assist you with managing this process and making sure all documentation is accurate.
  4. Tax Registration: Register your company for relevant taxes like corporation tax and Value Added Tax (VAT).
  5. Open a Business Bank Account: Establishing a dedicated business bank account is necessary for managing your company’s finances.
  6. You may need at least one EEA director or alternatively pay a Section 137 bond. 

Benefits of Setting Up in Ireland

Selecting Ireland as your starting point offers multiple benefits:

  • Financial Incentives and Support Systems: The financial incentives in Ireland for tech startups include competitive corporate tax rates, advantageous R&D tax credits, and specific grants aimed at technology innovation. Entities like Enterprise Ireland provide significant support through funding opportunities and extensive networking options, especially valuable during the seed and early stages of business growth.
  • Strategic Location:  Ireland’s geographical position within the European Union gives you easy access to a vast market, allowing for effortless expansion into the European continent. Additionally, the country’s strong ties with the US make it an ideal location for attracting international investment.
non resident directors ireland

Understanding Non-Resident Directors in Ireland

If you plan to have non-resident directors on your tech startup’s board, it’s necessary to understand the legal considerations involved. Non-resident directors are individuals who reside outside Ireland but serve as directors of an Irish-registered company.

While Ireland welcomes non-resident directors, there are specific requirements and responsibilities they must adhere to. For instance, non-resident directors must have a valid tax residency certificate from their country of residence, and they may be subject to certain tax obligations in Ireland depending on their level of involvement in the company’s operations.

Non-resident directors are expected to fulfil their fiduciary duties and exercise due care and diligence in managing the company’s affairs. This includes attending board meetings (either physically or remotely), actively participating in decision-making processes, and making sure the company complies with all applicable laws and regulations

Regulatory Environment

Ireland’s regulatory framework is designed to support both domestic and international businesses. Compliance with regulations like GDPR for data protection and local employment laws is mandatory. The intellectual property regime in Ireland is also structured to protect and encourage innovation, which is critical for tech companies.

VAT Registration and Management

In the context of the EU losing approximately €10 billion annually to VAT fraud, the European Commission is urging member states, including Ireland, to enforce stricter VAT registration processes. For tech startups, particularly those with non-resident directors, the following local conditions must be satisfied for VAT registration:

  • Human and Technical Resources: The business must have both human and technical resources in Ireland.
  • Employment and Management: At least one employee must be on the Irish payroll. While having an Irish resident director is advantageous, it is not mandatory if there are local employees. However, directors should visit Ireland at least once or twice a year for decision-making, demonstrating that the business is managed from Ireland.
  • Corporate Governance: Appointing a non-executive director or an Irish company secretary can be beneficial but does not substitute the need for actual managerial presence.

To meet Revenue’s criteria for establishing a substantial local presence, startups will need:

  • At least one employee on the Irish payroll.
  • Regular management meetings held in Ireland to signify ongoing administrative involvement.

Thinking of launching some tech startups in Ireland? Around Finance can assist you with every step of the process, from company formation to navigating VAT regulations and securing funding. We’ll be your trusted partner in establishing your tech startup and setting you on the path to long-term growth and profitability


Absolutely! Ireland offers a thriving tech ecosystem, strategic advantages for global expansion, and attractive financial incentives.

At least one director must be an EEA resident, or you can secure a non-EEA director bond. All directors need a Verified Identity Number (VIN).

Competitive corporate tax rates, R&D tax credits, and grants specifically for tech innovation can significantly benefit your startup.

While advantageous, having an Irish resident director is not mandatory if other local presence criteria, such as having local employees, are met. However, directors should visit Ireland periodically for decision-making.

No, their appointments are beneficial but don’t replace the need for directors to be actively involved in decision-making from Ireland.

We can assist with everything from company formation to VAT compliance and securing funding. Contact us for a consultation!

Still got questions? Let us know what you’re looking for.

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