Cookie Policy Ireland – Cookie Regulation

Cookie Policy Ireland - Cookie Regulation

Introduction

From the 5th of October all websites operating in Ireland must comply with the relevant cookie policy laws and regulations in Ireland. Six months prior the Data Protection Commission (DPC) had given businesses notice of enforcement existing regulations. 

The first regulations which existed under the privacy legislation in 2011, Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations.

Later this was updated in 2018 under GDPR. GDPR clearly states that people must give their consent for websites to use cookies.  A recent survey by the DPC had found most businesses were not compliant with this law. (source)

What are cookies?

Cookies are text files stored on your computer which allow websites to do several things such as track users, remember user information and preferences and track user behaviour. Cookies can be controlled by the owner of the website or by third parties. 

For example, an owner of a website can install a facebook pixel. This allows the owner of the website to add you to an audience of people they advertise to. If you visit a website which sells garden furniture, the next time you log into facebook you could see advertisements for garden furniture for the same website.

What are the implications for my business?

This means that all visitors to your website must give their consent to you using cookies. When they arrive on your website they must actively click on “Accept” in order for you to use cookies.

If you have a wordpress website there is a simple solution. There is a free GDPR Cookies Consent plugin which you can install. This will prompt the user to accept your cookie policy when they arrive on your website.

If you don’t have a cookie policy we have written a free template you can use for your website. Please make sure you credit accountantpages.ie

accountant-dublin-2

Additional Information

If you would like more detailed information on the issue then you can read the guidance set out by the DPC.

Self Employed Ireland

Self-Employed Ireland : Guide to being self-employed in Ireland

Introduction

Being self-employed is a very common legal structure used in Ireland to operate a business. In 2020, self-employed people accounted for 14.75% of all of those employed in Ireland. 

The registration process for being self-employed is very simple and can be done through ROS.ie. There are a number of benefits of being self-employed, particularly if you are already an employee through the PAYE system. One of the biggest is being able to offset your self-employed losses against your employee income. It’s also very easy to stop being self employed. This can be done through ROS.ie. 

How to register as being self employed in Ireland

You do not need to register as being self-employed if your non PAYE income is less than €5,000 and your PAYE income is less than €30,000. 

To register as being self-employed in Ireland you simply register on ROS.ie. For this you will need a PPS number. Go to ROS.ie and click on “Register for ROS” and then “Apply for your RAN”. 

On the next screen select “An individual or company” and from the drop select “Income Tax”. Enter your PPS number in the “Registration Number” field. Complete the rest of the steps as indicated.

Self-Employed Ireland: Benefits

There are a number of benefits of being self-employed in Ireland:

  • Fast to set up
  • Cheaper to setup than a limited company
  • No financial risk due missing submission of returns with the CRO
  • You can expense apportion of your rent, electricity, internet and heating if working from home
  • You can expenses a portion of your motor expenses
  • You can offset your losses against your PAYE income
  • You can expense your home office
Register for tax sole trader Ireland

Allowable Expenses : Self-Employed Ireland

Here is a list (which is not exhaustive) of the expenses you can claim in Ireland if you are self-employed. We’ve tried to focus on some of the more obscure items. In general, any cost which arises as a result of engaging in business can be expensed.

  1. €500 voucher for employees. The voucher must not be redeemable for cash.
  2. Portion of rent, electricity, heat and internet from your private home if working from home
  3. Portion of motor expenses if using your personal car for business use
  4. Allowance for wear & tear of private motor vehicles use in a business. 12.5% apportioned based on the percentage of millage associated with business use.  
  5. Pre Trade expenses. 
  6. Travel, food & accommodation if this travel is outside your normal place of work.
  7. Employee entertainment which is reasonable and available to all employees

There are a few exceptions which are not so obvious.

  1. Client entertainment
  2. Clothing
  3. Your own pay

How to stop being self-employed Ireland

To stop being self-employed is relatively straight forward if you don’t have a complex business. You simply log onto ROS.ie, go to “Other services” and click “Manage Tax Registrations”. From here you can click on “Cease Registration” for Income Tax. 

If you have registered for VAT you’ll also need to cancel this. You will also need to complete any outstanding returns. 

If you don’t have access to ROS.ie you’ll need to complete a TRCN1

Sole trader Ireland

Sole Trader Ireland

Sole trader Ireland : Guide to starting as a sole trader

Introduction

Being a sole trader is a popular option for a lot of entrepreneurs because it is a very easy structure to set up.  A sole trader and being self-employed are essentially the same thing. 

You are not required to produce a set of accounts although you are required to complete a self-assessment each year. 

A sole trader gives you the option to test your business idea without being overburdened with returns or high accounting fees. If your business idea is successful and starts generating revenue you can switch to a limited company at any time.

This article will cover:

  • Should I be a sole trader in Ireland?
  • When should I set up a limited company in Ireland?
  • How do I register as a sole trader in Ireland?
  • What are my filing obligations as a sole trader?
  • What taxes do I pay as a sole trader in Ireland?
  • Can I be an employee and a sole trader?
Sole Trader Ireland

Should I be a sole trader in Ireland?

Firstly, be careful when getting advice on your business structure. Some accountants will tell you to set up a limited company when it isn’t necessary. In some cases it is because accounting fees are higher for a limited than a sole trader. 

You should be a sole trader in the following circumstances:

  1. You are just starting a business and you’re testing your idea
  2. You are making a very low profit
  3. None of the profits will be reinvested in the business 
  4. There is a very low risk of the business defaulting on its debts

We’ve written an article on a limited company vs a sole trader.

When should I set up a limited company in Ireland?

You should set up your business structure as a limited company in the following circumstances:

  1. You are reinvesting profits back into the business
  2. There is a high risk the business will default on its debts
  3. You require multiple founders
  4. You will be seeking funding
  5. You are taking a significant salary from the business
Register for tax sole trader Ireland

How do I register as a sole trader in Ireland?

To register as a sole trader you need a PPS number. You can register on ROS.ie or you can for you can complete a form TR1.

If you want to stop being a sole trader you follow a similar process. You log into ROS.ie and click on “Other Services”. Click on “Manage Tax Registrations” then click on “Cease Registration” for Income tax and complete the form on the next page.

What are my filing obligations as a sole trader?

At a minimum you need to complete a self-assessment form. If you have a simple business you can complete it yourself. However, if it is too complex you will need to hire an accountant who can charge fees of €750 + VAT. 

Depending on your level of sales you may also need to register for VAT. Generally this needs to be completed every 2 months. This can be as low as every 6 months if your VAT liability is less than €3,000.

You need to register for VAT if your sales is above the following:

  • €37,500 if you are supplying services only.
  • €35,000 for distance selling into Ireland
  • €41,000 for persons making acquisitions from other European Union Member States.
  • €75,000 if you are selling goods
tax filing obligations sole trader ireland

What taxes do I pay as a sole trader in Ireland?

As a sole trader you can not expense your salary. The profit that is remaining is taxed at PAYE rates of 20% (€35,300) , 40% (above €35,300) plus PRSI & USC. You are entitled to a tax credit €1,500 for being self-employed (v employee of €1,650). The deadline for filing your self-assessment return is October 31st. 

As mentioned above, if you are registered for VAT you’ll also need to pay that every 2 months. 

Can I be an employee and a sole trader?

In Ireland you can be both an employee and a sole trader. When you complete your self-assessment you enter your income from your employment and your income or losses from your sole trader business. 

The benefit of being a sole trader and an employee is you can offset your losses from being a sole trader against your PAYE income. 

As a sole trader you can expense a percentage of your rent, heating, internet and electricity if you are working from home on your business.



AP Notes: Setting up a company in Ireland

AP Notes: Setting up a company in Ireland

How much does it cost to set up a company in Ireland?

It costs roughly €300 + VAT if you use a company formation office. If you complete the process yourself the cost is €50, which is the CRO filing fee.

If you are a non-EEA resident you have the additional set of purchasing a non-resident director bond which costs €2,000 (including VAT) and lasts for 2 years.

If you don’t have a registered office in Ireland you can rent one for roughly €200 + VAT per year. This will be for correspondence only. Please note this doesn’t mean you are regarded as being a tax resident. You are required to have staff working in the office among other factors.

Each year you will need an accountant to complete a number of returns including filing your annual accounts. The cost of this annual return can range from €1,000 – €2,000 + VAT for small businesses. The fee will be influenced by a number of factors including the number of transactions, number of staff and the quality of your bookkeeping. 

How can I set up a company in Ireland?

You can contact one of the accountants listed on AccountantPages. You can also contact any company formation office. 

You can also register on core.ie and complete the process yourself.

How long does it take to set up a company in Ireland?

It takes roughly 3 – 8 days. With COVID-19 things may move slower.

What information do I need to provide to set up an Irish company?

  1. Company Name
  2. Type of Company
  3. Constitution – The CRO provides a template so you don’t need to worry about this.
  4. Registered office – This must be in Ireland. 
  5. Directors
    1. Full name
    2. Nationality
    3. Address
    4. Business Occupation
    5. Names of other companies other directorships are held
  6. Company Secretary
  7. Authorised and Issued Share Capital
  8. Shareholders

What are the benefits of setting up a company in Ireland?

  • 12.5% Corporate tax rate and 6.5% tax on profits made from intellectual property
  • 25% R&D tax credit
  • Double taxation agreements with an array of countries
  • Easy to setup a company
  • Administration costs are relatively low

Web Hosting – SiteGround

Website Hosting

If you are building your own website soon we would like to recommend you to use SiteGround as your hosting company. Their fees start at £5.99 per month. We had being previously hosted with Blacknight and our website was running very slow. It’s important your website loads as fast as possible as this will affect your ranking in Google as well as frustrate your customers. 

Unfortunately we had invested a significant amount of time and money in trying to optimise our website thinking our hosting wasn’t the issue. It was only when we switched hosting company we saw a positive difference. 

If you would like to test your website speed score you can use tools such as Google page speed and pingdom. It can also be useful to test competitors’ websites.

One caveat, it was a nightmare to try to setup an external SSL certificate. With Blacknight it was far easier and simpler. 

How to start a small business online

How to start a small business online

What business is right for you?

Before you start a business make sure the business you’re trying to start suits your skills, experience and budget. It’s important before you start a business to either have experience in the industry or be willing to put in the time to learn.

Starting a business requires an incredible amount of time so try to find something you enjoy doing if you can. At the very least make sure you understand why you’re starting a business. It could be because you’re sick of your 9-5 job or you want to travel. It’s really important the reason why you want to start a business is clear and important to you. It will help to keep you motivated during the numerous mundane tasks you will be required to complete.

If it is your first business it’s better to try something which doesn’t require a lot of investment. First businesses have a high failure rate so it’s better to start as small as possible and then scale up after you start selling.

Branding

One of the first things you’ll need to do is decide on a business name and logo. In general this is a difficult part but try not to spend too much time on this step. Once the business concept is proved in the marketplace the name and logo can be changed at any time.

When deciding on a name it is almost impossible to get a good .com as most are taken. If you are just a local business in Ireland a .ie is far easier to find. Also, if you are trading under a different name to your own you’ll also need to make sure that name hasn’t already been registered with the CRO. You can use their search page to check. You can register a business name through core.ie for a cost of €20.

Next is your logo. I would recommend outsourcing this abroad as some graphic designers here can charge a high fee. When trying to get your logo designed you should have a clear idea of what it should look like. Also providing examples of other logos you like and why will help the designer greatly.

Website & Payments

For your first website I would recommend using wordpress along with a predesigned template. The important principle is to keep your costs as low as possible in the beginning until you start making a profit. If you do seek advice, always ask a trusted source. Never seek genuine advice from someone trying to sell you a service.

WordPress and the templates available can be used for a range of businesses. If you are providing professional services or you are selling products online. It does take a bit of time to set up. You will also need to have a hosting package. I would recommend SiteGround. I did use Blacknight in the past but I found my website running very slow and have now started moving bigger websites to SiteGround. Their fees start at £5.99 per month.

You will also need an SSL cert to encrypt information flowing between your website and visitors. You can buy one for namecheap.com for $5-$6 per year. Please note, while in general SiteGround is a better hosting company it was a nightmare trying to set up a third party SSL cert compared to Blacknight. 

I would recommend using stripe to accept payments but there are alternatives available such as Paypal. I found their interface easy to use and it was easy to complete all of the compliance steps required. 

You will need to hire a developer to complete all of these steps if you have no IT background. If you have the time there are 100s of videos available on youtube to walk you through each of the steps. The cost of hiring a developer will vary depending on the type of website you want. You can hire someone locally through gumtree.ie or freelancer.com from around the world. I would estimate the fee to be between €500 – €1,000.

Getting your website found & Credibility

One of the biggest misunderstandings I have encountered is people think once the website is set up people will find it. Building the website is the easy part, getting people to find it is the most difficult part. It’s better to spend the least amount of money as possible on your website and the rest on marketing. There are so many websites online competing for attention. You need to be very clever in how you make people aware of your existence. 

If you are considering running ads on facebook or google start off with small experiments first. Spend no more than €10 – €20 on testing ads and see what works. It’s very easy to burn through cash marketing your business to people who have zero interest in it. With facebook you can track a customer from a facebook ad right up until they make a purchase. So you can calculate if I spend €x on ads on facebook I will make €y in revenue. 

It’s really important to try to establish credibility on your website. As you are a new business no one will have heard of you and you will have no established trust. One of the best ways to build credibility is through customer video reviews. The majority of people don’t want to be on camera so they are very difficult to get. You should try as much as possible to get genuine customer video reviews on your website. This will help build trust and credibility with potential customers who visit your website.

Social media

Social media can be a great tool to help your website get found as well as building credibility. Having a facebook page can allow you to create a following and engage with your customers. You can also offer your loyal followers discounts and discounts for their friends. 

You can also use social media to engage with those who already have a following similar to your target audience. Offering them your products/service as a prize or at a discount for their followers can help raise your brand awareness in a cost effective manner.

Social media also gives people an opportunity to share their experience with your company. They can write a review or share pictures which everyone in their network will see. 

Legal & Finance

Generally if you’re just starting it’s better to be a sole trader. We’ve written an article on the advantages and disadvantages of a sole trader v a limited company. As mentioned above, if you are trading under a name which is different to your own you need to register that name with the CRO. It is your responsibility to ensure the name isn’t already registered. The CRO will not do this for you. You only need to register for VAT once you’ve reached certain sales thresholds. 

Please be aware there are many grants available for startups and to help you with the cost of your online business. For example, there is an innovation voucher worth €5,000 and there is also a grant which contributes toward the cost of getting online. This grant is for €2,500 and covers 90% of the cost of getting online.

€3,000 Financial Support for Businesses who take on apprentices

€3,000 in funding available for employers who hire apprentices

The Irish Government has launched a new apprentice scheme for employers. They are providing €3,000 in financial support to those employers who take on apprentices. 

The government is trying to grow the number of apprentices in Ireland which currently stands at 18,000, across a wide range of occupations from electrical, construction and engineering roles to healthcare, information technology and financial services. 

Simon Harris said “It’s a win-win – help develop an apprentice’s potential while you develop your company.”

Employers are entitled to the funding if they have registered a new apprentice from March until the end of the year. They will receive €2,000 up front and €1,000 in 12 months time.

For further information on the scheme please visit: http://www.apprenticeship.ie/en/employers/Pages/EmployerInfo.aspx

 

Source:

https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/39851-minister-simon-harris-launches-financial-incentive-scheme-for-employers-to-recruit-apprentices/#:~:text=Minister%20Simon%20Harris%20launches%20financial%20incentive%20scheme%20for%20employers%20to%20recruit%20apprentices,-From%20Department%20of&text=These%20teams%20showcase%20the%20talent,the%20end%20of%20the%20year.

How to close a limited company in Ireland

How to close a limited company in Ireland

The fee charged by professionals for closing a limited company in Ireland is roughly €300 + VAT which includes the CRO fees as well as advertising in a national newspaper.

In order to close your limited company you need to apply for a voluntary strike off with the CRO. The CRO has a number of conditions which must be satisfied in order to close your company.

  • Draft director statement that the company must have never traded or has ceased trading
  • Special resolution passed and form G1-H15 completed. Online free (core.ie), paper €15.
  • Must have completed form H15 (filing fee €15)
  • The amount of assets does not exceed €150
    The amount of liabilities does not exceed €150 including contingent or prospective liabilities (Liabilities cannot be netting off against assets).
    All returns to date have been completed
  • Request a letter from Revenue that they have no objection to the company closing.
  • You must place an ad in a national newspaper of your intention to close your company. A sample advertisement is available here. The fee for example in the Irish Times is €74.95 + VAT as per their current rate card.

When the above have been completed it takes roughly 3 months for your company to be taken off the CRO register.

If you have a very simple business it is possible to do this yourself. If you have any doubts about how to complete the above steps it would be better to seek the advice of an accountant or a professional. If you complete any of the above steps incorrectly it could end up costing you a lot more in the long run.

How the Corona Virus is Affecting SMEs​

Self employed allowable expenses in Ireland

How the Corona Virus is Affecting SMEs

Company Formations

Andrew Lambe, director of the Company Bureau has stated the new company registrations in the state have fallen by 39% in the first half of March 2020. This figure is expected to accelerate as demand falls and unemployment increases.

Andrew went further to say: “Based on new orders and enquiries, we are expecting to see the numbers in April down 50pc or even more. This is extremely worrying for the Irish economy.”

Some of this slow down is also partly due to the precautions the CRO has taken. Initially the CRO was completely closed. Now they do not accept deliveries from couriers. This reduced service will have slowed down the number of applications they can process.

Self employed allowable expenses in Ireland
Self employed allowable expenses in Ireland

Increase in .ie Domain Names

As a result of the restrictions being placed on how businesses operate and the agile nature of SMEs, the number of .ie domain names has increased. David Curtin, CEO of the IEDR has stated they have seen an increase of roughly 30% in new .ie domain name registrations in April compared to the same period last year. 

The increase in websites on the Irish market will be fuelled by the resilience of Irish entrepreneurs trying to find new ways to reach their customers. Selling online offers new opportunities to small businesses who would have traditionally sold through their brick and mortar premises. Without establishing a digital presence traditional businesses have no route to market until the lockdown restrictions are lifted.

There are also a number of supports available such as the trading online voucher run by the Local Enterprise Offices. This grant covers 90% of the costs for small businesses who are trying to get online up to a maximum of €2,500