Do you have to register as a business in Ireland?

You do not have to register as a business in Ireland. In Ireland, if you sell a service or a product, you are a sole trader. This is what you are by default.

In other words, there is no registration process for becoming a sole trader. There is no signup form or anything like that.

As soon as you sell goods or services, you automatically become a sole trader.

I wan’t to operate my business under a different name than my own. Do I need to create a company?

You do not need to create a private limited company in order to operate under a different business name. Instead, you can register a business name using the CRO website.

The process is pretty simple:

  1. Sign up to CRO.ie
  2. Register your business name and pay the €20 or €40 fee.
  3. Wait for the Companies Registry Office to approve your name.

Once your business name has been approved, you will receive a “Certificate of Registration” with your personal name and address on it.

After that, you will be able to operate under your new business name.

There are two things worth noting here:

  1. You will still be a sole trader. The only difference is that you won’t have to use your true name to carry out business.
  2. Registering a business name is not the same thing as a setting up a company. A company is a legal entity, whereas a business name is something that you can identify yourself as while selling goods or services.

For example:

Paul Smith is a sole trader who sells vaping products. However, he wants to operate under the name “Super Vape” instead of the name “Paul Smith”. As a result, he decides to register the name “Super Vape” with the Companies Registration Office.

Once the registration is successful, Paul can use the name “Super Vape” while carrying out business. However, Paul is still a sole trader. He is still classed as self-employed in the eyes of Revenue. This is because registering a business name does not change your legal status.

Can a sole trader in Ireland register multiple business names?

Yes, sole traders in Ireland can register multiple business names.

For example, you could sell laptops using the name “Super Laptops” and vitamins under the name “Super Health”.

These are two separate business names. However, they both belong to you. They fall under your “umbrella” as a sole trader, so to speak.

Does registering a business name as a sole trader change how I pay tax?

No. In the eyes of Revenue, you are self-employed. It does not matter how many business names you have registered because they are not legal entities.

For example:

Martin is a sole trader. He has a carpentry business under the name “GoodWood Carpentry”. This is his main business. However, Martin also works as a personal fitness trainer on the weekends under the name “Personal Power”.

His carpentry business earns €2,000 per week and his personal fitness business pulls in €200.

In the eyes of Revenue, Martin the person has earned €2,200. Revenue does not care which business names he used while generating this income. This is self-employed income and it needs to be taxed as such.

As a result, Martin will need to file any taxes from that income under his own name.

Starting a business in Ireland is actually pretty simple.

A lot of people hold off on starting a business because they believe that it is going be a bureaucratic nightmare. They start fretting about accountants and solicitors and paperwork.

However, it is actually a lot simpler than that.

As you can see, there aren’t any legal barriers to becoming a sole trader. All you need to do is start selling.

Furthermore, if you do need a business name, then registering one via CRO.ie is pretty straight forward. From my experience, the registration process only takes a week or two.

After that, you’re good to go.