Setting up a UK or Irish company whilst living abroad




I am looking to set myself up as a sole trader working over the internet selling services rather than actual tangible goods.

I'm an Irish citizen and I have both an Irish PPS and a British NI Number.
I am no longer resident in either Ireland or the UK, but am still resident inside the EU.

I have looked into setting up the business here but face enormous bureaucratic obstacles and an equally insurmountable language barrier. :confused:
By setting up in either the ROI or the UK I circumvent a whole world of pain and can therefore conduct business exclusively in the English language. Besides which my target market would be primarily in Ireland and the UK anyway.

The thing is I keep getting conflicting information about whether it is even possible for someone residing outside either country to set up as a sole trader. I have lots of other questions, but I guess my first one is, can I actually do this?


My first stop was the CRO website and I didn't find the info I needed, hence I asked here. I was hoping to perhaps get a bit more substantial and specific information.


Frequent Poster
If you are a sole trader, you will be taxed on where you are tax resident. There are also specific VAT rules to selling goods and services over the internet. One possible way to circumvent the residency rules would be to set up an Irish limited company however there's no alternative to getting around the VAT rules as these are harmonised in the EU. An Irish resident company would need at least 2 directors and one director must be resident in the EEA which sounds like it wouldn't be a problem in your case. The downside is that it costs €500 approx to set up a company and you will have more filing obligations with the CRO but they're very straight forward once you don't file late.

I know where you're coming from as I've had client and personal experience of doing business in mainland Europe and the UK and it's extremely bureaucratic and long winded that the cost of €500 for setting up a company in Ireland far outweighs dealing with authorities in other jurisdictions.


New Member
Hi Richard/all, Did you finally set up the bussiness? I am living in France (resident in France) and looking to set up a sole trader business in Ireland (I am an Irish citizen) for Software development consulting services - I will be the only employee.
My questions:
1. Is sole trader the right business structure
2. Where do I pay social charges and how much?
3. Where do I pay income tax - I am pretty sure this is in my country of residence ie France
Any information/advice greatly received..


Frequent Poster
If you are living in France and working from France, you have your business in France.

Social charges where the work is performed.

You can expect to pay income tax in france, you may have to pay it elsewhere depending on the nature of your activities in other countries - you can expect though - usually - that the French income tax rate will be higher than elsewhere so the Fench marginal rate of tax % is your marginal tax %.

You need to talk to someone specialised in French VAT i.e. you need a local tax expert, if this will be your bread-and-butter income.