AGN Live Country Guides

Doing Business in the Republic of Ireland

Published in December 2017

The Republic of Ireland (usually referred to as "Ireland")is a sovereign state in north-western Europe. The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the eastern part of the island, and whose metropolitan area is home to around a third of the country's 4.75 million inhabitants.

Ireland is a unitary, parliamentary republic. The legislature consists of a lower house and an upper house, and an elected President who serves as the largely ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach (Prime Minister).

Ireland ranks among the top twenty-five wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita, and as the tenth most prosperous country in the world according to The Legatum Prosperity Index 2015. After joining the EEC, Ireland's rapid economic growth earned it the name of 'Celtic Tiger'.  The global financial crisis of 2008 stalled Irelands growth however, as the Irish economy was the fastest growing in the EU in 2015, Ireland is again quickly ascending league tables comparing wealth and prosperity internationally.

In 2015, Ireland was ranked as the joint sixth (with Germany) most developed country in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index. It also performs well in several national performance metrics, including freedom of the press, economic freedom and civil liberties. Ireland is a member of the European Union and is a founding member of the Council of Europe and the OECD.

The activities of multinational companies based in Ireland have made it one of the largest exporters of pharmaceutical agents, medical devices and software-related goods and services in the world. Ireland's exports also relate to the activities of large Irish companies (such as Ryanair, Kerry Group and Smurfit Kappa Group) and exports of mineral resources: Ireland is big producer of zinc and lead concentrates. The country also has significant deposits of gypsum, limestone, and smaller quantities of copper, silver, gold, barite, and dolomite. Tourism in Ireland contributes about 3.8% of GDP (2016) and is a significant source of employment.

Other goods exports include agri-food, cattle, beef, dairy products, and aluminium. Ireland's major imports include data processing equipment, chemicals, petroleum and petroleum products, textiles, and clothing. Financial services provided by multinational corporations based at the Irish Financial Services Centre also contribute to Irish exports.

In 2016, Ireland exported $128B and imported $75.2B, resulting in a positive trade balance of $52.9B. In the same year the GDP of Ireland was $294B and its GDP per capita was $68.9k. The top import origins of Ireland are the United Kingdom ($22.9B), the United States ($9.6B), Germany ($6.53B), the Netherlands ($3.7B) and France ($3.18B).

The EU is by far the country's largest trading partner, accounting for approximately 50% of exports and 60% of imports.

Irish culture has had a significant influence on other cultures, especially in the fields of literature. Alongside mainstream Western culture, a strong indigenous culture exists, as expressed through Gaelic games, Irish music, and the Irish language. The culture of the island also shares many features with that of Great Britain, including the English language, and sports such as association football, rugby, horse racing, and golf.

This portal incorporates live data feeds from:

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
The World Bank
The observatory of Economic Complexity

The intention is to provide access to live information extracted from the regularly refreshed databases maintained by these organisations.




Use the navigation buttons below to access to more live data:
Inflation, Development indicators, Exports, Trade Balance, and more.

OECD Country Comparison Portal

The window below is a direct feed of regularly updated information from the OECD. It provides data concerning everything from GDP growth, fiscal balance, investment, and unemployment rates to consumption, import volume and export volume. The window allows comparisons between Ireland and other countries of the OECD average for these factors.

Inflation (CPI)

Total, Annual growth rate (%)

World Bank Development Indicators


This graph is taken from The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC). Products, represented by rectangles, are drawn from the 775 individual product classes found in the Standardized International Trade Code.

This graph shows volumes of goods exported from Ireland.


This graph is taken from The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC). Products, represented by rectangles, are drawn from the 775 individual product classes found in the Standardized International Trade Code.

This graph shows volumes of goods imported into Ireland.

Trade Balance

This graph is taken from The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC).

This graph illustrates the subsequent trade balance of exports and imports to and from Ireland.


This graph is taken from The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC).

This graph shows the destinations of goods and services by country.


Business Opportunities in Europe:


Emmanuel Macron took office as the President of France on 14 May 2017, becoming the youngest president in French history and youngest head of state since Napoleon. His victory was based on a manifesto of significant social and economic reform. As his program has started to take effect, Macron has been hailed as having re-launched the French economy as an attractive destination for foreign direct investment – the so called “Macron Effect”.

find the firm best prepared to serve you


Foreign Currency Loans became very popular a few years ago. Depending on the currency they potentially offered consumers and companies low interest rates, at attractive exchange rates. But recent experience has shown they can become a problem where they have been sold to consumers and small firms that may not be familiar with the potential pitfalls of such sudden changes in exchange rates. Many legacy loans are still active and still causing problems.

There are professional ways to hand foreign currency loans through Managed Currency Mortgages. A successful currency manager will move the borrower's debt into a currency which subsequently falls in value against the base currency.

For more information about how to hand foreign currency loans through Managed Currency Mortgages, contact an AGN member that can help you.


The Knowledge Development Box in Ireland – 6.25% Corporate Tax Rate.    

The Knowledge Development Box (KDB) in Ireland provides for a 6.25% tax rate on profits derived from patented or other protected inventions and certain copyright software.

For more information about how to take advantage of this opportunity, contact the AGN firm best prepared to help you.

Tax Publications

The AGN European Region produces annual tax brochures that compare taxes among European countries. Interesting comparisons from year to year give insight into trends.

These surveys are available by report type and year.

Learn more

The AGN Europe Taxation Task Force produces annual Tax Brochures. These contain tables that show the main aspects of a tax that are easily and quickly compared between the European Countries participating in the surveys. There is also a graph comparing the most important data, and an article with an overview of the European situation. These brochures are available in electronic format and have been designed so you can easily print them in-house if you prefer. Members and clients refer to the brochures as useful overview of key Tax data in Europe.

Corporate Tax 2017

European Countries Comparison

The 2017 corporate tax survey covers most European countries (including Turkey) and aims to calculate the effective corporate tax payable using a model profit and loss account for a standard trading company with pre-tax accounting profit of € 930,000.00. It also calculates the dividend receivable by shareholders of a company resident in a non-treaty (tax haven) country. Additionally the percentage of accounting profit received as dividend is shown under different assumptions.

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Gift & Inheritance 2017

European Countries Comparison

Inheritance and Gift taxes are often overlooked when deciding which jurisdiction to relocate to, so those individuals who do not want a considerable part of their savings to be left to the State must consider the impact of these taxes and any related tax planning opportunities that may arise.
The objective of the survey was to compare levels of inheritance tax payable based on a married individual who died without a valid Will on January 1, 2017, leaving a surviving spouse and two children. The assets owned at death were: a house worth €600.000, cash of €1.000.000, quoted company shares valued at €300.000 and unquoted company shares valued at €700.000 (total asset value €2.600.000).

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Parent Companies 2017

European Countries Comparison

Parent companies are used to hold participation in group companies, to collect dividends and make capital gains from the sale of subsidiaries in the most tax efficient way. The objective of the survey of parent company jurisdictions is to compare and contrast the conditions for the exemption of dividends and capital gains and to try to identify the most useful and flexible jurisdiction to place the parent company. The tax calculations are based on a standard profit and loss account and balance sheet with subsidiaries in France, Germany, USA and Switzerland.

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Salaries & Social Security Tax 2017

European Countries Comparison

The objective of the survey is to establish how much of an employee’s gross salary is left after income tax and social security charges. It also calculates the employer’s social charges allowing comparison of the cost of employment to an employer. The survey is based on a married individual with two children, annual gross salary of €100,000, a company car costing €40,000 when new, and paying annual mortgage interest of €7,500.
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Self Employed Tax 2017

European Countries Comparison

The objective of the self employed survey is to establish how much of a self employed person’s gross salary is left after income tax and social security charges. In addition, the survey considers what deductions the self employed person is allowed to make when calculating taxable profits. The survey is based on a married individual with two children, annual gross turnover of €130,000, a new car costing €40,000, a new computer costing €2,000, travel expenses of €10,000 and other business expenses of €8,000 leaving net turnover of €100,000.
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VAT 2017

European Countries Comparison

Not only is it a condition of membership of the EU for all member states to have VAT but also for its main characteristics to be uniformly implemented. This should make cross border trading easy but in practice does not as there are numerous local variations which can lead to costly errors, penalties and high compliance costs.

The objective of the AGN Europe VAT survey is to collate data about the main characteristics of VAT as it is implemented in the European Region jurisdictions and to try to highlight the key differences between them. It also acts as the basis for the VAT Survey Brochure, which is a useful reference source in respect of some of the main components of the VAT system.
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Online tax surveys are also created every year which contain some additional data to the brochures; if you want to see the latest version of these, please contact Marlijn Lawson or click here.

AGN News in Europe:

October 2018

AGN welcomes new member firm in Ukraine: ACTIV-AUDIT

Audit company "ACTIVE-AUDIT" was founded in 2000 in Kiev (Ukraine) and for more than 18 years has been providing various types of audit services, starting with the audit of financial statements of enterprises and banks, ending with the audit of the information security management system.

learn more
September 2018

AGN EMEA board welcomes new UK director

Martin Gibbs, Managing Partner of Coventry (UK) based member firm Dafferns LLP has been co-opted by the AGN EMEA regional Board.  

learn more

AGN Firms in the country

Duignan Carthy O'Neill
84 Northumberland Road
Dublin D04 PY94
Time Zone:
Phone: (+353 1) 668 2404