Many Irish companies feel the need to launch a branch of their business in Northern Ireland. This post will go through the steps needed when an Irish business opens a branch in NI.

What Is A Branch?

A branch is just an extended part of a company and it is not separated legally from that company. Only big corporations for example – limited companies can launch a branch. Provided that, businesses for example – sole proprietors and partnerships cannot launch a branch. The term used for a branch in the UK is “permanent establishment” or “UK establishment” and the Irish business is known as the “overseas company”.

Registration Of A Branch In Northern Ireland

Registering a branch in Northern Ireland is very simple. To start registration, the Irish company should deliver a complete statutory form OS IN01 to the United Kingdom Companies House along with a certified document of the business’s constitution and the registration fee. If needed, the company may also include a document of the company’s recent accounts.

After Registration

Just like the processes of the statutory filings, the UK companies House should be informed about any changes about the information provided in accordance to the branch or the Irish company.

As per the Irish Company Law, the accounting copies along with the statutory form OS AA01 and a fee should be sent to the Companies House within 3 months from the date when the registration processes began. Failure to send the accounting copies to the Company’s House in three months would result in a criminal offence against the director, who was in charge in these 3 month period.

Company Name Sign

A company that continues doing business in NI must incessantly display a signboard that includes its company name (the name that is listed at Companies House) and the name of the country in which the company was formed at:

  • Every places in NI where the company continues its business (except if it is mainly used for  accommodation or if it is likely to attract violence objections);
  • Every resident in NI or the UK are authorized to receive document of service from the company.

Tax Implications

It is advised to look for specialized tax advice when launching a branch in NI since the Irish company is going to be held liable for UK tax on the profits and gains made doing business in UK. Just like an Irish company is bound to pay tax on its international gains and incomes, the gains/profits of the UK branch likewise would be taxable in Ireland; nevertheless, since the company has already paid taxes on its UK branch, the company will not have to pay double tax in Ireland as per the Irish Law.

Keeping Compliant

The procedure to launch a branch in NI for an Irish Company is quiet straight-forward. Once opened, the company should make sure that the branch remains yielding in both Northern Ireland and Ireland. When considering the launch of a branch, it is recommended to completely understand the duties and liabilities of the branch and to consult professional tax and legal advice.