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Tax registration
In order to set up as a sole trader you must register as self-employed for income tax with the Revenue Commissioners - see “How to apply” below.

As a self-employed individual you pay tax under the self-assessment system. You pay Preliminary Tax (an estimate of tax due) on or before 31 October each year and make a tax return not later than 31 October following the end of the tax year. You must keep proper records to allow you to fill out your annual tax return.

Since 1 January 2011 the Universal Social Charge has replaced the health and income levies. You pay this directly to the Revenue Commissioners when you make your annual tax return.

You must keep accounts which record:
  • All purchases and sales of goods and services and
  • All amounts received and all amounts paid out
You must keep supporting records of the above such as invoices, bank and building society statements, cheque stubs, receipts etc.

You may claim certain business expenses against tax as well as your contributions to your personal pension.

Further information is available in the Revenue booklets IT 10 A Guide to Self Assessment and IT 48 Starting in Business (pdf).

You must register for Value Added Tax (VAT) if your annual turnover exceeds or is likely to exceed the following annual limits: €75,000 in respect of the supply of goods or €37,500 in respect of the supply of services.

To register with the Revenue Commissioners as a self-employed sole trader you must complete the tax registration form TR1 (pdf). This form can be also be used to register for VAT - see above. You will receive a “Notice of Registration” confirming that you are registered for income tax and, if applicable, for VAT.

When you register with the Revenue Commissioners you are automatically registered for Class S PRSI. For information on PRSI for the self-employed you can contact your local social welfare office or the Self-Employment Section of the Department of Social Protection.

If you are a self-employed subcontractor working in construction, forestry or meat processing you and the principal contractor must complete form RCT1 (pdf). To apply for a C2 you must complete form RCT5 (pdf).

For further information about the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance scheme contact the Employment Support Services of the Department of Social Protection.

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