Irish Retail Business Licences
When thinking about starting a new retail business in Ireland, there are a few steps you’ll need to take before you can get up and running.
To get you on track, Enterprise Ireland offers all kinds of useful resources for those looking to start their own small business, so take some time to take a look through their website during your early phase of planning.
Once you have come up with a great name, created your business plan, and figured out how you’re going to fund it all, you’ll need to take a few regulatory steps next.
Find out more about Irish retail business licences and requirements.
Registering your business
First, decide on the structure of your business; whether you’ll be a sole trader or a limited company for example, then get your business registered with the Companies Registration Office.
This is quite straightforward, you just need to complete the correct form for your chosen business structure and send off your registration fee. You’ll need their certificate of registration before you can move forward.
RBN1: Individual Current fee: Paper form €40.00, Online form €20.00
RBN1A: Partnership Current fee: Paper form €40.00, Online form €20.00
A1: Limited Company Current fee: Online only €50.00
Next, you’ll need to find out if there are any other requirements to legally operate your business, such as licences or permits. The exact requirements will depend on your chosen sector, and you may need more than one type of licence in order to operate your business. Some businesses don’t require any additional licencing.
More details below regarding the types of licences you might need, how much they cost, and how to apply.
Irish licences and permits
Business permits and licenses are provided by local authorities or regulatory bodies.
Irish Point of Single Contact is a useful resource to find out which licences are required for each type of business, and where to apply.
Applying for a licence or permit can be a lengthy process, so it’s a good idea to get an early start with your applications. You’ll need to have everything in place before you can start trading.
Types of licence
These are the main types of businesses that require additional licencing, although there are a few miscellaneous areas, to so be sure to check the requirements for your exact business.
- Food supply
- Tobacco and alcohol
- Tourism and hospitality
- General excise
Not all business licences will apply to all businesses. Retailers who sell food and alcohol will need to be particularly thorough; these are the most highly regulated sectors.
Here’s an overview of the main requirements:
Any business that prepares, serves or delivers food is required to register with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) – the regulatory body that governs food safety and compliance. You’ll need to be registered with the FSAI and adhere to their strict standards. They will also carry out regular inspections of your business. Find out more about their recommendations for new businesses: https://www.fsai.ie/food_businesses/starting_business.html
There are currently no costs involved in registering your food business. If you have a food truck however, you’ll need additional licencing:
Restaurants wishing to sell alcohol are also subject to additional licencing, detailed below.
Alcohol manufacturing and sales carry restrictions and are regulated by Revenue. Alcohol sales must adhere to Minimum Unit Pricing regulations, and alcohol can currently only be sold by Irish retailers until 10pm daily. Check out this handy MUP calculator.
There are several possible retail licences required, depending on individual circumstances, including the following:
Wine Retailer’s On Licence allows for the sale of wine, sherry and other liquors containing less than 23% alcohol. The licence is confined to premises deemed a ‘Refreshment House’. The cost is €500.00 per year.
Restaurant Certificate allows premises that serve a substantial meal (one that costs more than €9) to serve alcohol 1 hour after normal opening hours if it accompanies that meal. A Limited Restaurant Certificate allows a limited part of pub to have the same exemption). Apply via the district court: District Court Fees.
Special Restaurant Licence The holder of a Special Restaurant Licence may sell for consumption in their restaurant. They may not have a bar on the premises and other non-alcoholic beverages, including drinking water, must be available. A new licence costs €3,805 and renewal is €500.
Retailer’s Off Licence: Allows the retailer to sell alcohol in smaller quantity (large sales require a Wholesale Dealer’s Licence). This is for sealed containers and off-site consumption only. In addition, specific licences may be required:
- Wine Retailer’s Off Licence
- Beer Retailer’s Off Licence
- Spirit Retailer’s Off Licence
- Cider Retailer’s Off Licence
- Sweets Retailer’s Off Licence
The cost of each licence is €500.
Special Exemption Order allows the licence holder to serve alcohol outside of usual opening hours for consumption on the premises, up to 2:30am. Applications are lodged via the local District Court. The court fee for each SEO is €300, and an excise duty of €110 per application is also payable to the Revenue Commissioners.
The application fee is €50.
All types of accommodation businesses require a registration permit via the National Tourism Development Authority.
Additionally, a Hotel Licence is required to allow the sale of alcohol, at a cost of €250 for the first licence. Future licences fees are based on the turnover of the business.
Fuel traders must hold a valid Auto Fuel Trader’s Licence (AFTL) Auto Fuel Trader’s Licence (AFTL), obtained via Revenue.
Estate Agents & Auctioneers Licence: Property Services Registration Authority
Employment permits: Employment Permits Online
Patents, trademarks, designs, copyright: Intellectual Property Office of Ireland
Music and Singing Licence (Public): Courts Service
Irish licence and permit requirements are updated regularly, so go to Gov.ie and check the exact requirements for your chosen business when the time comes. Apply as early as possible for registrations, licences and permits, as the processing times can often be lengthy.
Check out the current supports for Irish entrepreneurs here: https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/what-we-do/the-business-environment/entrepreneurship-/.
And if you do decide to start your own Irish retail business, our team at Retail Solutions can help take care of your EPOS (point of sale) needs, to help you manage and control your business.
Got a question for us? Ask one of our experts: Contact us!
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About the author:
Susan McGuire is originally from London, United Kingdom, and has now lived in Galway, Ireland, for 15 years. She has been with Retail Solutions for almost 7 of those, and during that time has enjoyed various roles within the areas of Maintenance, Finance, & Marketing. You can follow her on LinkedIn!