Start Your Business Today: Entrepreneurship and Understanding Tax

Starting a business can be a daunting experience for any entrepreneur. One aspect of starting a business which is often overlooked by entrepreneurs is the tax compliance obligations set down in Irish tax legislation.

Unlike the majority of the working population in Ireland who receive a salary through PAYE employment and have their tax deducted at source by their employers, entrepreneurs are obliged under Revenue’s self assessment system to prepare tax returns, calculate their tax and pay this tax to Revenue by certain prescribed deadlines. These tasks can be time consuming and entrepreneurs should familiarize themselves with important tax filing and payment deadlines. Revenue’s website provides detailed information on the obligations of taxpayers starting a business. It is worth nothing that failure to meet these tax filing or payment deadlines can result in significant penalties and interest payments.

One of the first steps you should take when setting up a business is to register that business with Revenue. This is done by completing a tax registration form. On this form you will provide detailed information about your business to Revenue, in addition to deciding which tax heads your business is registering for (e.g. Income Tax, Value Added Tax, Corporation Tax, PREM). If you are setting up as a sole-trader, you will complete a Form TR1 and if you are setting up an incorporated company, you will complete a Form TR2. Both of these forms are available online on Revenue’s website and can be submitted through Revenues Online Service (“ROS”). If you are not already registered for ROS, you should complete this registration at the outset of your business venture. ROS will allow you to make tax payments and file all tax returns online. There is a ROS helpdesk where taxpayers can call to ask any questions on ROS or if they are having difficulties operating this service.

There are many tax questions an entrepreneur should ask themselves when setting up a business. If possible, it would be prudent to seek tax advice to ensure that all tax compliance obligations are being met. For example, one question that should be considered is whether the taxpayer should register for VAT. If you anticipate that your business’ turnover will be in excess of EUR 75,000 (supplying goods) or EUR 37,500 (supplying services) in a twelve month period you will breach the VAT registration threshold and you will be obliged to register for VAT, submit VAT returns and make VAT payments (if applicable) to Revenue. However, some types of business are considered “VAT exempt” and therefore there is no requirement to register for VAT, regardless of the business’ turnover. There are also significant VAT administrative responsibilities on the taxpayer, such as filing informational returns such as VIES returns, which deal with when a taxpayer makes cross-border supplies of goods or services from one EU member state to another.

In conclusion, there are significant tax obligations on an entrepreneur when starting a business. Keeping good books and records (e.g. sales and purchase invoices, bank statements) will ensure that proper accounts can be prepared for the business and this will assist in correct tax returns and payments being submitted to Revenue. While paying for tax advice at the outset of a business venture may seem like a costly expense a fledgling business can not afford, it is arguably a cost worth incurring to avoid becoming liable to Revenue surcharges, interest payments and penalties for failure to comply with what are oftentimes considered complex tax obligations. Many businesses only address tax compliance concerns when something goes wrong. This is the wrong approach to take. Start-up businesses should set time aside to consider their tax obligations. Revenue’s website is a good place to start:


The Importance of Elon Musk’s Announcement today

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Today marks the day of Elon Musk’s solar glass roof tiles finally go on sale. Musk will be rolling out to major styles “black glass smooth and textured will be first. Tuscan and French Slate in about six months”. This technology has captured the imagination of the world and seeks to reconfigure how the world is powered. This disruptive technology will revolutionize how energy is collected and stored forever! This is just one of a long list of innovations Musk has introduced to the world.  I chose to take a look at the life of Elon Musk for my second last blog post as he is a huge inspiration to me. And what better day to talk about him than on the day he launches one of his most innovative products to date!

Born in South-Africa in 1971, Musk was destined for great things. Founder and CEO of SpaceX, Neuralink and Tesla, Co-founding OpenAI, PayPal and SolarCity, Musk has achieved more in the last twenty years than a thousand people could in a lifetime. As of May 2017, his net worth stands at $15.2 billion. Elon Musk is beyond inspirational, not because he taught himself computer programming at the age of 12, or dropped out of grad school or even because his official salary for Tesla Motors is just $1 a year, I am inspired by his values. I write another eight week blog on his accomplishments and accolades but I would rather take a closer look at his problem solving abilities.

In an interview in 2015, Musk expressed his respect for the “First Principles Thinking” and advocated for people to move away from “reason by analogy”. He suggests we should boil things down to their simplest form…then work from there. This critical way of thinking dates back as far as Aristotle. Musk argues it “takes a lot more mental energy”, but the results can be groundbreaking!

Musk suggests that people focus too much on their experience and fail to build their reasoning from the ground up. He suggests;

“You look at the fundamentals and construct your reasoning from that and then see if you have a conclusion that works or doesn’t work. And it may or may not be different from what people have done in the past. It’s harder to think that way, though.”

Musk seeks to establish what is fundamentally true and then works on from that point. This is how he has managed to develop solutions for some of the most complex issues of the last twenty years. Vision and adaptability are key competencies to entrepreneurship and these are possessed in great quantities by Musk. The final competency which I believe is integral to entrepreneurship is perseverance. Musk believes in long hours and hard work. He suggests

“Work like hell. I mean you just have to put in 80 to 100 hour weeks every week. [This] improves the odds of success. If other people are putting in 40 hour work weeks and you’re putting in 100 hour work weeks, then even if you’re doing the same thing you know that….you will achieve in 4 months what it takes them a year to achieve.”

While this may be hard to hear, there is undoubtedly no substitute for hard work.




Ireland & Medicinal Marijuana

How will medicinal marijuana will be introduced in Ireland?

Vera Twomey, mother of Ava and medicinal marijuana advocate, began a camp out last week at the gates of Leinster House. This protest aimed at ensuring her seven year old daughter Ava, would receive access to cannabidiol (CBD) oil to treat her rare illness, Dravets syndrome. While this protest has received huge media coverage, it is only one, in a long-list of reports, articles and statements which suggest reform is imminent. Entrepreneurial opportunities will accompany legislative reform, but how will this product be introduced to the Irish market?

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So, How Will Medicinal Marijuana be Licensed?

According to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HRPA), treatment will soon be available to a limited number of medical conditions. Products containing CBD are not considered “controlled drugs” and can be provided under existing legislation. However, the HRPA state their is a lack of robust data and until this issue ratified, legislative reform cannot occur. The HRPA also recommend a monitored treatment program should be introduced for the first five years, should legislation be augmented.

Which Laws Dictate Use of Medicinal Marijuana?

  • Health Act (1947)
  • Poisons Act (1961)
  • Medical Preparations Regulations (1970)
  • Misuse of Drugs Act (1977,1984)
  • EU and other International Regulations
  • Criminal Justice Act (1994)

How Will Medicinal Marijuana be Introduced to Ireland?

No national government in Europe supports legalization of cannabis sale for recreational use, and all countries have prison sentences for illegal supply. However, several draft laws have been proposed to national parliaments in the last few years, as well as some initiatives in regions or cities that were rejected at national level.

Coffee Shops

In the Netherlands, coffee shops are outlets for the sale and (often on-site consumption) of cannabis, which started to appear in the 1970s. They are licensed by the municipality, and about two-thirds of Dutch municipalities do not allow them. There were 591 coffee shops in 2014, with nearly one third in Amsterdam; numbers have been falling since 2000. Sale and personal possession is punishable by imprisonment under Dutch law, but coffee shops are tolerated provided they adhere to strict criteria published in a directive of the public prosecutor. However, there is no toleration of production of the stock, creating a legal anomaly known in the Netherlands as the ‘back door problem’.

Cannabis Social Clubs

In a number of European countries, groups of users have formed ‘cannabis social clubs’. They claim that, in principle, if cultivation of one cannabis plant is tolerated for one person’s use, then 20 plants together might be tolerated for a club of 20 people. No national government in Europe accepts this, though some regions in Spain have attempted to pass regulations to limit the proliferation of such clubs. In 2015, the Spanish Supreme Court clearly stated that ‘organized, institutionalized and persistent cultivation and distribution of cannabis among an association open to new members is considered drug trafficking’.

GW Pharmaceuticals have recently taken over British Sugar’s 18-Hectare glasshouse in Norfolk and are currently attempting to patent strains of medicinal marijuana. The suspected UK Cannabis Boom may lead to untold medical, economic and social outcomes for the state which will undoubtedly have a knock on effect on Ireland’s legislative stalemate. As major and pharmaceutical companies and start-ups, such GreenLightMedicines, continue to put pressure on the Irish government reform has become an unavoidable outcome.

Increasing Blog Traffic: Simple, Effective Tips

An essential guide to increasing traffic through simple informed recommendations

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Increasing traffic is easy……Well, kind of!! I have scoured the internet in a bid to understanding the tools, techniques and competencies required to increase traffic and take one’s blog to the next level. Increasing traffic is like baking a cake, if you methodically follow a recipe (my proposed checklist), use quality ingredients (original content) and employ the appropriate skills and techniques (add on features and analytic tools) you blog WILL experience exponential growth!!

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I have created a checklist for Bloggers to re-evaluate posts before publication. Seven Deadly questions…..

  1. Is my content original?
  2. Have I created something that is of interest to other people and not just myself?
  3. Who am I trying to connect with? Age, Gender, nationality….
  4. How am I connecting with the reader? through humor, interesting facts, strong visuals, captivating quotes?
  5. Have I occupied on authoritative position on the topic in question? Do I need to reference stats or figures?
  6. Is my headline engaging?
  7. Have I optimized my post for search engines?

When you have analyzed and proofread your post and put the final aesthetic touches on your publication you should then consider these XXX things

  1. Are my tags appropriate?
  2. Is my content visible to search engines?
  3. Who’s post could I comment on to increase readership?
  4. Have I linked to appropriate blogs on my post?
  5. Which of my social media friends would be good advocates for sharing my post?


In this weeks post, I wanted to try and offer simple and effective t to improve the reach of your blog. If you are looking for a more advanced tutorial on growing traffic, you should check out