The verification of business partners regarding their status, credibility, and reliability is an extremely important element of a company’s security. In essence, the need to verify a contractor applies to recipients of goods or services, but it also includes suppliers, especially after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine when the European Union imposed high sanctions on trade and economic relations with entities placed on the blacklist due to the ongoing war. How to check a company from Ireland, a country that is one of the favorite destinations for the economic emigration of Polish workers?
Exercising due diligence in verifying a contractor:
In today’s times, it’s very easy to establish a company. In many countries, you can do it without leaving your home, through the internet. Therefore, you can never be sure who is really hiding behind the created name and entry in the register until you check it. Verification involves the commonly used actions in economic intelligence, primarily focusing on verifying the credibility and currency of the contractor’s documentation, such as the National Court Register (KRS), Tax Identification Number (NIP), National Official Business Register (REGON), as well as permits and certificates necessary for conducting a specific type of activity.
Verification can be done by obtaining information from the appropriate individuals and institutions, such as courts of registration, the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS), tax offices, or national and international chambers of commerce. It’s worth delving into the history of the business activity and its owners, including reviews about the company, by searching the internet or asking other entrepreneurs, contractors of the entity, or the interested party directly. It should be noted that failure to exercise due diligence in selecting a contractor carries legal consequences, such as being accused of knowingly participating in irregularities, resulting in further tax and legal sanctions.
Economic cooperation with Ireland:
Every year, trade between Ireland and Poland continues to grow. New business opportunities have opened up for Polish companies, especially after Brexit, when Ireland and Poland intensified their economic cooperation following the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union. Ireland offers a friendly market and low taxes (12.5% corporate income tax rate). Real GDP growth in Ireland reached 13.6% in 2021. In 2022, Ireland ranked 11th in the global competitiveness ranking, based on an assessment of its economic development, government efficiency, business performance, and available infrastructure. Ireland is experiencing dynamic growth in the pharmaceutical industry, the medical technology sector, and the IT industry. Ireland is one of the largest exporters of products in these three sectors.
Since both Poland and Ireland are part of the European Union, their economic relations are primarily regulated by EU law. In addition, one of the most important legal acts is the bilateral agreement on the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of tax evasion in the field of income taxes, dated November 13, 1995.
In the first 10 months of 2022, Irish exports to Poland amounted to EUR 1.191 billion, while imports reached EUR 1.025 billion in the entire year 2022 – compared to EUR 720 million worth of Polish imports in 2021. This represents a significant 42% year-on-year growth. Poland is Ireland’s 7th partner in terms of both imports and exports. Ireland ranks 22nd among foreign investors in Poland.
National and EU Sanctions
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, although maintaining military neutrality, Ireland condemns Russia and supports the European Union’s imposed restrictions and bans on this country. On June 23, 2023, the European Union imposed its 11th package of sanctions on Russia. Poland also imposes its additional sanctions. These sanctions target key individuals in Russia, as well as companies from both Russia and Belarus. Trading goods and services with Russian and Belarusian companies is prohibited. Polish entrepreneurs face a financial penalty of up to 20 million PLN and up to 15 years of imprisonment for violating this ban. However, Russian and Belarusian entrepreneurs have learned to circumvent international restrictions. They use complex holding structures established in other countries, where it is difficult to detect the true ownership structure.
Detailed information regarding the types of economic transactions subject to EU sanctions with Belarus and Russia can be found on the European Council’s websites: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/. The list of individuals and entities subject to sanctions can be found in the Official Journal of the European Union at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A02014R0269-20220721. The Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration also maintains an up-to-date register of entities subject to sanctions, where you can check the contractor, their connections, reasons for inclusion in the register, and applied sanctions: https://www.gov.pl/web/mswia/lista-osob-i-podmiotow-objetych-sankcjami.
The first step in checking a company from Ireland is to see if it is listed in any of the above-mentioned registers. Useful information can also be found in the Council Regulation (EU) 2022/576 of April 8, 2022, amending Regulation (EU) No 833/2014 concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia’s destabilizing actions in Ukraine.
Economic Intelligence – How to Verify a Contractor from Ireland?
Verification of a contractor can be entrusted to a professional economic intelligence agency that specializes in carrying out such tasks. A private detective in Warsaw, Poznań, Wrocław, or other cities will know how to access the necessary information to verify the current or future contractor.
The most important way to verify a contractor and their potential connections with Belarus or Russia is to establish the entity that is their ultimate beneficiary and then check if it is listed on the sanctions list maintained by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration. These findings can be made in the Central Register of Beneficial Owners held by the Minister of Finance: https://crbr.podatki.gov.pl/adcrbr/#/wyszukaj.
A publicly accessible way to obtain information about a contractor is to search the resources of the internet. You can verify a company, check if it has a website, what opinions exist about it, and you may come across some publications about it. If you don’t want to do this on your own for certainty, you can entrust this task to a research agency specializing in professional economic intelligence. There are more sources of information than just the World Wide Web. For example, you can contact the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Dublin to inquire about a specific entity or whether complaints from other entrepreneurs have reached them regarding the Irish contractor. Perhaps, according to the knowledge of the diplomatic mission, the Irish contractor has a bad reputation? Similar information can be provided by Polish-Irish chambers of commerce.
Direct Inquiry to the Contractor
In case there are difficulties in determining the ownership structure of a business partner using the available registers, another method of verification as part of economic intelligence is to directly contact them to confirm who their ultimate beneficiary is. Of course, to validate the response, you can request the Irish entrepreneur to provide documents confirming their declarations.
Polish and EU Registries
In the bulletin of public information from the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology, as the minister responsible for the economy, a registry of representations of foreign entrepreneurs is maintained. If we find our contractor’s representation in this registry, we can assume that they still exist and are conducting business.
Another such registry where you can check a contractor is the European Union VAT taxpayer registry and the EORI registry. Companies and individuals wishing to engage in commercial activities within the European Union must use an EORI number. This is an identification number required in all customs procedures. The VAT Information Exchange System (VIES), an online tool operated by the European Commission, allows you to check if a particular entity is registered for intra-community transactions. This is essential, among other things, to apply a 0% VAT rate to a transaction. If VIES does not confirm the contractor’s registration, you can request verification from the tax authority of the country where they are based. It is also advisable to check if the company has the necessary permits and certificates, if required in a particular country.
The Debtors Register allows you to check whether a particular contractor is listed. There are also economic information bureaus that have detailed information about business activities. BIK, the Credit Information Bureau established by the Polish Bank Association, collects data on the credit history of bank customers, credit unions, and even non-banking loan companies.
Irish Company Registries
The main source of data about foreign entrepreneurs is their national registries, equivalent to the Polish CEIDG and KRS. The official Irish registry is CRO, maintained by the Companies Registration Office. It collects the documents required by Irish law and basic information about companies, such as address, date of establishment, and the date of the last submitted annual report. All documents submitted by companies in accordance with company laws are publicly available. Company profiles can be purchased. Initial searches by name or company number are free and do not require registration. To obtain more detailed information, such as the previous name of the company, registered office, company profile, registration details, annual returns, directors, and a list of all notices received or registered, you need to pay: https://www.cro.ie/en-ie/.
The Intellectual Property Office of Ireland maintains a registry of patents, including title, patent summary, and information about the applicant’s address. This provides basic information about registered patents and their owners: https://eregister.ipoi.gov.ie/query/PTQuery.aspx.
In addition to the above registries, information about contractors can be found in commercial services, such as “Kompany,” which provides access to official and reliable information from trade registers, including company submissions: https://companyregister.kompany.com/. Similarly, “SoloCheck.ie” is a paid service that offers access to detailed information about companies, such as financial reports, company addresses, the business history of an Irish company director: https://www.solocheck.ie/firstChoiceIrishCompanyInfo.jsp.
It’s Better to Verify Your Contractor Thoroughly
Before conducting a transaction or establishing cooperation with an Irish contractor, it’s better to conduct economic intelligence and thoroughly check them, especially for any connections to Belarus or Russia. Violating the bans imposed on certain types of transactions with these countries and specific individuals and companies can result in a financial penalty of up to 20 million PLN and a prison sentence of 3 to 15 years. In addition, verifying your contractor and exercising due diligence in their selection are always requirements when conducting business activities, imposed on entrepreneurs as professional market participants.
Do you now know how to check a company from Ireland? If not, or if you need to find more detailed information, we can assist you. Please feel free to contact us.