Q&A: Can the US citizen spouse of an Irish citizen work for a US company remotely?

I received an email a few days ago from a reader who had a concern about working remotely in Ireland for a US company. I have some personal experience with this exact situation, so I was able to provide an answer that was to the reader's liking. Below you will find the text of that conversation.

Hello, I know that US citizens can get residency and right to work in Ireland through their Irish citizen spouses. Is there a way for them to continue to work for their US company remotely from Ireland even if the US company has no office in Ireland? Would they need to establish as a self employed person in Ireland and treat the US company as a client that they are a contractor for? Many thanks for your help and for this great resource. Kevin

Hi Kevin,

Assuming the US citizen is eligible to reside in Ireland, then the answer to your question is most certainly yes. I answer yes based on first hand experience of doing this. When I first moved back to Ireland from the US in 2006, I continued to work for my US employer from a home-office in Ireland.

There may be many ways to go about receiving payment from the US company, but the way I did it was through a staffing agency that had offices in both countries. I was paid from the Irish branch of the staffing agency, in Euro currency, and the company I worked for paid the US branch for my services.

Alternatively, there are other ways to receive payment similar to what you mentioned. You could register as a self-employed person and invoice the company directly. They could then pay you through various mediums such as PayPal or CurrencyFair.

It's important to note, that as an Irish resident, you would then pay income tax in Ireland, even though you are still working for the US office. In addition, as you are probably already aware, you would still need to file an annual US tax return, as is required of all US citizens.

I hope this helps.

Best regards,
Liam

Home office image credit: flickr/smemon

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4 Helpful Comments

  1. Profile photo of N Wallace

    Liam,

    Hoping you can provide clarification on my issue. We are US citizens and through my Firm, I’ve been offered an opportunity to work in their Dublin office for the next 2 years. My wife and I will obtain a PPS # and register with the GNIB, however my Firm will only assist me with obtaining a work permit.

    After reading several posts in this Forum and researching job opportunities for my wife, it appears employment with a sponsoring company, etc will be a huge challenge in Ireland. Her current employer has offered her an opportunity to work remotely while we are abroad. The expectation is that her employer will continue to wire deposits for compensation into her US bank account. We plan to live off my annual salary while in Ireland, and if ever needed, wire funds to our Irish bank account (we’ll be sure to keep acct balance under $10k based on some other posts I read).

    All that said, (1) I would think my wife is not required to obtain any sort of work permit in Ireland, correct? (2) I’ll file an Irish tax return and US tax return, likely married filed single. And I would assume my wife would just file a US tax return only. Would we be expected for her to also file an Irish tax return?

    • Profile photo of Liam

      Hi N Wallace,
      To answer question 1: your wife cannot legally work in Ireland without an Irish permit. Even if it is remotely for a US company.
      2. Most Irish people don’t typically file tax returns. They can, but it’s not like the system in the US. Usually deductions etc are set up on initial employment, and people leave it at that. You would be required to meet both Irish & US tax obligations.
      I hope this helps,
      Liam

      • Profile photo of N Wallace

        Thanks Liam! Do you know which work permit would need to be applied for if she’s working remotely?

        • Profile photo of Liam

          Unless that company has an Irish base, and is willing to sponsor her employment, then there really isn’t a permit. If her role falls under the critical skills permit requirements, she may be able to go that route, but I’m pretty certain it would need to be for employment based in Ireland, not for a company with no Irish operation.

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