Inter Departmental Business Register

Details and background of the IDBR, which contains information on all businesses in the UK which are VAT registered and/or operating a PAYE scheme.

Key Results 

  • The number of VAT and/or PAYE registered businesses operating in Northern Ireland in 2022 is estimated to have risen by 1,245 (1.6%) since 2021, to 78,885.  This marked the eighth consecutive year of increase following a period of decline from 2008 to 2014.
  • Construction businesses witnessed the largest increase from 2021, increasing by 365 businesses or 3.4%. It was also the largest number observed in this sector since 2011. The largest increase in percentage terms was in the Accommodation and food services sector, which saw an increase of 5.3% (225 businesses) on the previous year.
  • Over the 10 years since 2012, the number of businesses in the Production sector has increased by 29% (1,235), whilst Retail saw a decrease of 6.2% (405) over the same period.  Wholesale businesses saw a small decline of 0.3% (-10) over the 10 years whilst, overall, the Service sector saw an increase of 17% (6,335).
  • The geographical spread of businesses across the 11 district council areas in Northern Ireland remained relatively unchanged, with Belfast having the highest number of businesses (11,405 or 14%) and, Antrim and Newtownabbey with the least number of businesses (4,315 or 5.5%).  Antrim and Newtownabbey was also the only district council area where the number of businesses decreased over the year (45 businesses or 1.0%). 
  • Of those businesses operating in Northern Ireland, 2.5% (1,995 businesses) were owned by an enterprise registered outside of Northern Ireland.  These businesses accounted for almost one-quarter of employees. The percentage of Northern Ireland owned businesses remains unchanged (97%) since March 2021.
  • The Business Demography Northern Ireland 2020 results estimate that 6,375 businesses were newly registered on the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) in Northern Ireland over the 12 months to December 2020. This amounts to a birth rate (proportion of active businesses) of 9.9%.
  • Estimates show that there were 4,900 business deaths (businesses deregistered from the IDBR) in Northern Ireland during December 2020. This is a decrease of 485 businesses on the previous year and amounts to a death rate of 7.6%.
  • The number of business births was greater than the number of business deaths for all district council areas across Northern Ireland in 2020.
  • Business births increased over the year in Retail; Wholesale; Transport and storage; Business administration and support services; and in the Finance and insurance industry. Business births decreased, or remained unchanged, for all other industries, including Construction, which fell for the third consecutive year.

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IDBR Background Information


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