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 2023 is estimated to have risen by 350 (0.4%) since March 2022, to 79,235.  This marked the ninth consecutive year of increase following a period of decline from 2008 to 2014.
  • The number of businesses in Production has fallen over the year to March 2023 (75 or 1.4%), which is the first time this industry has seen a decline since 2013. The number of businesses in Services increased slightly by 0.3% (130), the smallest increase since 2015, whilst the number of businesses in Construction remained unchanged since 2022.
  • 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 (11,300 or 14%) and, Antrim and Newtownabbey with the least number of businesses (4,220 or 5.3%). 
  • Of those businesses operating in Northern Ireland, 2.6% (2,065 businesses) were owned by an enterprise registered outside of Northern Ireland.  These businesses accounted for almost one-quarter of employees. The number of non-locally-owned businesses operating in Northern Ireland has increased by a third over the 10 years since 2013. The comparable number of employees increased by 6.9%.
  • Since 2013, the total number of registered businesses operating in Northern Ireland has increased by 17%. This increase was driven by a 19% increase in Services.  However, within Services, Retail businesses declined by 3.5% (220), whilst Information and communication grew by 51% (735).
  • The Business Demography Northern Ireland 2021 results estimate that 6,655 businesses were newly registered on the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) in Northern Ireland over the 12 months to December 2021. This amounts to a birth rate (proportion of active businesses) of 10.3%.
  • There were 5,200 business deaths in Northern Ireland in 2021, an increase of 24.6% on the previous year. The death rate increased by 1.3 pps over the year to 8.0%.
  • The number of business births was greater than the number of deaths for all district council areas across Northern Ireland in 2021, except Antrim and Newtownabbey.
  • Business birth and death rates were highest for the Transport and storage industry, and lowest in Health.
  • Northern Ireland had the highest 5-year survival rate of the four UK regions for registered businesses in 2016.

Current Publications and IDBR Tables

User Consultation

IDBR Background Information


Most recent documents

Contacts for Inter Departmental Business Register