When you apply to Companies House to form a company for the first time, you’ll have to provide a number of addresses, the most important one being your registered office address.
As Section 86 of the Companies Act 2006 states: “a company must at all times have a registered office to which all communications and notices may be addressed.”
This is the official headquarters or home address of your limited company or limited liability partnership and will appear on the public record. In this article, we look at your various options when it comes to choosing a registered office address, plus any requirements and restrictions that may apply.
The registered address of the company must be in the same jurisdiction as where you establish your limited company or LLP, namely England & Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
If you set up a company in England & Wales, the registered office address can be in either country, however, if you are setting up a Welsh company only, you must provide a registered office address in Wales.
You can change your registered address at any time, provided it is within the same jurisdiction.
The exception to this is if your company is registered in England & Wales. In this case, you can change the registered office address between the two jurisdictions.
You must provide a physical address for the company, including a mailing address with postcode. You’re allowed to use a PO Box address, as long as you provide a postcode. You can’t use a PO Box number only, a Legal Post number (LP), or a DX number.
Your registered office address is made available to the public on the official register of companies at Companies House. You can use your home address as the registered office address, but it’s worth giving this some thought.
Using your private address means clients, suppliers and anyone else can turn up on your door unannounced to discuss business matters.
And if you live in rented accommodation, there may well be a clause in your agreement to say you can’t register a business to this address.
For all of the above reasons, many choose to protect their privacy by providing an alternative registered office address.
Options include using an accountant’s or solicitor’s address, or one provided by a company formations service who will forward mail on to you. Note that they will charge a fee for this service.
Most contractor accountants will happily provide their office address for your company’s use. Alongside the privacy this offers you, it also makes a lot of sense, as your accountant will typically deal with any official correspondence sent to your company.
Mail to your registered office address
Your company’s registered office address is where all statutory, legal and other important documents are sent by the likes of HMRC, the Government Gateway, Companies House, and other official bodies.
The type of mail you receive will include your annual confirmation statement, notice to deliver your company tax and VAT returns, legal notices, any penalties for late-filing and information about or changes to PAYE and national insurance contributions.
Any request to inspect statutory records and LLP registers will also be sent to this address.
You can only provide one registered office address for your company. As stated above, this may not be the address where you work or trade from but the one that appears on the public record and the address to where all statutory and legal mail is sent.
What’s a service address?
As part of the company formation process, all company directors and LLP members also have to provide a service address. This is the contact address used by HMRC, Companies House and other official bodies to send out statutory and legal mail to individual directors rather than to the company.
Your service address is also made available to the public on the Companies House register. As such, you can again choose to protect your privacy by using your accountant’s address, or a similar service.