Companies House maintains data about all UK limited companies, including the home addresses of company directors. The concept of the ‘service address’ affords privacy to individuals who wish to keep their residential address private.
What is a service address?
In October 2009, as part of the widespread reforms introduced by the Companies Act 2006, the Government introduced a new requirement for directors and certain other individuals – to provide 2 addresses.
- a usual residential address
- a correspondence address, known as a ‘service address’
Importantly, only the service address appears on the searchable public record, protecting your residential address, if this is required.
You must still provide Companies House with your home address (for use by credit reference agencies and certain authorities such as the police), but only your service address will appear online.
Does a service address have to be a real physical address?
According to the legislation:
a “service address”, in relation to a person, means an address at which documents may be effectively served on that person.
So, it must be a physical address where official paperwork can be delivered.
Does a service address have to be in the UK?
No, although a limited company’s registered office address must be in the UK, there is no requirement for a director’s service address to be in the UK.
Who has to provide a service address?
You have to provide Companies House with a service address (as well as your residential address, if different) if you are:
- a company director
- a company secretary
- a member of an LLP
- a Person with Significant Control (PSC)
- a subscriber (i.e. a shareholder or guarantor)
Can I change my service address?
Yes, you can do this at any time. Simply imform Companies House of the change within 14 days. You can do this online (WebFiling), or use form CH01 if you’re a limited company director.
What about my company’s registered office address?
Your company’s registered office address is a separate piece of information, although it may be the same as your usual residential address, your service address – or another address completely.
Many contractors opt to use a third party to provide their registered office address, as well as a service address for directors (see below).
Using a third party address service to provide privacy
Yes, there are various options available to company owners, such as:
- You use your accountant’s address (a popular option). This service might be included in their monthly fee, or for a modest monthly charge (perhaps £5).
- You use your company formation agent’s redirection service (all official post is scanned to your email). This tends to be inexpensive. Our formation partner, 1st Formations, charges a mere £26 per director per year for this service.
You’d typically pay a third party to provide the registered office address as we as service addresses for directors at the same time, for obvious reasons.
Can I remove my home address from previous filings?
Yes, if you’ve provided your home address previously, you can apply to have this data updated on the public record, thanks to the Companies (Disclosure of Address) (Amendment) Regulations 2018
It costs £32 to update your home address for each document you select. If you’re no longer a company officer or the company has been dissolved, then Companies House will only delete part of the address, and half the postcode.
Importantly, you cannot retrospectively change your company’s registered office address, even if you used your home address for this purpose.
Find out more here.
Professional Service Address Service – 1st Formations
1st Formations can provide a service address service for directors (and also for your company address if required). This service costs just £26 per director per year.
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