Whether you’re setting up a new business, relocating, or expanding, securing a registered office address is an important item on any entrepreneur’s to-do list.
In this blog post, we explain why it’s so important to have a registered office address (including what this means for online and mobile businesses), as well as briefly exploring the pros and cons of using a PO Box service. We also steer you in the right direction if you’re currently in the process of getting a London-based registered office address for your business.
Why does my business need a registered office address?
First and foremost, having a registered office address is a legal requirement for any limited company or partnership in the UK according to Section 86 of the Companies Act 2006.
This address must be a physical address in the UK with a building number and postcode, and be in the same country the company is registered in. So, if you’ve got a business that will be registered in London, for example, you’ll need the registered office address to be in England or Wales.
The legal requirement is reason enough alone to ensure the address you use to register your business meets the correct criteria, but there are other points to consider too.
Some of the main reasons why you must have a registered address for your UK company or partnership include:
- Somewhere for all written correspondence to be sent
- Somewhere for all legal documents to be sent
- A way for important bodies such as HMRC and Companies House to reach you
- To display on your company website and emails
- To include on invoices and other relevant financial documents
- For inspection purposes
It’s worth noting here that once you set up a registered address, you are permitted to change this at any time. You can do this by notifying Companies House online or using a paper based AD01 form.
Does an online business need a physical registered address?
Yes, even if your business doesn’t require bricks-and-mortar premises to operate, it will still need to be registered to a physical address. This doesn’t have to be the address you work from though—there are other options if you’d prefer to keep this private, which we’ll explore further on.
Does a mobile business need a registered office address?
Yes, even if your business doesn’t have a permanent bricks-and-mortar base, you will still need a physical UK address to register it to. As we covered previously, this address must be a physical address in the UK and in the same country the company is registered.
Can I use my home address as my registered business address?
If you don’t have bricks-and-mortar premises, or just don’t want your post going there, using a residential (home) address is often a free and simple solution.
Some business owners feel reluctant to do this though, because they don’t want to include their personal address on any of the paperwork or marketing materials that come with owning a business.
It’s also worth noting that if your business is a limited company or partnership, your registered business address will be made available for public viewing through the Companies House register.
Can I use a PO Box as my registered business address?
When keeping a residential address is a priority, some business owners consider a PO Box instead. However, there are some important things you need to be aware of if you are considering using a PO Box service.
A PO Box is basically a rented mailbox in a sorting office either with the Post Office or Royal Mail. Business owners sometimes use them to receive mail without having to disclose an address they’d rather keep concealed, but you cannot use a PO box as an official business address to register with Companies House.
Plus, sharing a PO Box address on your business communications, website, or packaging might not create the impression that you want it to – especially if you’re trying to look particularly trustworthy or reliable.
How do I get a registered office address for my London business?
Don’t worry, though, if you’re looking for a London address to register your business to, you’ve got a few other options.
Get a London-based virtual office address
There are a whole host of services available online that will provide you with a registered office address in London without you having to take on physical office space. These are paid services but the cost is normally relatively low.
Any statutory post you receive from Companies House and HMRC can then be forwarded on to another address of choice.
Not only does this allow you to protect your personal address from public viewing, having a London address attached to your business might help if you’re trying to build sales in a particular area.
Use your London-based accountant’s office address
Some accountants will also allow you to use their address as your own registered business address. So, if you have an accountant with a London office, this is another way you could get your own London-based business address.
If you are going to do this, you will need to get permission from your accountant first. They will then need to register as your appointed agent.
Another benefit of using your accountant’s office address as your own is that, once they’re registered as your agent, they can then directly deal with correspondence from Companies House and HMRC on your behalf!
Find more support and guidance for London-based businesses in our online information centre.