As part of incorporating your limited company, you'll know that you need to provide a registered office address for your business. But does this registered address need to be in a specific location? And is it mandatory for you to publicly display this office address? The rules are strict in place and you must provide a registered address for your business
The registered office details for your company have three elements:
1. Company number: your company number as registered at Companies House
2. Address: your registered business address for the company
3. Place: where the business is actually located (which will be either 'England and Wales', 'Scotland' or 'Northern Ireland', if you're a UK company).
Why is this so important
Your registered office address is used for correspondence from Companies House and HMRC, as well as the address for serving legal notices etc. The statutory registers and records (register of members, register of directors, copies of resolutions etc.) are also kept there for inspection unless notice of an alternative location has been recorded at Companies House.
The rules and ticking the right compliance boxees
- Choosing a registered address - the company's registered office address doesn't have to be the principal place of business; many companies use their accountants' office address. It can be your home address but this isn't generally recommended as your house address will then appear on the public record.
- PO boxes are not allowed - a PO Box is not permitted as a registered address. The office address has to be a physical address that's capable of receiving mail, and in the same location as the place of incorporation.
- Changing your address - if you're planning to move your location and change the company address, you need to notify Companies House immediately - so your records can be updated.
- Displaying your address - you must display a sign that's easily visible to visitors, showing your company name at your registered company address and every premises from which your business operates. (Exception: If the address is primarily used for living accommodation you do not need to display a sign there.)
- Multiple companies at one address - if there are more than five companies at the same address then your details can be displayed intermittently, but they must be shown for at least 15 seconds every 3 minutes.
- Displaying your address in communications - the company name, registered office, company number and place of incorporation should be shown on (and included in) business stationery such as business letters, emails and other correspondence, invoices, order forms and on your company websites.
- Note: where your trading address is different from your registered office address, you should give prominence to the trading address to avoid any misdirected correspondence, invoices or payments.
- Note: Companies that have always been dormant don't need to have the registered address displayed anywhere.
What happens if I don't comply
Failing to display the registered office correctly is an offence, so it's important to get your company address registered and properly display ASAP after getting incorporated.
How we can help
As your accountant, we will manage this part of your director duties and ensure that all your statutory documents are dealt with promptly. To protect the confidentiality of your home address, we always recommned using a virtual office. They are cheap and can cost less than £100 a year.