There are very few rules or restrictions on the type of address you can use as a limited company registered office. As a result, many people simply nominate their private residential address for this purpose. This decision does not pose any major problems for most people, but often times it is more beneficial to use a non-residential professional address.
The addresses you provide during the company formation process are added to the central public register at Companies House. This register is available to everyone and can be accessed online. Furthermore, all information submitted to the register remains accessible for an indefinite period of time, even if you change your details or close your company.
But… there is an affordable alternative. It’s a very popular and it provides a number of benefits.
Benefits of a non-residential registered office
A large proportion of small businesses in the UK are home-based. The cost of buying or leasing business premises is simply too high for many startups. For this reason, a lot of business owners use their home address as a registered office and/or business address. It seems like the most practical solution, but it has its downsides. Namely, privacy and professional image.
A viable alternative is to set up a professional registered office service for your new company. As long as the address is situated in the same part of the UK in which your company is registered (i.e. England and Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland), you can purchase and use a registered office service from a company formation agency, an accountant or solicitor, a professional secretarial firm, or any other type of business that provides address services.
Benefit #1 - Protect the privacy of your home
If you use your home address as a registered office (or service address), Companies House will place it on public record. Whilst unlikely to cause any major issue for most people, disclosing private residential details on the public register of companies can result in unsolicited mail and uninvited individuals turning up at your home. If anything should go wrong with your business, particularly financial insolvency, creditors will have access to your home address. This could affect your personal credit history and cause any number of other issues.
Benefit # 2 - Improve your professional image
A residential registered office can be incredibly unappealing to new clients. Registering a commercial address as your official company address is a really effective way to establish credibility, boost your professional image, increase your competitive advantage and make your company appear larger than it is. Your business will be more appealing and you will increase your chances of attracting more customers.
Benefit # 3 - Mail forwarding
A professional registered office service provides mail-forwarding to the user’s home or business address. Junk mail is intercepted, so you will never receive a barrage of unsolicited mail at your home. It’s also a great benefit if you live or work abroad or in a different part of the UK to where your company is officially registered. You can provide an appropriate registered office for the public record and all official mail can be forwarded to your nominated contact address, wherever you may be.
You can also change your forwarding address whenever you wish, as often as you wish, which is particularly beneficial if you move around a lot for work or live a nomadic lifestyle and work from your laptop. There’s no need to go through the rigmarole of notifying Companies House every time you move.
The purpose of a registered office
A registered office address is simply an official contact address for a limited company. Statutory correspondence from government agencies is delivered to a company at its nominated registered office - formal notices, letters and reminders from Companies House, HMRC, the Insolvency Service, the Courts, etc. For this reason, registered offices must be accessible in person to enable the successful delivery of this important mail. PO boxes numbers are therefore unsuitable.
Rachel Craig is the Head of Content for Rapid Formations Limited, the UK’s leading company formation agency. She provides small business advice and technical guidance on UK company registration, corporate compliance and taxation.
Rapid Formations Limited, the UK’s leading company formation agency