Can you use a PO Box as a registered office address?

When you register a business in the UK, you cannot use a PO Box as the company's registered office address. They do not meet the requirements set out by Companies House, and any business that currently uses a PO Box as their registered office address must provide an alternative address by March 4, 2024.

UK registered office address requirements

Some of the following requirements are already in place, but from March 4, 2024, the updated requirements from Companies House for registered office addresses state that:

  • Any documents sent to the registered office should be expected to come to the attention of a person acting on behalf of the company.
  • Any documents sent to that address can be recorded by an acknowledgement of delivery.
  • Your registered office address must be in the same country your company is registered in. For example, a company registered in England must have a registered office address located in England.
  • Your registered office address must be located in the UK.
  • Your registered office address must be registered to a physical address.
Note: While you must use a physical address, you can still use virtual addresses that have physical premises.

What are your options for registered office addresses?

Although PO Boxes aren’t suitable to use as a registered office address, there are other alternatives available. Every address has its benefits and drawbacks, but if you’re looking for an address that best matches a PO Box, we recommend a virtual business address. Here are some of the options to consider:

Home address

You have the option of using your home address as a registered office address, granted that there are no restrictions in place. For example, some landlords may not allow tenants to use the property for this purpose, or your leasehold agreement may forbid it.

If you do have permission to use your home address, you must consider that this address will be publicly available for anyone to find on the Companies House register.

Virtual business address

Virtual business addresses are locations offered specifically to meet the address needs of companies. They can be used to meet all of the following address requirements:

  • Registered office address
  • Directors’ service address
  • Business trading address
  • Business correspondence address

You’ll be allocated an address based on a physical location in a city of your choosing. As an example, we offer virtual business addresses in:

  1. Dorset
  2. London North
  3. London Central
  4. London South
  5. Westminster
  6. Glasgow
  7. Edinburgh
  8. Liverpool
  9. Birmingham
  10. Bristol

Agents address

If you use an agent, such as an accountant, you may be able to use their address if you seek their permission. However, you’ll also be relying on them to receive and share correspondence with you, and if they move locations, cease to trade, or change agents, you’ll have to update your registered office address each time.

Why can’t you use a PO Box as a registered office address?

In 2023, Companies House published a series of changes around UK Company Law to tackle economic crime and support economic growth.

As part of these changes, UK businesses are no longer able to use a PO Box as their registered office address. Any business using a PO Box for their registered office is required to change to a suitable alternative or risk being struck off the Companies House register. You can find out more in our blog, Changes To UK Company Law.

What can PO Box addresses be used for?

PO Boxes offer a very valuable service despite being unsuitable as a registered office address. They can still be used by businesses as well as individuals for a variety of purposes, such as:

  1. Receive mail remotely - If you’re an individual receiving personal correspondence, you can use a PO Box for all inbound mail deliveries. Then, using our platform, you can read and manage all of your correspondence from anywhere in the world.
  2. For sole traders - Sole traders have different requirements, and as such, a PO Box is suitable to use for business purposes.
  3. As a business correspondence address - Registered companies can still use PO Boxes for business correspondence if they’d like separate addresses for registration and correspondence.
  4. To protect your real location - If you need to protect your home address for any reason, such as being a popular figure or safeguarding reasons, a PO Box can be used instead of your home location.

Get a UK registered office address

Whether you’re registering a new business or changing your registered office address, we can provide you with a suitable address to use for your registered company. 

Alongside your address, you’ll also get access to our online mail management platform that allows you to take actions such as the following:

  1. View scans of received business correspondence
  2. Forwarding any received letters or parcels to another location across the world
  3. Upload documents for us to mail on your behalf
  4. Organise your business correspondence using tags and folders
  5. Integrate with other platforms and our API to create automatic workflows with your existing software solutions

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Allan Chester