As a sole trader or freelancer, there will be times where you need to provide an address. In these scenarios, you may not want to or be able to provide your personal address. Find out how virtual offices can help.
Using your home address for your business can often seem like an easy choice, as it means you can get up and running without any delays. However, there are some implications to using your personal home address for your business, such as privacy, the image it portrays about your company, what you’ll need to do when moving address, and whether you’re in rented accommodation. If you’re wondering whether you should use your home address for your business, we’ve outlined everything you need to know.
When would you need to use your home address for your business?
Companies of varying legal definitions will need to use an address for their business in some form. This may be publicly available through Companies House, or it may just be featured on invoices and other company correspondence. Some business types are legally required to include an address, such as e-commerce companies that must include an address on their website. One of the most common ways to understand your businesses address needs is by the type of company you are or your position.
Sole traders and partnerships
Sole traders and partnerships are not registered companies which means that they don’t have to provide Companies House with an address that’s available to the public. However, as a sole trader or partnership, you’ll have to complete self-assessments that require that you provide both your home address and an address for your business. You can use the same address for both, but Companies House may send you correspondence from time to time, so this information must be up-to-date. Sole traders and partnerships also need to consider that, while they do not need to register their business with an address, there will be instances where you provide an address to your customers, suppliers or service providers.
Limited companies are legally required to register their business with Companies House and provide a registered office address. This address is public for anyone to view, which means that if you’re using your home address for your business, anyone will be able to find this information. Limited companies will also have to provide additional addresses during the registration process, such as a business trading, correspondence and directors service address.
If you’re a company director, you will need to provide a current address that you can be contacted at. This is known as a directors service address, and it can be the same or different from the addresses you’re using for your limited company. The mail that you receive at this address will be important information about the business you’re a director of, so it must be a current address that you can regularly access the post from.
There are different types of charities, such as charitable trusts, unincorporated charitable associations, charitable incorporated organisations and charitable companies. Depending on which you are, you may have to register with HMRC or with the Charity Commission. In any case, there will be requirements to provide official addresses for the charities that may be publicly available.
Where is your business address used?
Understanding where you might need to use your business address will help you think about whether you should use your home address for your company. Some of the most common places you’ll include your address include:
- Online, such as your website, social profiles or in directories
- Within your email footer that provides information about your company
- Printed on letterheaded paper that’s used for official correspondence
- Printed on your business card as contact information
- Publicly on Companies House as your registered office address
- On any invoices that you send to customers
What types of addresses would you need to provide?
The address type you need to provide depends on your type of company or your role in the company. It’s important to understand the four different addresses you may need to provide during the lifetime of your business, as often smaller companies will eventually register with Companies House and have to give this information. The four addresses are as follows:
- Correspondence addresses - this is solely an address used for communication, and it’s not the legal address of your business. It’s where you can be contacted should you need to be contacted, and it’s relevant to individuals within a business rather than the business itself.
- Business trading address - this is where your business trades and can be officially contacted. You’ll often use the business trading address on official documentation or with suppliers.
- Registered office address - this address type is where your business is officially registered. It will be publicly available, and you may be legally required to include it across your digital profiles as well as on company correspondence.
- Directors service address - every director must provide an address that they can be legally contacted at. This address differs from the others, as directors may not be available at the businesses correspondence, business trading or registered office address. Directors may sometimes use their home addresses for this purpose.
Something important to understand is that all of these addresses can be the same location, as long as the business and all of its directors can be contacted there. Using your home address for your business address purposes may not be suitable for this reason alone, and with additional concerns over the privacy and portrayal of your business, many companies opt to use a virtual address service.
Using a virtual address instead of your home for your business
A virtual address service provides you with an address that you can use for any of the above address needs. To make things simple for company owners, our virtual business addresses can be used for every type of address needed, from your correspondence to the business trading, registered office and directors service address. This means that you’ll have a singular address to use instead of your home address for all of your businesses address needs. Some of the other benefits include:
- You’ll never need to change address
- You can access business correspondence from anywhere
- The virtual address can be shared between directors
- You’ll only have to manage one address
- Choice of location in the UK
- Complete privacy compared to using your home address
- Portray a more professional image
We always advise our business customers that using their home address isn’t the best solution for their company, both short and long term. Our solution provides businesses with an address that they can use for the lifetime of their company, anytime they’re required to give address information. This, coupled with our software that allows users to read the business mail they receive online, offers a secure, remote and flexible solution for companies operating in the UK.