What is a registered office address?

A registered office, or registered office address, is the official location of a company in England and Wales. It is the address that has been provided to Companies House, which is the UK’s registrar of incorporated businesses. 

When do I need a registered office?

If you plan to incorporate a business with Companies House, i.e. you intend to run a business with a structure anything other than a sole trader or partnership, you will need a registered office. Crucially, this needs to be in England and Wales for businesses registered in those countries. 

Types of business that require a registered office

There are many types of businesses that require a registered office address, the most common are:

  • Private company limited by shares (Limited or Ltd.)
  • Public limited company (PLC)
  • Limited liability partnership (LLP)

For most small businesses, the choice is usually between a private limited company and a limited liability partnership. If you aren’t sure which is the right fit for you, it’s often best to speak to an accountant who can advise you based on your specific circumstances.

Where can a registered office be?

If you are registering a business in England and Wales, your registered office address must also be in one of those countries. The address doesn’t, however, have to be where your business actually operates and trades from, it just has to be a location that you can access your post from, as it will be where all official correspondence from the UK government and HMRC are sent.

Your registered address is publically available

It’s important to point out at this point that a registered office address is available to view publicly online. To find the details of any incorporated business operating in England and Wales, you can visit the Companies House website and use their company lookup tool. Having this information publicly available can present a problem for some businesses. For example, very small business operating from home, often don’t want their families address available online, and equally, not all larger businesses want their actual location to be known.

Did you know

Once an address is registered with companies house, it can only be removed upon request and payment of a £55 fee. That means that if you register your business at home and then subsequently change its location, your home address will still be on public record unless you specifically ask and pay Companies House to remove it. For more information about removing your home address from the register, please visit the Companies House website.

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Does my registered office address have to be where my business trades from?

No, it doesn’t. Your registered office, as we’ve mentioned, has to be in England and Wales, but it doesn’t have to be where you actually work from each day. Importantly though, it needs to be a location where you can access post, as this is where all of the government’s important documents and correspondence will be served to. It will also be used if your business ever encounters any legal issues, and therefore, ensuring you have ready access to incoming post is essential.

Can I use my home address as a registered office?

Yes, you can use your home address as a registered office, however, we would strongly recommend against it, as doing so will immediately place your home address in the public view. Fortunately, there are alternatives, such as our Business Address Service

Can my registered office be overseas?

Unfortunately not. If you would like to register a business in the UK with companies house, you will need to have a location for it in England and Wales. Again, this is where a service like our Business Address Service comes into its own, as it allows international businesses to set up in the UK, without having to lease expensive premises.

Where do I have to use my registered address?

By law, you must include your registered office address and company number on all of your stationery, contracts and important documents. Some examples of where a registered address  and company number should be shown are:

  • Your website
  • Your business cards
  • Emails you send
  • Letterheads
  • Employee, supplier or other contracts
  • Quotes and invoices
  • Letters that you send

These are just some examples, but you get the picture that essentially they should be included on all of your communications. The primary reason for this is so that the recipient has a way to contact you, should they need to, or indeed serve legal documents if required.

Can you change your registered office address?

Yes, you can change your registered office address, it’s not unusual as businesses do move around, change in the structure or indeed are sold to a third party. If you would like to find out more, please click the link to find out more about moving your registered office address.

What is a Director’s Service address?

Ok, so you’ve got a good understanding of what a registered office address is, but companies house will also want an address for each of the business’ directors, called a Director’s Service Address. Similarly to the registered office address, this is to allow third parties to make contact with the directors when required. Unlike the registered office address, this doesn’t have to be in England or Wales, but similar to it, they will be on public record. Once again, you most probably don’t want your home address in public view, regardless of the size of your business and therefore making this address somewhere other than your home will protect your privacy. Fortunately, our Business Address Service can be used as both a registered office address and a director’s service address, so you have complete privacy while having a secure location for your mail to be sent to. 

UK Postbox’s Business Address Service explained

Our Business Address Service is the perfect fit for companies of any size. We provide you with a location in either London or Dorset for use when registering your business with Companies House. The address we give you can be used as your registered office, a service address for your directors, a trading address and a correspondence address too. It is, as far as we are aware, the most comprehensive address service currently available in the UK.

How is UK Postbox different?

Our addresses include access to our online mail management platform, ipostalmail. You get 24/7 access and control of your post, from anywhere in the world. As letters arrive, we notify you and scan the envelope. You can then login and ask us to Open and scan the letter, forward the letter unopened, or indeed store the letter for later. By having complete access to your post, you get the freedom of being able to treat your post like email, while retaining your privacy at home or your place of work.

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Allan Chester