“A company must at all times have a registered office to which all communications and notices may be addressed”. – Part 6,s86 of the Companies Act, 2006.
Any company (public or limited), or Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) in England and Wales, must supply a registered office address. This is the official location of a company and the postal address provided to Companies House (the United Kingdom’s registrar of incorporated businesses).
You’ll use this address on all your company documents, and for all statutory correspondence. Your registered office must be located in the same jurisdiction as your business for compliance purposes (i.e. England and Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland).
In this article, we’ll take a look at what to consider when choosing a registered office for your business.
WHAT TYPE OF REGISTERED OFFICE TO CHOOSE?
By law, the registered office can’t be a PO box, so you need a physical address. Fortunately, there’s plenty of flexibility. As a general rule, your RO can be any of the following:
- The physical address of your place of business (whether it’s an office, studio, farm, shop, factory, etc.).
- The address of the office from where you run your business (if different from above).
- Your residential address (if you work from home).
- An address via a registered office provider in a commercial building, often situated in a prestigious area.
You don’t have to trade from or be present at this physical address. So there’s nothing preventing you from working from home or anywhere else, which is particularly useful given the current climate.
What matters most is that you can still receive mail at the registered office address and have your correspondence regularly forwarded to your working address to make sure no important documents are lost. You can also arrange to have letters scanned and emailed to you.
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A REGISTERED OFFICE LOCATION?
When choosing your registered office address for a limited company, you need to consider a series of factors, such as accessibility, privacy and business reputation.
Your registered address is the place where all your government correspondence arrives. From Companies House to HMRC and courts; all institutions and official bodies will use your registered office to send letters, reminders and legal notices.
You must act on official documents as soon as possible to avoid losing track of notifications, which can lead to legal issues and fines. Your official mail should arrive at a location that you (or someone you assign the task to) can access at any time.
Transparency rules and regulations state that you must list your registered office on official documents. Your company name, registration number and RO should be easy to find by any potential client, provider or collaborator looking to do business with you.
Your invoices, contracts, letters, emails, marketing materials, websites, business cards and even social networks must list this address. Your RO is public information, so having it at your home address might not be the best idea. Any unexpected visitors who find you online or unsolicited mail will never arrive at your home if your registered office is at a commercial building.
Analyse the impact your registered address could have on your company’s reputation. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. If your potential clients or business partners tend to pay attention to details like where your registered office is, you should keep that in mind and opt for a more prestigious location. Having your RO in a residential building may be off-putting to some.
CAN YOU CHANGE THE REGISTERED ADDRESS?
Yes, you can change your registered address whenever you want. Just make sure you observe the same rules and consider the same factors listed above.
The procedure is relatively simple. You need to agree the change with the Board and notify Companies House of the change and then modify the address everywhere, from your website to official documents and business stationery. Your registered office will become public information, and Companies House will list it on public records.
Having a registered office address is essential when looking to incorporate your company. You can’t rely on a PO box or skip this step until you reach specific business goals as this is not an option.
It’s wise to choose a physical address that makes it easy to receive official mail and other communications and establish yourself as a reliable business within your industry. Offices that can be easily granted by a registered office provider can give you a suitable location that looks professional on your documents and stationery. They can also forward your correspondence and ensure that no unsolicited visitors turn up at your home.
If you’re still undecided about where to choose your RO or whether you need one, contact MSP. We can help you find the most suitable solution for your business.