Seasoned business owners are most likely familiar with the vast definitions that fill a business glossary. However, first-time entrepreneurs can be forgiven for looking up a term or two; if that’s you, don’t worry — we take the complexity out of starting a company and you’ll be familiar with all things business in no time!
And one business term you’ll inevitably encounter is “service address”. It’s a simple term fitting of a simple explanation. Here, we outline the implications of a service address for your company and how you can retrieve your very own service address.
What Is a Service Address?
A service address is the official correspondence address of the following:
- Company director
- Company secretary
- LLP (limited liability partnership) member
- PSC (a company member who is a person of significant control)
By law, all of the above must provide a service address for the public record after their company has been incorporated or when they join a company.
To obtain a service address, business owners usually seek the assistance of an established business address service for a swift and hassle-free process. Companies House will quite literally house the registration of your professional address and it will subsequently be placed on public record.
To protect your privacy and portray a professional image, official government mail is sent to the professional mailing address and then forwarded to a company director at a different address of choice (and emailed). This is the most effective way to protect your privacy and create a professional, corporate image. All personal statutory mail will be sent by Companies House, HMRC, and other UK government agencies to the listed service address.
How Is a Service Address Different from a Registered Office Address?
Every company director, secretary, subscriber, LLP member and PSC must have a service address that serves as an official correspondence address. This can be located anywhere in the world.
However, a registered office address is the approved address of a limited company or LLP. A company’s official government mail and legal documentation are sent to the registered office. Moreover, unless a SAIL address is used, the statutory registers and company records should be stored at the registered office address. Unlike the service address, a registered office address must be located in the same UK region where the LLP or company is incorporated.
Can a Home Address Be Used as a Service Address?
Company directors may choose to use their residential address as a service address. However, you can preserve your privacy by ensuring that your residential address is not on the public record. This helps to avoid unwanted mail as well as unnecessary public knowledge of your personal address.
A popular option is to buy a certified service address from a credible business formation agent. The address is then placed on the public record as an official address of the director, and subsequent mail is then sent to this address and forwarded to the director at an address of their choice.
Can a Registered Office Address Be Used as a Service Address?
A registered office address is not the same as a service address, however it is acceptable to have a similar address for the same purpose as long as it fulfils the legal specifications of a certified office.
What Mail Is Sent to a Service Address?
Only legal notices and official government mail addressed to the director will be delivered to a service address. Conversely, a director may utilise one address as a registered office address, service address, and a general business contact address.
Can a PO Box Be Used as Service Address?
A PO Box address is permitted to be used as long as you give Companies House the full postal address (including the postcode) and confirm that an individual is physically present at the address — and it’s not just a post office.
Can a Service Address Be Located Anywhere in the World?
In contrast to a registered office address, a service address can be situated anywhere in the world since there are no limitations set to its geographical location. Again, you must give Companies House the full postal address of your service address.
Does a Company Secretary Need a Service Address?
Company secretaries are required to have a service address. Subsequently, company secretaries must provide Companies House with their valid contact addresses.
Does a Company Shareholder Need a Service Address?
Shareholders and guarantors who are subscribers to the company (individuals who include their names to the memorandum and articles of association during the incorporation process) have to provide a valid address for the public record.
Those who become members post-company formation needn’t provide an address unless they are simultaneously registered as a “person with significant control”.
Does an LLP Member Need a Service Address?
LLP members are required to provide a service address for Companies House during the registration process. Alternatively, a service address can be provided by the LLP members after the LLP has been formed.
Will Companies House Display a Service Address on Public Record?
Companies House documents all service address details on public record. Should you change your service address, you need to inform Companies House immediately so that the public record can reflect the amendments.
However, subscribers who are not persons with significant control do not have to update the new details at Companies House if their service address details were changed after incorporation.
Can a Service Address Be Changed?
The newly provided service address will be incorporated at Companies House and placed on the public record within 24 hours of completing the relevant form — no official change will be noted until registration is complete.
Any physical postal address (situated anywhere in the world) can be used for a service address as long as it’s not just a PO Box number. If you wish, you may use a residential or non-residential address, including the company’s registered office. You don’t have to carry out work from your service address as it’s merely there for official correspondence purposes.
If you need to obtain a service address for your business, contact our professional and reputable company formations team for expert advice and guidance.