When you are a sole trader, the question of addresses is a relatively simple one. But once you become a limited company, the situation gets a bit more complex. So what are all these different addresses and what do you need them for?
The sole trader
As a sole trader, you will be required to provide your home and business address to HMRC when you register for self-assessment. If you work in a non-residential business location such as a rented unit, warehouse or a shop, you will most likely use this as your business address. But if you work from home, then the two addresses will be the same.
Sometimes sole traders prefer to use a third party professional address for their business. These can be obtained from company formation websites such as Your Company Formations, and can offer a prestigious Central London business address as well as mail redirecting services with varying costs depending on your requirements. These are ideal if you want to keep your home address private and off the public register and to create a more professional appearance for your business. It also means you don’t need to handle the mountains of mail arriving at your home for your business.
Limited company addresses
Limited companies of all kinds including Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) have a different set of requirements around their business addresses from a sole trader. These addresses need to be provided to Companies House when the company is set up and are kept on the official register of companies that the public can view.
The registered office address is the head office of the company and the main address provided to Companies House. This is used on the public register and is where all your statutory mail from the likes of HMRC and Companies House is sent.
You can use virtually any type of address, including a private residential address, as long as it is in the same UK region as your company is located – England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
You need to consider the impression that your address gives when choosing one for your business. A home address might not give the most professional image or opinion of your business, and this is why companies often choose to use a registered office service instead. And you might also not want your home address on public registers for anyone to see – so choosing this option is a great solution for when you want to keep your home address private.
The Directors Service Address is something supplied for everyone within the company – directors, shareholders, members or guarantors and the company secretary. It is also required for people with significant control (PSCs) and for members of LLPs.
Like the registered office, this is placed on the public register and is where statutory mail is sent for the person relating to the company. You can use a home address or any address anywhere in the world. It doesn’t need to be the same address as the registered office either.
A SAIL address (Single Alternative Inspection Location) is an option that businesses use, normally for larger companies. It is an alternative to the registered office where all statutory registers and documents are kept for inspection by the public. This can be used if the registered office isn’t easily accessible for the public, or there isn’t sufficient storage space within the building.
SAIL addresses are public, and you must choose one within the same country of the UK as your company is based. It can be either a commercial or residential property.
A business address is an optional address and can be the same or different to your registered address. This might be where you operate out of more than one location, so the business address would be the individual shops or offices around the country. It is a place where customers can contact you but isn’t supplied to HMRC or Companies House.
Customer returns/shipping address
If you run an online business selling goods, you need to have an address for customer returns called a shipping address. This might be your business address but needs to accessible for couriers and postal workers returning goods. You can use your home address if that’s where you are based. You can also use a professional mailbox service, creating a more credible image and removing the need to use the home address.
The trading address is a term used in a similar way to a business address – the place where your business conducts its trade. There may be one or more trading address if there is more than one shop or branch.
Addresses and image
While there’s nothing wrong with using a home address as your registered office, the law states that your address must show on all documents and on the company website. This means that your address is seen in a lot of places as well as on public registers. Many businesses choose to use a registered address service that means they don’t need to use their home address and can keep their work separate from their private lives.
There’s also a feeling that a home address can seem less official and less professional than a business address, but you don’t want to have the added expense of renting a costly business premises just for this purpose. Again, Your Company Formation offer a range of service addresses that can be hired to allow you to use our prestigious Central London address for your company that sits at the heart of the London business district.
It is important to consider these matters when forming your company as they can often be put into place from the start of the company life and mean less work is involved down the line. Company formations services can include these optional extras to make the process quick and simple.