Location is key! When starting a new company, it’s vital that you adopt a credible business address to enhance your company’s professional image. Whether you run a brick and mortar company, or you operate from a virtual office, all addresses related to your business will carry more weight than just being a mere detail. Enter the SAIL address.
The Definition of a SAIL Address
SAIL stands for Single Alternative Inspection Location. A SAIL address is where a registered company or a LLP company holds their statutory records in order to ensure they are available for public inspection.
Unlike a registered office address, a SAIL address is not compulsory. The registered office address (more on that below) is the location where any statutory mail is delivered alongside any legal notices such as those from HMRC or other government departments. This address is on display in the public register of companies and is accessible to the public. If a SAIL address is not used, then the registered address must hold all of the statutory records of the business.
The two addresses needn’t be at the same location or share the same address details. However, a SAIL address must be in the same UK jurisdiction as your registered company. Therefore, if you run a business in Scotland, you cannot have a SAIL address in Wales.
Notably, you must inform Companies House when using a SAIL address —you cannot have a SAIL address unless Companies House has been correctly informed.
What Information Is Stored at a SAIL address?
The company records and registers that a private limited company may keep at a SAIL address includes the following:
- Register of members (shareholders or guarantors)
- Register of directors
- Register of company secretaries
- Register of debenture holders
- Register of People of Significant Control
- Register of charges and instruments creating charges
- Directors’ service contracts
- Directors’ indemnities
- Copies of company resolutions (incl. members’ ordinary and special resolutions; board resolutions; and written resolutions)
- Minutes of general meetings
- Documents relating to redemption or the purchase of own shares
In addition to holding a complete set of the above documents, a SAIL address may also keep the Certificate of Incorporation issued by Companies House, copies of documents stored at Companies House and the memorandum and articles of association (find out how to get a copy of the memorandum and articles of association).
Limited companies are required to create and maintain statutory records and registers available for the public to view for a minimum of two hours every working day between the hours of 9am and 3pm. If someone wishes to inspect these records, they must give notice at least two days before they visit in accordance with the rules outlined in the Companies (Company Records) Regulations 2008. For some circumstances, at least 10 days’ notice is required.
Businesses are obliged to keep these records up to date. If your company fails to keep any of these records then your company, as well as its listed officers, could potentially be penalised. Depending on the missing records, this fine could be anything from £1000-£5000, plus an extra charge of £100-£500 per day for any continued contravention.
How Do I Register a SAIL Address?
Companies House provides an online form to register a SAIL address where you can register or change a SAIL address by submitting form AD02 via WebFiling. You must also file form AD03 to state which records have moved to the new location.
Form AD02 will require the details of the company, the address that will be used as the SAIL address and details of the person signing the form on behalf of the company.
SAIL Address and Mail Handling
Even when a SAIL address is registered with Companies House, all statutory mail will be sent to the business’ registered office. Therefore, if a SAIL address is used, it’s advisable to use a mail forwarding service and registered office address service pairing. This would allow statutory mail to be collected at the registered office and then forwarded to the SAIL address where it will then be made available for public inspection.
A Note on a Registered Office Address
To help you determine the purpose of your SAIL address from your registered office address, it’s important to understand what constitutes a registered office address.
A registered office address acts as your company’s official address for receiving statutory mail and legal documents from Companies House, HMRC, and various government entities. Your registered office address doesn’t have to be in the same region as your principal trading activity, but it must be a complete, physical postal address in the same UK jurisdiction in which your company is registered (England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland).
Your registered office address is permitted to be both a residential and non-residential address. However, it’s encouraged to keep your home details private, hence many prefer the latter option.
You cannot start or run a private limited company or limited liability partnership in the UK without having a registered office address.
Although a SAIL address is not required for the successful running of a business, it can make the subject of public access to statutory records much simpler and subsequently allow a business to distinguish its daily functions.
Your SAIL address can be changed at any time as long as it complies to the “rules” and important business information will be available for public inspection.
If you want to find out more about a SAIL address, contact our dedicated company formations team now for fast, friendly, and expert advice.