Every company registered in the UK needs to have a registered address. Your registered address is where you have all your official paperwork sent via the post, so it should be a permanent address that organisations such as Companies House and HMRC can send their letters and reminders to.
Your Company Registered Address must be the best place to deliver important documents to your company and your Directors or Shareholders. If you have multiple addresses where you operate your business from, choose the most likely address where urgent mail will be dealt with quickly and efficiently. It wouldn't be wise to register your warehouse for example if it is not staffed every day, or where mail will be left unopened for any length of time. The Registered Office Address must also be displayed on your company letterheads and invoices.
Can I Use a PO Box?
The short answer is no. Upon incorporation, your registered address is displayed on the Public Registrar at Companies House. Your registered address needs to be a place where documents can be delivered that need to be signed for, as well as for other sensitive mail from relevant governing bodies, so this is why you cannot choose to use a PO Box as your registered office address. You will also need to display your Company Registration Number at your premises, and this is obviously impossible when using a PO Box.
As a business owner, you must make sure that you reply to all HMRC notifications in a timely fashion, especially when dealing with your company annual accounts. Failure to submit your returns on time can now result in you receiving some very hefty fines and penalties. Mail going to a PO Box can often be forgotten or neglected, especially during busy times when you may be too preoccupied by work to remember to check for important mail.
What if I need to change the Registered Office Address?
If you move premises and need to change your registered address, then you can download form AD01 from the Companies House website. Once completed, you can return the form to Companies House to process. You can return your completed for either by post or online via the Companies House WebFiling system. There is no charge to change your registered address, and it usually takes around two working days for your application form to be processed. If you are changing the registered address of a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), you will require an LL AD01 form.
Some business owners will plan to move on a regular basis in quite a short time-frame. This could be due to planned rapid expansion where larger business premises will be needed each time the business is phased up, or a new merger takes place. In these cases it can often be simpler to register their company address via a management company, or a registered office service provider, that can offer some pretty prestigious addresses to register under in the UK. The main aim is to have a consistent managed address where mail from HMRC and Companies House can be delivered, then forwarded on to a normal postal address. This can add a layer of extra security if your business moves premises a lot, and it can be reassuring to know that important mail will always be directed to your managed address, and not risk going astray or being lost in the post.
Displaying your Registered Company Address
As a registered company, you must display a sign, plate or plaque displaying your company name at your registered company address. If you are running your business from home, then you don’t need to display your registered company address. You will also need to display your address at any other location from where you run your business. For example, if you operate a shop and an office that is not situated at your home, then you must display your registered address at both of them.
Whether you choose to display a simple sign, plaque or plate, you must ensure that the lettering is easy to read, and the sign must be positioned so it is easy to see at all times, and not just when you are present. Your sign must not be obscured by anything, such as shutters, blinds, plants or flowers etc.
Since the Companies Act 2006, it is a legal requirement to display your registered office address on your company’s website. When designing your company stationery, including invoices, letterheads, order forms, and your website layout, make sure you include the following information:
- Your company’s registered number
- The registered office address
- Where your company is registered, i.e.: England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland
- That your business is a limited company (‘Limited’ or ‘Ltd’)
- Your directors’ names (if you want to include them)
Remember, it is a legal requirement for every company that is registered in the UK to provide a registered office address, but a company's trading address does not have to be the same as the registered office address.