10 facts you need to know about Registered Offices

  • Official Address – When you apply to the Companies House to form a company, you must supply an official address for the same. This address must be within the UK, even if the company only trades overseas or is an entirely online business. Without an official address, your company cannot be registered.
  • UK Jurisdictions – The UK has three official jurisdictions: Scotland, Northern Ireland and the joint jurisdiction of England and Wales. The company’s registered office address determines the jurisdiction in which it resides.
    • Changing jurisdictions – A company registered in one jurisdiction cannot be moved to another. So, for example, a company with a registered office in Edinburgh cannot move its registered office to London, and vice versa.
    • Moving between England and Wales – A company can be registered as being in England, Wales or in both England and Wales. It is possible to move a registered office from England to Wales, and vice versa. Additional paperwork (Form AD05) will be required if the company moves from one country to another. If a company is incorporated in the jurisdiction of England and Wales, the transfer of location does not require extra paperwork.
  • PO Box Numbers are Not Accepted – The Registered Office must be a physical address, capable of receiving documents and bringing these to the attention of the directors. For this reason, the address must be functional; it cannot be a PO Box unless that is part of a complete address, i.e., it has a street address and a postcode. It is the responsibility of the directors to ensure they have access to all official post arriving at the registered office.
  • Home Address – It is perfectly acceptable to use a home address as a registered office. However, if renting from a private landlord, you should check the terms of your lease. Most residential landlords do not allow businesses to be run from their properties. You may thus have to renegotiate the terms of your lease. If you are renting from the council or housing association, you will need to submit written requests for permission to use your home for business purposes; they will require extensive details of your proposed usage of their property.
  • Public Information – A company’s registered office address is public information. Companies House publishes each company’s details on their website, which is available to the public and can be accessed from any place with an internet connection. If you are thinking of using your home as the official address of your company and you do not want members of the public, customers or salespeople to be privy to your home address, please reconsider and use a registered address service.
  • Official Post – All official post will be sent to the registered office address of a company. Official post is correspondence from the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the UK taxing authority), Companies House, the UK Courts of Law, Government Gateway, Department of Works and Pensions, Office for National Statistics and ICO (the Information Commissioner’s Office).
  • Requirement to Display a Name Plate – A company must display its name outside its registered office and any other address from which it trades.
    • Business address – A company does not need to trade from its registered office address. Many companies have one or more trading addresses, both in the UK and overseas. High street chains are a prime example.
    • The requirement to display a nameplate – A company must display its name outside its registered office and any other address from which it trades unless any of the following conditions are met:
      • The Company is dormant, in which case it is not required to display a nameplate
      • A company is trading from the owner’s home address, in which case the requirement to display a nameplate is waived.
    • Office buildings – Buildings that have more than five registered offices located at their address can use alternative methods of displaying these addresses.
  • Official Address on All Communications– A company must display its registered office address, the jurisdiction which it is registered in, the fact that it is a limited company and its Companies House registration number on its business letters, order forms and websites.
  • Statutory Records – A company must keep its statutory records at its registered office address, unless an alternative address has been provided to Companies House, termed as a SAIL (Single Alternative Inspection Location), where documents can be accessed. It is also possible to keep some records at Companies House for inspection.
    • Records must be made available for inspection for two hours in a working day between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. A 10 days’ notice must be provided to the company by anyone wishing to inspect records. However, two days’ notice is all that is needed if the inspection is required before a general meeting, a class meeting or where certain written resolutions have been circulated.
    • The following is not a complete list of statutory records that a company may need to maintain; however, the most common have been listed below:
      • Register of Members (Shareholders)
      • Register of Directors
      • Register of Persons of Significant Control (PSCs)
      • Register of Directors Service Agreements
      • Register of Directors Indemnities
      • Record of Resolutions.
      • Register of Instruments Creating Charges
    • Statutory records can be electronically maintained and are not required to be retained in a hard copy form.
  • Pricing of Registered Office Address Services – Due to the increasing awareness of privacy issues and the growing number of overseas owners, there has been a growth in the number of address service providers. When you are satisfied that the service that meets your needs, you should check for the following pricing issues:
    • Extra charge for director’s service address – For owner-managed companies, privacy can only be maintained if the registered office address can be used as a service address for the directors, shareholders and the company secretary. Several address providers attract customers by advertising a low annual registered office charge and then charging extra for one or more directors.
    • Increasing charge for second and subsequent years – Several address service providers increase their annual renewal fees by charging directors, shareholders and the company secretary extra for the use of the service address in the second and subsequent years.

Our registered office service facilitates full compliance with the requirements of a registered office. In particular, the following are considered:

  • Statutory Books – Can be kept free of charge in the ShareFile account we provide to all our address service users. If you agree to allow someone to inspect the books, they can be printed off and made available to visitors.
  • Office Hours– Our office is staffed and open between 9 a.m and 5 p.m on normal working days. This implies that staff can sign and confirm the receipt of official mail, when required.
  • Post – Official post is dealt with in the following ways:
    • Scanned and uploaded to ShareFile (free of charge) for you to view (wherever you are). You will be notified by us whenever you receive a post.
    • Forwarded to you within one working day of being received by us, providing you have a UK location at which to receive the post.
  • Free Directors Service Address – We never charge Registered office users for providing service addresses to directors, shareholders or the company secretary.

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