Blogs will often tell you about different aspects of company life – formations, dissolutions, accounts and the like. Generally in small chunks so it is easy to digest. As a helping hand we have tied together one of the simplest but often more confusing aspects of forming a limited company – the different types of business address.
How complicated could that possibly be?! Well, in short – it’s not. But the various names and minor differences can make an easy job feel overwhelming. So below we have laid out all the different types of addresses you will need to provide, who each one applies for and how to change it should you need to.
Every limited company registered in the UK must, at all times, have a valid Registered Office – or RO for short. By valid we mean a physical building, not a PO Box. But that is as far as the restriction goes. You do not have to trade from there, live there or ever even visit there. As long as post can be accepted and there are no covenants in the deeds restricted the use of the property for such purposes the address can be used as your Registered Office. When it is a rented property this is actually a reasonably common clause in the tenancy so check carefully before you decide to use that address.
It is also the most common address to engage a provider for. Because it just has to be real, not a reality for you in your everyday life, you can use a company like Small Firms Services to present a professional face and the added bonus is they will sift and sort your mail and only send you the 9 or 10 pieces a year from HMRC and Companies House that you actually want. No junk, no fuss.
The most important thing to remember is that your registered office must remain in whichever jurisdiction your company is registered in. So you cannot switch between Scotland and Northern Ireland. But as England and Wales are counted as one you can swap around there as much as you like.
Director’s Service Address
In times gone by Directors had to declare their personal details and that was displayed on the public register for anybody to see. It was problematic. In the hands of the wrong people it led to copious amounts of junk mail and the occasional issue with people turning up your door unhappy about what your company was up to. So Companies House have introduced the director’s service address (DSA). This means that you can put an alternative address down. You still have to tell Companies House where you live but that information is now covered by the Data Protection Act and stays confidential unless required by certain exempt bodies such as the police or HMRC. You can use any other address that you have the right to use – such as the same people that provide your Registered Office.
It is rare that you will receive more than an item of mail or two throughout your company’s life span to that address so fair agents like Small Firms Services will give you this address at a discounted rate when you use their RO as well. The service address is also referred to as the correspondence address.
Secretary’s Service Address
Simply put this is the same as the DSA and gets even less mail!
This is a bit of a misnomer – shareholder’s do not have to provide an address.
The forms for making changes to any of the above are all available online or the amendments can be made through web filing and there is no charge. If you do decide to use a service provider, they can even do it for your as part of your package.