What to consider when choosing a registered office?

Step Two of how to register a company name: choose the office to register your company at

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If you’re about to start a business, it is indeed an exciting time. All the little things to cross off your list and of course the big ones, means there’s a lot enthusiasm and decision making from the outset. There are a few ways you can run your business, but if you’ve chosen to operate as a limited company, top of your list will be your registered company address.

Sometimes this can get confused with your trading address, where you carry out most your business activities, but your registered company address is a little different. It is the address that is displayed on all public documents and company information, as well as paperwork from HMRC and Companies House. Remember that although it is your company, it is a separate entity to you, so will need to be registered at a particular address.

Let’s look at some of the things you will need to consider before choosing your registered company address.

Should you use your home address?

Usually the first address that comes to mind is your residential address, but with this, please be aware that your home address will be on the public register. Therefore, to keep your private information private, it’s advised not to use your home address, but instead choose a third-party address. In most cases your accountant or company formation agent will recommend a virtual registered company address. This address is only needed to receive mail from HMRC and Companies House, so you don’t need to trade from there.

Is the perception of your company important?

Before you decide on what to use as your registered company address, you may want to consider how your company will look to prospective customers or future partners. If you run a small home business, perhaps baking cakes or making handmade greeting cards, you may not worry so much about appealing to a more corporate audience. Whereas, if you were operating in the corporate industry, you would perhaps consider your image and assess whether your clients will take your company seriously. The thing is, it’s all about perception and how you want your business to be seen.

Where is your company located?

It is important to note that if your company is registered in England and Wales, your registered company address must be in England and Wales. The same if your company is registered in Northern Ireland, your registered company address must be in Northern Ireland and the same for any company registered in Scotland. Please be aware that although it is simple to change your company’s registered address, you cannot move your registered office between countries, except between England and Wales.

Once you’ve registered your company, you will receive a company registration number, highlighting where it was formed. You will realise that companies formed in England and Wales have no prefix, companies registered in Scotland have the SC prefix and those formed in Northern Ireland have the NI prefix.

To summarise:

  • Your registered office is your company’s official address, where you will receive correspondence from Companies and HMRC
  • If your company was formed in the UK, this address must be in the UK
  • You don’t need to trade at your company’s registered address
  • This address will be on the public register
  • You can change your registered office online at any time, if you have your webfiling authentication code or fill in an AD01 form offline.
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