UK Company Formation: 3 key considerations when selecting your Registered Office
Step Two of how to register a company name: choose the office to register your company at
When forming a limited company you may encounter a number of terms that you’re not familiar with. One such term is the ‘registered office’. In this post we’re going to explain exactly what this is and then highlight some key things to think about before choosing yours.
The registered office is the official address for a UK limited company and is where government bodies such as Companies House and HMRC will direct mail and legal notices. It is on the public register meaning anyone can freely find the address. This brings us to the first consideration…
Will you be using a residential address?
Whilst using a residential address is absolutely fine (if you rent you will need permission from your landlord), because of the public register issue some people choose to use an alternative address instead. This is allowed because a limited company need not trade from or even be based at the registered office, just as long as any of the aforementioned mail from Companies House and HMRC is forwarded onto you. Registered office services can often be provided by accountants or company formation agents.
What impression do you want to give of your business?
The address you use for your company’s registered office says a lot about your operation. For example, if you’re a home-based business that creates homemade goods – having an obviously residential address as the registered office makes sense in a branding sense (if privacy isn’t an issue for you). On the other hand, if your venture is more corporate in nature having a registered office in an area more associated with business could be the wise choice. Ultimately it comes down to giving off the right impression.
Is your company in England/Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland?
Now this is important. The registered office must be based in the UK (so if you are a non-UK resident wanting to form a UK company you’ll need to use a registered office service) but where in the UK is up to you. If you form with a registered office in England or Wales, your company will be an English / Welsh company. If you form with a registered office in Scotland, your company will be a Scottish company. If you form with a registered office in Northern Ireland, your company will be a Northern Irish company. Simple enough. However, whilst changing the registered office is extremely simple, you should note that a company can’t move its registered from one country to another (except England / Wales companies who can move the registered office between the two countries).
A limited company’s registration number acts as an indicator of where it was formed:
- England & Wales companies have no prefix
- Scottish companies have the SC prefix
- Northern Irish companies have the NI prefix
At a glance information
- The registered office is a limited company’s official address and where Companies House and HMRC will send mail
- It must be in the UK
- A company need not trade from or be based at the registered office – as long as official mail is forwarded on to company directors
- It is on the public register
- The registered office can be changed online (as long as a valid webfiling authentication code is held) or offline with the AD01 form
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