A registered office is the official contact address of a limited company or limited liability partnership (LLP). At this nominated address, which is publicly available online via the Companies Register, a company or LLP will receive statutory letters, notices, and other communications from government bodies such as Companies House and HMRC.
Please note: throughout the remainder of this post, “company” and “limited company” shall refer to both limited companies and LLPs.
A registered office address must be provided to Companies House during the incorporation process and maintained throughout the lifetime of the company. You may use any type of address, whether residential or commercial (i.e., non-residential), as long as it meets the following criteria:
- the full, physical postal address is provided (PO box numbers cannot be used)
- it is located in the company’s country of incorporation i.e. England & Wales, Wales only, Scotland, or Northern Ireland.
- the owner of the address grants permission to use it for this purpose
What is the purpose of a registered office?
The main functions of the address are:
- to receive official government letter, notices, and other communications from UK agencies such as Companies House and HMRC
- storing statutory company records and registers
- to make statutory records available for public inspection
Companies House places the official address details of all companies on the public register. This information will remain on the public register of companies indefinitely. Companies House will also provide these address details to HMRC shortly after incorporation.
Choosing a registered office address
There are very few restrictions when it comes to choosing a registered office. You can use your home, your accountant’s or solicitor’s address, an address service provided by a company formation agent, or any other full postal address located in the same part of the UK where your company is incorporated. There is no legal requirement to visit or work from your registered office – it can be used solely as an official contact address.
When choosing a registered office, one of the most important factors to consider is whether or not you wish to keep your home address private. If you use a residential address, it will be displayed on public record. This can, unfortunately, leave you vulnerable to all types of mail, including junk mail (also known as direct mail, marketing mail, or unsolicited mail), scam letters, and communications from general business contacts like clients, suppliers, and lenders.
The other consideration, which is of greater consequence, is the impression created by a residential registered office. Regardless of where you live, using a home address simply does not provide the same level of corporate professionalism, credibility, and integrity as a commercial address. Depending on your industry and target audience, your choice of address can have a significant impact on how your company is regarded.
Changing a registered office address
Whilst you are legally required to keep your registered office in the same UK jurisdiction for the life of your company, you may change your registered office at any time. Just bear in mind that the new address should be in the same part of the UK and meet the same criteria.
Companies House should also be notified of any change of registered office as soon as possible. Your new address will not take effect until it has been verified against the Post Office database and updated on the public register by Companies House. You may continue to use your old address on your company stationery for up to 14 days after the new address has been registered.
After this time, you should update your business stationery and website accordingly. Furthermore, it should be noted that documents can still be validly served at the old address for 14 days after notice has been given at Companies House.
Can I move my registered office to another country in the UK or overseas?
No, you cannot move a registered office to another country. It must remain in the same UK jurisdiction for the life of your company:
- If you incorporate with Companies House in England or Wales, the address must be situated in either England or Wales
- If you incorporate with Companies House in Scotland, the address must be situated in Scotland
- If you register with Companies House in Northern Ireland, the address must be situated in N. Ireland
There is one small exception to this rule. Companies incorporated in the single jurisdiction of ‘England & Wales’ can use addresses in either countries, alternating between the two at any time.
However, “Welsh” companies must maintain a registered office in Wales. A Welsh company is one which has expressly stated in its memorandum and articles of association that the registered office must be situated in Wales, rather than England & Wales.
Whilst this rule may appear overly restrictive, it is due to the fact that different laws and courts govern each of these UK jurisdictions. Any litigation in which your business is involved must go to the appropriate court.
There is no law in place preventing you from setting up a business address or opening branches of your company in different parts of the UK or abroad. You just need to ensure that your registered office remains in the jurisdiction of incorporation.
Change a registered office address through Rapid Formations
The quickest and easiest way to make the change of registered office filing at Companies House is online through Rapid Formations free Client Admin Portal. This Software Filing facility is available to both clients and non-clients. The change of address will take approximately 24 hours to be registered at Companies House and updated on the public register. HMRC will be notified by Companies House when the new address takes effect, so there is no need to contact them separately.
If you’re an existing Rapid Formations customer, you can change your registered office in seven simple steps:
- Log into your client account by clicking ‘Client Login’ on the top right-hand corner of our website
- Enter your login details
- Select the drop-down ‘Companies’ menu and click on the name of your company
- Select ‘Edit’ next to your current registered office details
- Purchase our Registered Office Service in London or Glasgow, or enter the details of another registered office address free-of-charge
- Enter the date you wish the new address to become effective
- Checkout to send the information to Companies House
If you are not an existing customer of Rapid Formations, you can create a free account in six simple steps:
- Select ‘Client Login’ on the top right-hand corner of our website
- Click on ‘Create Account’ and enter the required registration details
- Import your existing company by entering your company registration number and authentication code
- Enter the details of your new registered office, or purchase our prestigious Registered Office Service in London or Glasgow
- Select the date you wish your new address to become effective
- Checkout to submit the information to Companies House
Registered Office Service in London and Glasgow
Rapid Formations provides professional registered office services for limited companies incorporated in England and Wales or Scotland. Our London Registered Office in the heart of Covent Garden is available for £39.00 per year. Our Scottish Registered Office is based in Glasgow city centre and is available for just £39.00 per year. As part of our service, we will also scan and email all official government mail to you within 24 hours of receipt at no additional charge, and we will discard any junk delivered to your company.
In addition to our Registered Office Service, we also provide a Service Address facility and a Business Address in London and Glasgow. These services can be added to any of our company formation packages during the registration process, or they can be purchased separately for existing companies. Our Online Admin Portal will allow you to make changes to your company address details online and notify Companies House free of charge.