Every limited company is legally required to provide a registered office address during the company formation process. It serves as the official contact address of a limited company or LLP, so it must be maintained at all times. A registered office can be any type of address, whether residential or business, as long as it meets the following criteria:
- The full, physical postal address is provided (PO box numbers cannot be used).
- The location is in the country of incorporation i.e. England and Wales, 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 are:
- To receive official government mail and notices from UK governing 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 registered address details of all limited companies and LLPs on public record. This information will remain on the public register of companies indefinitely. Companies House automatically provides HMRC with the registered office details of all new companies and LLPs shortly after incorporation.
Choosing a registered office address
There are very few restrictions when it comes to choosing a suitable registered office. You can use your home, accountant’s or solicitor’s address, or an address from a company formation agent, or any other full postal address located in the same part of the UK in which you choose to register your limited company or LLP. There is no legal requirement to work from or visit it. It can simply be used for its statutory purposes alone.
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, these details will be displayed on public record and therefore available to everyone and anyone. This can result in unsolicited mail and uninvited visitors but, more importantly, a home address does not provide the same level of corporate professionalism as a non-residential registered office.
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 or LLP, it is perfectly acceptable to change addresses at any time, provided the new address is in the same part of the UK and meets the same eligibility requirements. Companies House should be notified of any change of address 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 your 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 registered office 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, your registered office must be situated in either England or Wales.
- If you incorporate with Companies House in Scotland, your registered office must be situated in Scotland.
- Finally, if you register with Companies House in Northern Ireland, your registered office must be situated in N. Ireland.
However, there is one small exception to this rule – England and Wales may be grouped together into one jurisdiction, “England and Wales”. If your company is registered in this jurisdiction, you can move your registered office from England to Wales, and vice versa. Where, however, a Company is deemed as registered in “Wales” only, it will necessitate a special resolution to change where the Company’s Registered Office to “England and Wales”. As before, this works in the opposite direction also.
Whilst this rule may appear overly restrictive, it is due to the fact that different courts govern each of these jurisdictions. Any litigation in which your business is involved must go to the appropriate court.
There is no law in place that prevents you from setting up a business address or opening another branch in a different part of the UK. You just need to ensure your registered office remains in the country 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 the Rapid Formations free 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 with Companies House and updated on the public register. HMRC will be notified by Companies House of such changes, 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, at no extra charge.
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 and LLPs. Our Online Admin Portal will allow you to make changes to your company address details online and notify Companies House free of charge.