If you’re a company officer – typically a director or secretary – you need to provide Companies House with a correspondence address to receive official paperwork. This is also known as a ‘service address’.
In this guide, we look at what a service address is and why many individuals opt to use a third party (business) address rather than their home address.
What is a service address?
If you are a company officer – a company director, subscriber, secretary, member of an LLP, or person with significant control (PSC), Companies House maintains a record of your personal details.
You must provide the registrar with
- a service address – this is where official correspondence will be sent from Companies House, HMRC, and other public bodies. Unlike the company’s registered address, your service address may be outside the UK.
- your usual residential address (if different from the service address).
The service address appears on the public record, but – importantly – your residential address does not unless it is the same as your service address.
It must be a physical address, not a PO Box. It must also be registered in the same jurisdiction where your company is registered, e.g. England & Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
Why use a limited company service address?
New rules came into force in October 2009 following the introduction of the Companies Act 2006. Before this date, directors’ residential addresses would appear on the public record.
The introduction of a ‘service address’ option was understandably very welcome for small business people, keen to maintain some privacy.
If you are concerned about how your personal information is displayed on the public record, in general, you can read this useful official guidance. This might apply if the activities of your company might put directors at extra risk from unwanted attention.
Additionally, using a service address can help establish a professional image, as it can be a registered office address, located in a prestigious location.
What about the company’s registered office address?
All companies must have a registered office address where official paperwork is sent. Your service address may be the same as your company’s registered address.
Using a registered address service
A host of companies provide third party registered address services for both companies and individuals.
For an annual fee, the service provider will accept inbound official mail on your behalf, and then either scan and email, or forward the post to you at an address of your choosing.
This is an attractive alternative to placing your residential address on the public record. And inexpensive as well.
As only official post will be forwarded, you will also enjoy the added benefit of not receiving any ‘junk’ mail.
How much does a limited company service address cost?
The cost of a limited company service address can vary depending on the service provider you choose and the location of the address.
Some service providers charge a yearly fee while others charge monthly.
The cost can also depend on any additional services you require, such as mail forwarding or call forwarding.
It is important to compare the prices and services of different service providers to find the one that best suits your needs and budget.
Service address – just £26/year
Our partner, 1st Formations, provides a address forwarding service for company officials. It costs just £26 per year, per director. Find out more here.
Can I change my limited company service address?
Yes, you can change your limited company service address at any time. You must inform Companies House of the change within 14 days, and update all company documents and communications to reflect the new address.
If you are using a registered office service provider, you must inform them of the change so they can forward any mail to the new address. It is important to keep the service address up to date to ensure you receive all important correspondence.
You can make changes by using Companies House forms (CH01 for directors), or via webfiling. If you are using a third-party address provider, they may also provide an updating service on behalf of their clients.
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