What is the registered office of a limited company?

When you set up a limited company, you need to provide Companies House with a registered office address. This must be a real physical address, where paperwork can be delivered, and not a PO box.

Importantly, your registered address need not be the address where you actually conduct your business, but it must be a real address all the same.

Limited company directors often use their accountant’s address for this purpose. This has the added benefit of enabling your accountant to keep on top of your Companies House and HMRC communications, without you having to forward documents to them all the time.
Virtual office

Alternatively, you may prefer to use a registered office service which will then forward any correspondence to another address for a monthly or annual fee. This has the added benefit of allowing you to keep your home address private.

As well as a registered office, virtual office service providers often offer additional services such as call answering. Combining these services can help you to provide a more professional image for you company if you are just starting out, or work from home.

Changing your registered office address

If you decide to change the registered address of your limited company at any time, you should inform Companies House via Form AD01. Prior to the implementation of the Companies Act 2006, Form 287 was used for this purpose – this is no longer used.

When updating the address, you must ensure that the new address is in the same region as the address you originally supplied during the incorporation process (England & Wales, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland).

You should be aware that any change of address only becomes active once the new address has been added to the Companies House database. You should take care when entering your new address details to ensure that they are correct, as all details must match Post Office records.

Companies House also points out, in the rare event that someone you deal with in business ‘requests in writing the address of your registered office, or the location where they can inspect your company records, or details of the records that you keep at your registered office, you must respond within five working days.’

You can download a PDF version of Form AD01 here and may file a paper return, submit the change online (via the WebFiling service), or ask your accountant to make the change on your behalf.

Further resources on setting up a limited company

For more help on the various aspects of forming a company, read these other ByteStart guides;

More on starting and running your own business

ByteStart is packed with help and tips on all aspects of starting and running a small business. Check out some of our most popular guides;

Starting Up

Funding your business

Money & Tax matters

Promoting your business

Legal issues

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