Companies House Registered Office and Email Addresses: Top 5 Tips

When registering a limited company at Companies House, you are required to confirm several addresses at which the company and its officers can be located.

But there is often confusion over the different address requirements, notably whether they will be publicly visible and in fairness, the address requirements have changed just this month, writes Helen Christopher, founder of financial and accounting advisory Beansprout Consultancy.

Let’s start with an overview of the different address requirements before my top 5 tips for registering with Companies House the mandatory registered office and email addresses.

Registered office address on Companies House: intro

This is the official address of your company registered with Companies House and is a legal requirement.

It's where official correspondence and legal documents will be sent.

This address must be in the same jurisdiction where your company is registered (e.g., England and Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland). Since March 4th 2024, your chosen address can no longer be a PO box address. This is one of the new requirements referred to earlier.

Be aware, the company’s registered office address is publicly available on the register.

With Companies House, what is a service address?

This is the address of the company's directors and secretaries. It's where official communications from Companies House and HM Revenue & Customs will be sent. Directors' service addresses can be the same as their residential addresses or a separate address.

Be aware, the service address of the director or secretary is publicly available on the register.

What are the Business and SAIL Addresses?

The Business Address is the physical location where your company conducts its business operations.

Your business address can be different from the registered office address and service address, but will inevitably be public.

The SAIL Address stands for Single Alternative Inspection Location

It’s an optional address where your company's statutory registers and records can be kept, accessible to the public upon request.

There is no legal requirement to have a SAIL address, it is just sometimes used as a convenient alternative to the registered office as a place where records can be inspected.

What other addresses for a company on Companies House?

There is a “correspondence address for directors.”

Each director must provide a correspondence address for personal communications related to their directorship. This is visible on the public register.

There is also a “directors residential address.”

Also known in Companies House terms as the director’s “usual residential address,” this address is stored on a private register and is not visible to the public (unless you have used it as your service address or correspondence address).

What is Companies House’s new requirement of a registered email address?

Since March 4th 2024, there is another new requirement for all companies to give a registered email address to Companies House, as well as physical addresses.

The registered email address will not be published on the public register.

New companies will need to give a registered email address when they incorporate. Existing companies will need to give a registered email address when they file their next confirmation statement with a statement date from March 5th 2024.

So, with so many addresses required, how do you decide where – precisely, to use? Here, to help you decide, are my:

Top 5 tips for Companies House registered office and email addresses

1. Consider privacy and security

Using your personal address as the registered office of the company and your service address, means it is visible to all.

You may want to safeguard your personal privacy by using an alternative address for both options, which is distinct from your residential addresses.

For a small annual fee, there are several organisations offering professional address services or virtual offices to maintain privacy while projecting a professional image.

2. Adhere to legal and contractual requirements

Ensure all chosen addresses comply with Companies House regulations, including having physical locations rather than PO Boxes.

If you do decide to use your home address as the registered office and/or service address, ensure there are no restrictive covenants in mortgage deeds or lease agreements in your name which prohibit the use of the address for these purposes.

3. Ensure accessibility and convenience

Select a registered office address that's easily accessible for receiving official mail and legal documents.

Opt for a business address convenient for clients, suppliers, and employees, ideally situated with good transportation links.

Your chosen address should facilitate prompt responses to critical correspondence, so if it is not your home address make sure whoever is receiving the post, offers a service that means the correspondence will be forwarded promptly and dealt with quickly.

4. Maintain professionalism and brand image

Your chosen addresses contribute significantly to your company's professional image and brand perception.

Avoid using residential addresses for official purposes if they don't reflect the level of professionalism you aim to uphold.

5. Future proof your Companies House registered addressed  

Align your address choices with long-term business goals and scalability objectives.

Choose addresses with flexibility to accommodate future expansions, relocations, or changes in directorship to avoid the need for updating your registered address regularly.

In short? It's best not to take on the minefield alone

Navigating address requirements at Companies House is a fundamental aspect of managing a limited company efficiently, but can be a minefield.

It is easy to trip up and unintentionally display an address publicly that you wanted to maintain as private. Seeking advice and guidance when incorporating a new company, such as from an accountant dedicated to your business, is a good way to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Thursday 14th Mar 2024
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Written by Helen Christopher

Chartered accountant Helen Christopher is a former head of finance & accounting and a former chief operating officer, who has worked for 28 years in corporate roles. Helen qualified as an accountant in 1995 with Price Waterhouse (now PwC) – the year she became a member of the ICAEW, and seven years prior to her becoming an FCA. Also a local magistrate for the Department of Justice, Helen specialises in tax, accounting and HMRC advice for small companies and their owners. 
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