Let’s assume that the small business we’re focusing on here is a limited company in the UK. Even freelancers, contractors and small business owners that operate as sole traders are expected to supply a business address when they register with HMRC as self-employed, but this could be their home address (though that’s not advisable). All business owners should consider whether they’d prefer to keep their private address private and consider taking on a business address. A business address protects your privacy and security and can put forward a more professional or a more “local” image.
Register of companies at Companies House, which address?
For limited company businesses and partnerships there is a requirement to provide Companies House with various addresses and for these to be made available on the register of companies.
Below are the differences between a Registered Office Address (ROA), a Service Address, and a Business Address.
The ROA of a business is the official, legal address of a limited company. This is where all legal and statutory mail is delivered. Private limited companies must keep some or all of their statutory records at their ROA unless they are stored at a SAIL Address instead. These include the certificate of incorporation, the memorandum and articles of association, and share certificates (if applicable).
A Service Address is the contact location nominated by an individual director, LLP member, company secretary, subscriber, or person with significant control (PSC). It is where s/he will receive personal statutory mail from Companies House and HMRC.
Both a ROA and a Service Address are required under UK company law and both can be viewed on the register of companies at Companies House. However, unlike a ROA, a Service Address can be located anywhere in the world, but could be the same address as the ROA if preferred.
A Business Address is the official address of the company where general mail is sent from clients, suppliers, etc. Companies might have lots of different business addresses, locally, nationally and even internationally. They might also have a trading address or a shipping address, the latter being where retail business might instruct customers to send back returns. The business address doesn’t need to match the ROA, although the same address can be used for both purposes.
Businesses often nominate their accountant’s offices as their ROA and some use it as their Service Address as well. This is largely because at an accountant’s offices security is assured. This is the address that will appear on the public register of companies and this is where all official mail from Companies House and HMRC will be sent.