Changes in the law for registered office addresses

Ever since the introduction of the Companies Act 1989 all companies are required to have a UK registered office address. The address must be provided with your company formation details when registering your company. It is this address to which government organisations will always write to. It is this address that Companies House letters and reminders will be sent to. HM Revenue and Customs, the UK tax authority, will also contact the company through this address.

The registered office address will also determine which tax office you report to. The registered office address can be anywhere within the UK,however, Scottish registered companies have to be registered to a Scottish address. Even if your business moves to England or Wales the company will need to maintain a Scottish address as the legal systems are slightly different. The address cannot be a post office and needs to be a genuine physical location. It has always been a legal requirement to display the company name at the registered office address. This if often done using a traditional brass company name plate, but the name can displayed in any way as long as it is clear.

In addition the companies details should also be displayed in full on company stationery and official paperwork. This should include the following documents- Official company business letters, Company notices and other official publications, Bills of exchange, promissory notes, endorsements, orders for money or goods purporting to be signed by or on behalf of the company Bills of parcels, invoices, receipts, letters of credit. Following the introduction of the Companies Act 2006 it is now also a legal requirement to display your company's registered office address on any electronic communications and on your company websites.

In addition to this if you have a separate trading address that is different to the registered office address then this should be made clear to avoid any confusion for your website visitors. The new laws also require that your registered office address and company details are recorded on your email correspondence. The latest legislation requires that the following information is shown- The company's place of registration and the number with which it is registered, The address of its registered office, In the case of an investment company, the fact that it is such a company, and In the case of a limited company exempt from the obligation to use the word "limited" as part of its name, the fact that it is a limited company should be clearly stated.

Simply having a registered office address now goes beyond just displaying your company name at your business location. You must meet the legal requirements, on stationery, on websites and within your emails. Failure to comply may lead to warnings being issued, penalties made against your company and potentially a court appearance. Make sure your company is up to date with the latest legislation to avoid being reported to Companies House.

Mike Harris is the owner of SFS and has worked within the business advice industry for many years. The SFS Group of Companies can provide a registered office for any limited company. They can offer a registered office address at several UK locations.

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