At Clavering House we have a lot of small business customers that are just starting out with their new businesses, and they often ask us about a registered office. Mainly, what is it, why do they need one, and whether a registered office is the same as a mailing address. So I thought it would be useful to set the record straight.

What is a registered office address?

When you set up a limited company, or a limited liability partnership, you are legally required to register the company at a nominated address in the UK. If your company is registered in England and Wales the registered office must be there too – so it can’t be in Scotland or Northern Ireland. The registered address will then be displayed on any public records relating to your company. It will also be the address that Companies House and HMRC will use as your correspondence address.

Is a registered office address the same as a mailing address?

That’s up to you. There are some restrictions on where your registered office can be. Assuming your mailing address fulfils the requirements of an office address, the two addresses can be one and the same. However some people choose to have their registered office address at one place and their mailing address elsewhere, depending on the needs of their business. So for example they may want a different business address to use on their website if it’s more local, or more prestigious than their registered office address (just make sure you display your registered office address in your footer on your website and business stationary alongside your company registration number). Also you can use your home address as your registered office address, but may not want that to be the address you use on your website.

Where can my registered office be located?

You can use any physical address for your registered office address. So you cannot use a PO Box number or, for legal services, a DX Exchange number. There are lots of options you can use though. The decision really is whether you would be comfortable to have that address available for view by the public, in person or online. The most obvious place to have your registered office address is the place you run your business – your office address or your home address. Another option some small businesses choose to use is the address of their accountant, particularly useful for people running a business from home. Another option for home-based businesses is to use a virtual office mailing address.

Can I use my virtual office address as my registered office?

A virtual office isn’t classified as a PO Box, so you should be able to use your virtual office mailing address as your registered office, as long as the mail is delivered to a physical building, and your business name is displayed. Just check with the virtual office service provider to make sure before you subscribe. By using a virtual office service for your registered office address and mailing address, you avoid the confusion of having two addresses associated with the business, and of course you can protect your privacy if you run your business from home. This option also gives you the option to change easily as you grow, particularly if the virtual office service can be subscribed to monthly.

How do I change my registered office address?

Changing your registered office address couldn’t be easier. Just visit the Companies House website at and complete form AD01. You can do this online, or print out a form to complete and post back. The address is usually amended by Companies House fairly quickly, and you’ll receive a letter from them to confirm it’s been done.