Your director’s service address at Companies House is something that you need to decide on when you set up your own company. This is something that is often missed when someone sets up their own company for the first time. Many contractors who have been running their company for a number of years may have never even considered this. However, the service address is your official address as a limited company director, and this shows up on the public register. Therefore, when you are setting up your company for the first time, this is something that you should think about.
When you start up as a contractor with your own company you will need to choose a registered office for it. When you choose an address for this you may then have a concern that your home address may show up on public record. Companies House maintains an online record and this is called the Companies House register or public record. This shows certain information about each and every company in the UK.
Besides choosing a registered office, you will also need to choose a director service address for each director. The director can live anywhere in the world however they will need to provide a full postal address as their service address. If the company is registered in England and Wales, the director service address and the registered office also needs to be in one of these countries. The same applies to companies set up in Scotland and Northern Ireland in that the official addresses need to be in those countries too.
We have many other guides that will help you navigate Companies House and these explain how to report and make certain changes. We have covered in our articles the UK Public Register, the duties of a company director, the Confirmation Statement, the SIC code, how to change your company name and if you need a company secretary.
A brief history
Before 1 October 2009, your home address used to show up on the public record. After the introduction of the Companies Act 2006, directors are now able to provide a service address. This Act now gives privacy to those who need it.
Another recent change is that companies also need to show all PSC’s now -PSC stands for Person with Significant Control.
The Companies Act 2006 was one of the largest pieces of law to come into play in recent years. Indeed, an earlier version took the step to remove the duty of companies to appoint a company secretary for small companies. With the Companies Act 2006, came some welcome changes, and within this came more privacy for company directors.
What is a service address and what is a residential address
A service address is your official address as director. Here is what to consider:
- The directors service address can be your accountant’s address if they offer this service. It can also be a director service address provider / mail forwarding service. Please note, it cannot be a PO Box or DX number, and it needs to be an address where you can physically receive your official government mail.
- As a company director, you will also need to provide a residential address. This must be your home address, but it will not be shown on the public record for all to see.
- Companies House will keep your residential address on a private register, and it is only viewable by certain public bodies. These bodies include credit reference agencies as they need to carry out certain checks.
- In some cases, your residential address can still be private from credit reference agencies. To organise this, you will need to submit a privacy order. It may also be private if you have past or current links to the security services, for example.
Directors service address -date of birth change
With the Companies Act, 2006 also came another change. The change was that the public register now only shows the director’s year and month of birth. Before this, these details, along with the date that they were born on, was also on the public record.
Person with Significant Control (PSC)
As mentioned earlier, all UK companies now need to show who their PSC’s are. A PSC is someone who owns at least 25% of the share capital or voting rights in a company. As part of your company setup, or filing of the annual Confirmation Statement, Companies House will give you a list of the possible reasons for someone being a PSC. From this list, you will need to choose the option that is correct for the PSC in your company.
As with the director service address, you will also need to show a service address for each PSC. Companies House will also need the residential addresses for each PSC however, it is the service address that will show on public record.
A change in the director service address or residential address
When a company is formed, Companies House will be informed of a director’s (and PSCs) service address.
On an ongoing basis, Companies House will need informing as and when any changes occur in a director’s (or PSCs) service or residential address. This process can be completed via the Companies House WebFiling service. The reason for updating this as and when changes occur is so that the Companies House register is kept up to date, as best as it can be.
Changes in the service or residential address details can be reported through the post on form CH01. They can also be updated online with Companies House via the Annual Confirmation Statement form. However, most will update a change online via the Companies House WebFiling website.
Personal statutory mail
The director service address is the official address where government agencies, such as Companies House and HMRC and other government bodies, will send official mail and correspondence.
Your business will also need a registered office address, where it can receive its statutory mail. For several reasons, you may also not wish to show your home address as your registered office.
As with your director service address, you could opt to set your registered office at either:
- your accountant’s address, if they offer this service.
- you could use a business that provides address services (a quick online search will show the providers who offer these services) and their fee will depend on the level of service.
Any official government mail will be posted to the registered office as well as the director’s service address. In both cases, you will need to ensure that your accountant or registered office provider forward any statutory mail on to you.
Many businesses, including the larger ones may also prefer a London service address for the company registered office and director service addresses. This can have its own benefits by showing that your company has its official addresses in the capital.
You may be planning to plan to set up your own company now or in the future. If you do, there are things to bear in mind and this includes choosing your official address as director as well as your company’s registered office and PSC service address(es). If you do not wish to show your home address at all on public record, you could use your accountants’ address or a mail forwarding service instead. To sum up, if you do this from the start for both your registered office and service addresses, your home address will never show up on the public record.
Perhaps it is the case that your company may have been set up before 1 October 2009. If this is the case, you may have used your home address as your company’s registered office or your directors service address. If this is so, it will have shown up on the public record for several years.
On the other hand, you may have set your company up after 1 October 2009. If this was the case, you might have used your home address as the registered office or your service addresses. Once again, if this the case, it will have shown on the public record for many years.
In both of these cases, if you would now prefer privacy and your situation suits this, you might look to take steps to close your company. You can then start up a new company in due course, and bear in mind the above if you would like to keep your home address private from the outset.
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