When setting up a new UK company as a contractor, you need to choose a UK company address. As part of this, your company’s registered office and director’s service addresses are two locations which you need to decide on when you set up your own UK limited company. The service address is your official address as director and this will need careful consideration as part of your official details as director.
The registered office is the company service address (UK) while the director service address (Companies House) is your official address as director. Choosing these addresses is one of your legal requirements as a limited company contractor when you set up a new company. Therefore, it is important for company directors (UK) to consider and choose wisely their official address as director.
When you set up a new UK company, you have three choices:
- Ask your accountant to do this.
- Use a company formation agent.
Official documents filing
As a UK limited company owner, there are two main authorities that your business will deal with regularly. These are HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and Companies House. The latter one of these is the official body that looks after all of the administration and official filing for UK limited companies. Besides dealing with company formations, Companies House also administers the routine filing of the following documents for UK limited companies:
- The filing of annual accounts.
- The filing of statutory information -this is known as the Confirmation Statement.
- The filing of any official company changes, such as the company’s address or officials.
Director’s service address (Companies House) -initial thoughts
When you are a new contractor or consultant and set up your own company for the first time, you need to choose a registered office and director’s service address (and a service address as a PSC -see later). This `service address’ is your official director address, and it shows up on the UK public register.
Many contractors may have been running their company for several years. They may have just used their home address at the outset without considering the visibility of this on the public register.
Therefore, when you set up your new company, the service address as director is something you should consider.
When you start up as a contractor with your own company, you must choose a registered office (this is effectively the service address for limited company). When you select an address for this, you may be concerned that your home address will appear on the public record. Companies House maintains an online catalogue of UK companies, called the Companies House register or public record. This shows certain information about every company in the UK.
Besides choosing a registered office, you will also need to select an address for each company officer. The officers are the company’s directors and, if appropriate, the company secretary. The address that you will need to decide on is the service address for each company officer. The director can live anywhere in the world. However, they will need to provide a full postal address as their official address as director, known as the service address. If the company is registered in England or Wales, the service address as director and the registered office also needs to be in one of these countries. The same applies to companies set up in Scotland or Northern Ireland. i.e., the official addresses need to be in those countries too.
Other useful guides
In addition to this director’s address article, we have many other guides that will help you navigate Companies House, explaining how to report and make specific changes. We have covered in our articles:
A brief history
Before 1 October 2009, as a UK limited company director, your home address appeared 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 UK companies must report PSCs to Companies House. 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.
Director’s residential address vs director’s service address
When you own your own company, what is a director’s service address? Important to note, this service address for director is your official address as a limited company contractor. As a company director here is what to consider regarding your director’s address:
- The service address as director can be your own personal address if you do not mind this showing on public record. However, if you prefer to keep this private, you could use your accountant’s address if they offer this service. It can also be a director service address (UK) provider/mail forwarding service. However, can you use a PO Box for Companies House? The rules state that it cannot be a PO Box or DX number. This is because it needs to be a postal address for Companies House and other government bodies where you can physically receive your official mail and any legal notices.
- As a company director, you must also 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, 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. For example, it may also be private if you have past or current links to the security services.
Director’s service address -date of birth change
With the Companies Act, 2006 also came another change. The change is that the public register now only shows the director’s year and month of birth. Before this, their full date of birth, including the day they were born, was shown on the public record.
A person with Significant Control (PSC)
As mentioned earlier, all UK companies now need to show who their PSCs are. A PSC is someone who owns at least 25% of the share capital or voting rights in a UK company. Companies House will give you a list of the possible reasons for someone being a PSC when:
- As part of your company set up.
- When you are filing the annual Confirmation Statement.
From this list, you will need to choose the correct option for the PSC in your company.
As with the director service address (UK), you must submit a service address for each PSC. Companies House will also need the residential addresses for each PSC. However, only the service address for director and PSC will show on the public record.
A change in the director service address or residential address
Companies House will be informed of a director’s (and PSCs) service address when a company is formed.
On an ongoing basis, Companies House will need to be informed when there are any changes in:
- Director’s service or residential address.
- PSC’s service or residential address.
How to change director’s address on Companies House
Let us now look at how to change correspondence address on Companies House. You can change the correspondence (service) or residential address at any time. Please note you need to inform Companies House of your new address if you move house and update your residential address and service address if appropriate.
The process of updating your addresses can be completed via the Companies House WebFiling service. The reason for updating this, as and when changes occur, is to keep the Companies House register up to date as best as possible.
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 companies will update a change online via the Companies House WebFiling website.
Director’s service address -personal statutory mail
The service address for director is the official address for company mail. This is where government agencies, such as Companies House, 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. Their fee will also depend on the level of service.
Any official government mail and legal notices will be posted to the registered office and the service address for the director. In both cases, you must ensure that your accountant or registered office provider forwards any statutory mail to you.
Director’s service address London
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 benefits by showing that your company has its official address in the UK capital.
Protecting your name and other details
Can you hide your name on Companies House records? If you work under certain circumstances, you may be able to apply to protect your personal information on the Companies House register. There is a process to follow when you apply for this and you can apply either online or through the post.
This is the official guide from Companies House, which covers this area in more detail.
You may plan to set up your own company now or in the future. If you do, there are things to bear in mind. This includes choosing your official director address, your company’s registered office, and your PSC service address(es). If you do not wish to show your home address your official address as director on public record, you could use your accountant’s address or a mail forwarding service instead. In summary, if you do this from the start for both your registered office and service addresses, your home address will never appear on the public record.
It could be the case that your company was set up before 1 October 2009. If so, you may have used your home address as your company’s registered office or your service address as director. When this is the case, 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 so, you might have used your home address as the registered office and service address for director. Once again, if this is the case, it will have shown on the public record for many years.
In both of these instances, 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. As part of the new company set-up, you can bear the above in mind and set the registered office and director’s service address at an address other than where you live, if you want to keep your home address private from the outset.
Link to Contractor Advice UK group on