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Legal Requirements for a Registered Office Address

All UK registered companies are legally required to have a UK registered office address. It is the address of a company to which Companies House letters and reminders will be sent. HMRC, the UK tax authority, will also contact the company through this address. The registered office address can be anywhere in England and Wales (or Scotland if your company is registered there). It should be a genuine location and suitable for delivering documents to the company. It is also the address at which legal notices are officially served.

It has always been a legal requirement to display the company name at the registered office address. In addition it should also be displayed clearly on company stationery and paperwork. This includes the following-

All the company’s business letters,
All bills of exchange, promissory notes, endorsements, cheques, orders for money or goods purporting to be signed by or on behalf of the company,
All notices and other official publications, and
All bills of parcels, invoices, receipts, letters of credit.

However, following the introduction of the Companies Act 2006 it is now a legal requirement to display your company’s registered office address on your website and any electronic communications. Most people will put this information on their contact page of a website or on the footer of the home page. If you have a trading address that is different to the registered office address then this should be made clear to avoid any confusion for your website visitors. It also important to include the details in your email correspondence. Most emails to customers and suppliers are now legally required to include the company’s details.

So what exactly should be displayed on the company’s business letters, order forms, websites and electronic communications? It is now law that the following information is shown-

The company’s place of registration (Scotland, England or Wales) and the number with which it is registered,
The full 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.

As you can see using a registered office address now goes beyond simply displaying your company name. You need to ensure that you meet the legal requirements on paperwork and on electronic communications. Failure to comply will initially lead to Companies House writing to the company asking for an explanation. To date there are no test cases to show what will happen if you do not adhere to the Companies Act 2006, but it is unlikely that the company’s directors will want to be the first. Make sure you follow the rules and do not give your competitors, or a disgruntled customer, the chance to report you.