A director’s service address is the formal and official andress where the Company’s Director(s) receive formal communication from Companies House, HMRC and other official/regulatory bodies.
Every director who is appointed to a company directorship (during the company’s formation) or after incorporation must have a service address.
The word ‘service’ in this case means ‘to serve papers’. In other words a company’s director must be able to receive any paper served onto her or him.
The director’s address is placed on a public record. That means anybody who has access to Companies House information may find out the Director’s service address.
If you are concerned about your privacy, Companies Act 2006 allows a company director’s ‘service address’ to be at any address where a director can access all of their mail and correspondence. Parliament introduced this flexibility to help people protect their personal detail.
If a Director chooses to have her or his ‘service address’ different from his or her home address, then only public authorities and credit agencies will have access to the residential address information. This ensures that company directors can have an extra layer of data protection. Directors can use their company’s registered address as the director’s ‘service address’. That may be useful as you can get all formal communication from HMRC and Companies House at your office and never miss any of the important post.
The law requires only company directors to have a service address. For example, company secretaries and shareholders are not required to have a service address.
Company secretaries and shareholders must provide a valid contact address to Companies House at the time of the company’s formation. After a new company is formed, a new shareholder that subscribes to companies shares does not have to submit address information to Companies House.
Does a company director’s service address have to be in the UK?
No. A director’s service address does not have to be in the UK.
A director’s services address can be anywhere in the world. However, the director’s service address must be a physical address. The address may be a residential or a business address. This service address flexibility is very convenient to directors who may live in one country but run a business in the UK.
Please note that when you are forming a new company, it is ideal that a director has a UK residential address (even if the service address is outside of the UK). This is not a legal requirement, but non-UK resident directors will often have difficulties opening current accounts for their companies and getting other business services in the UK.
If you are a non-resident and would like to set up a UK company, we strongly encourage you to speak with an accounting and/or legal professional.
The main purpose of a service address is for the director to be able to receive official communication timely.
What is the difference between a service address and a registered office address?
The difference between a service adress and a registered office address is that one is for company directors and the other one is for companies. UK’s companies law requires that HMRC and Companies House send their statutory correspondence to the director’s service address.
The company’s registered address, also required by law, is the official company’s address where HMRC, Companies House and Credit Agencies must send statutory and other communication relevant to the company. Depending where your company is registered (e.g. England & Wales, Northern Ireland, or Scotland), the company’s registered address must be in that region.
Can a company have a registered office outside of the UK?
A UK company may not have a registered address outside of the UK.
A company director may use the company’s registered address as a director’s service address. If the company’s registered office address meets the relevant legal requirements, then the company’s directors may use it as a service address as well.
As you will read from our Registered Office blog, a company may not use a PO Box for its official registered address. A company’s official registered address must be a forma postal address that can accept mail from HMRC and Companies House (often registered mail).
For more information, please see our FAQ page.