Can a Virtual Office Be Used as a Registered Office?

21st August 2019

Virtual offices are ideal for many business owners keen on reducing the expenses associated with operating a traditional physical office space. Although they provide many benefits, it can often be unclear as to whether or not a virtual address can be used as an address for a registered office.

Are Registered Offices Necessary?

A registered office is not always necessary for your business. In the UK, for example, sole proprietors and unincorporated businesses do not always require a registered office location. This means that a virtual office is not always necessary, although it’s still a worthwhile consideration for a myriad of reasons.

Where registered offices are necessary, virtual office providers often provide customers with an acceptable office location that may or may not be different from your virtual address. This is done to satisfy the legal requirements of a registered office, which in our example of the UK should suffice for HMRC to correspond with your business.

Enquire About Your Options

Most virtual office services will be able to assist you with enquiries related to using a virtual office address as your registered business address. Ideally, you should be looking for a virtual office that provides you with an address appropriate for your needs, including the type of business formation that you’re operating.

In many countries, limited companies, limited partnerships, and limited liability corporations cannot be registered without an appropriate physical office location. For example, an LLC in the UK or a GmbH in Germany requires a registered office location. Virtual offices often provide legally acceptable addresses for these types of business formation.

PO Boxes: Yea or Nay?

Businesses which are run from private homes run the risk of exposing you to unwanted guests amongst other risks, so it makes sense to register a business address that’s someplace other than your home. PO Boxes are not an acceptable alternative because you may not be able to receive parcels, and you’ll also leave a negative impression on clients since you don’t have a physical meeting place.

Furthermore, in many jurisdictions, you cannot use a PO Box as a registered office. Companies House in the UK requires a physical address to register a business, so consider a virtual office instead of a PO Box.