UK limited companies are incorporated (registered) in one of three UK jurisdictions – England & Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland. It is not possible to change a company’s country of registration, so you cannot simply transfer a Scottish company to England in this respect. You would need to dissolve your existing company and re-incorporate in a different country, which is time-consuming and costly. However, there is a very simple alternative, which we discuss below.
Transfer a Scottish company to England by moving business operations
If your company is registered in Scotland, it will always be a Scottish limited company and it must always maintain a registered office address in Scotland, but this has little bearing on where your business is based.
You can easily run your company from a different part of the UK (or anywhere else in the world) and carry on trading as normal. The registered address of your company is just a technicality that has very little impact on day-to-day business operations.
If you want to continue running your company when you move to England, a few simple steps will be required:
1. Set up a Professional Registered Office Address in Scotland
If you currently use your Scottish home address as a registered office, you will need to change it when you move to England. The same is true if you use commercial premises in Scotland as a registered office, unless you’re planning to keep this location open.
If you need to change your registered office, the easiest solution is to set up a Scottish Registered Office Service with mail forwarding before you move to England. This will allow you to maintain a professional registered office in Scotland and have all statutory company correspondence scanned and emailed to you within one working day of receipt.
To change your registered office, you will need to pass a board resolution (i.e. directors’ resolution) to authorise the change of address. You must then notify Companies House as soon as possible by filing form AD01 online. Your new registered office address will be updated on public record.
2. Change your service address
Service addresses can be situated anywhere. They do not have to be in the same country as your registered office, so you have more flexibility here.
If you currently use a non-residential service address facility with mail-forwarding, there will be no need to change it when you move to England. However, if you use your Scottish home address as a service address, you can change it to your new home address or set up a Professional Service Address in England.
If you change your service address, you must notify Companies House as soon as possible by filing form CH01 online. The public register will be updated accordingly.
3. Set up a new business address
It would be beneficial to set up a Professional Business Address in England when you move. This will help you to establish a local business presence in your new area, increase brand awareness, and attract new clients.
If you already have a non-residential business address in Scotland, you may wish to keep this in place and have mail forwarded to you in England. By maintaining a business presence in Scotland, you will minimise the risk of losing existing and prospective customers who may prefer to do business with local companies.
4. Update the register of directors’ usual residential addresses
One of the statutory company registers you should be maintaining is the register of directors’ usual residential addresses. This information is also held on a private register at Companies House. Whilst directors’ home addresses are not a matter of public record, you must notify Companies House if they change. You can do this by filing form CH01 online.
5. Notify customers and business contacts
Before your company’s business operations move from Scotland to England, you should contact all of your clients, suppliers, service providers, investors, and anyone else with whom you have businesses dealings. Tell them about your plans and explain any impact this may have on your professional relationships. If applicable, reassure existing and prospective customers that it’s business as usual.
Depending on the type of business you operate, you may need to review contracts or service agreements Moving to a new location could have an impact on availability, costs, and delivery timescales, for example. All of these practicalities must be taken into consideration well in advance to avoid unnecessary expense and disruption to normal business operations.
Updating company details at Companies House
You can notify Companies House about changes to your various addresses using 1st Formations’ free Online Company Manager. This service is available to all limited companies registered in the UK. Simply create a free account through our website and import your company onto our system. Thereafter, you can access and manage your company details online and report changes to Companies House.