Anyone new to the world of business could easily be flummoxed by the different addresses that are mentioned when getting started. Especially if trading as a limited company. In this blog, we’re going to answer the following question – what is a trading address?
We’ll look at what a trading address is and what it isn’t, as well as answer common questions about it. Let’s get started.
The trading address explained
As the name would suggest, the trading address is the location where a business conducts its trading activity from.
It can also be, but doesn’t have to be, where non-official correspondence to a business is sent. This includes mail from banks, clients, suppliers and other business contacts.
There is an element of confusion when it comes to the trading address, because there is no legal definition for it.
The trading address is not an official Companies House address
Companies House, the United Kingdom’s registrar of limited companies, do not use the term trading address.
In fact, not one of the addresses that Companies House request when starting up (and maintaining) a limited company has to be the place where a company does its business.
Let’s look at these addresses a little further.
Trading address vs registered office (and the other official Companies House addresses)
The trading address is the location where the principal business of a company is carried out.
The registered office address
This is the official address for a UK limited company and where government bodies such as HMRC and Companies House will send their correspondence.
The company does not need to trade from the registered office, nor does any representative from the company need to be based there, provided that the official government correspondence that is delivered to the address is seen by the company officers.
Your place of business can be used as the registered office address, as long as it’s based in the UK (the registered office must be a UK address) and you have permission from the property’s landlord(s).
The registered office is on the Companies House public register. This means anyone can look the address up in just a few online clicks via the Companies House search tool.
Of course, if you are using your trading address as the registered office, this will make it publicly available information. This has a number of downsides – especially if you are trading from your residential address:
- Raises the likelihood of unwanted visitors
- Opens you up to junk mail
- Increases the risk of ID fraud
- Gives the impression of your business being small / home-based
You may be thinking that the address is publicly available information anyway, but this isn’t necessarily the case, as you do not have to use it as your mailing address.
See the end of this post for information about our separate Registered Office Address and Business Address services, whereby you can use our London address as your company’s registered office and mailing address.
The service address
When adding a director, secretary, person with significant control or shareholder to a company, you need to provide a service address (also known as the correspondence address) for each appointment.
This is the official address for each person and where HMRC and Companies House will send their correspondence.
The service address can be based anywhere in the world.
The company does not need to carry out any trading at the service address(es), nor does anyone from the company need to be based there, just as long as the official correspondence that arrives at the address is seen by the appropriate officer.
Like the registered office, the service address is located on the public register. So, whilst using the company’s trading address or a residential address as a service address is fine – you may decide against this if you’d rather keep it away from the public’s gaze.
See the end of this post for information about our Service Address service, whereby you can use our London address as the service address for one of your company officers.
The director and person with significant control’s residential address
As well as giving a service address for your company officers, you will also need to provide the residential address for each director and person with significant control in the company.
This must be the genuine residential address (and so can be based anywhere in the world).
The residential address is not placed on the public register (Companies House will only pass it on to credit agencies and government bodies if necessary).
If your trading address is the residential address of a company officer, you have no choice but to provide it.
The SAIL (single alternative inspection location) address
A limited company must maintain and store a number of company records. These are normally kept at the registered office address, but the company officers can have a SAIL address if this is not convenient.
This must be based in the same country as the registered office address.
The SAIL address is placed on the Companies House public register, so if a trading or residential address is used, that too will appear on the public register.
Common questions about the trading address
Is the trading address on the Companies House public register?
The only way it will be placed on the Companies House public register is if it’s being used as one of the following:
- Registered office address
- A director, secretary, person with significant control or shareholder service address
- SAIL address
Can I have more than one trading address?
A business that trades from multiple locations will have multiple trading addresses. However, in instances where you need to state a trading address, you will need to pick just one.
Do I have to display my trading address anywhere?
There is no requirement to display, print or publish the address unless you also wish to use the address as a mailing address, in which case you will obviously need to provide the address to your business contacts.
Can the trading address be a residential address?
Yes. If your primary place of business is a residential address, that is your trading address.
My bank is asking for a trading address. Can I use your address?
We’re afraid not. None of our address services allow you to use our address as your trading address.
Can I use your address as the HMRC ‘principal place of business’?
No, you must use the address of your place of business.
Do you offer a trading address service?
No, but we do offer a Business Address Service whereby you can use our London address as your mailing address. See below for more information.
About our address services
We offer a number of address services that allow you to use our London address in a specific capacity.
These are perfect for protecting residential addresses (or other addresses) from public view and making a brilliant business impression:
So, there you have it
What is a trading address? It is the location where a business carries out its trading activity.
We hope you have found this post helpful. Please leave any questions in the comments section below, and we’ll be happy to help.
Thanks for reading.