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Trading Address vs Registered Address: What’s The Difference? 

by | Mar 20, 2024

As one of the most affordable virtual office providers in London, ‘what’s the difference between a trading address and a registered business address’ is a question we get asked a lot. 

At Impact Brixton, we support small businesses at all stages, including when they’re first registering with Companies House. And a really important part of this process is providing a registered business address for your company. 

A registered business address has a totally different function to your company trading address – and there are all sorts of rules and regulations surrounding what address you can use. So it’s really important to understand the difference between registered address and trading address, as you’ll need to make sure you’re within the legal requirements!

This clear and simple blog post will break down the difference between the trading address of a company and its registered business address. And if you’re wondering how to set up a business with Companies House, you can check out our complete step-by-step guide

Trading Address vs Business Address: What’s The Difference? 

While you can use the same physical location as your trading address and your business address, it’s important to bear in mind that the two addresses have different functions – and that they’ll be displayed in different places. They’re also subject to different legal requirements that you need to be aware of when deciding which address to use. So what is the difference between a trading address and a business address? 

What is a trading address?

Simply put, a trading address is the location where you carry out business activities. It’s the location where you carry out the everyday operations of delivering your business’s products or services to customers. And where is your trading address? Typically this is an office or a factory or a warehouse, but if you’re just starting out, it might well be your kitchen table! 

You’ll need your trading address for company business including bank statements and notices, communicating with your clients via invoices and letters, corresponding with your clients on items such as utilities and material bills, and – crucially – VAT registration for your business and any relevant self-assessment tax returns. 

We’re often asked: does your trading address appear on Companies House? And the answer is no. You’re completely in control of where your trading address appears, whether you choose to put it on your marketing materials and your website, or you prefer to keep it private.  

You might be wondering what to do if you have more than one location where you complete your business operations. In this case, it’s really important to note that you cannot have more than one trading address. This has to be the place where you complete the majority of your business operations. And it’s where all your non-official correspondence will be sent, it’s important that it’s somewhere you work from regularly, in order to make sure you stay up-to-date with your mail. 

As your trading address needs to represent the location where you carry out your business operations, you cannot use a virtual office and you cannot use a PO box. You can, however, use a coworking space. This is a great option if you’re a sole trader looking to avoid using your home address, but you don’t have the money or the need for a private office of your own. 

What is a registered business address?

A registered business address is the address you use to register your business with Companies House. UK law states that every business must provide an address when setting up their business. 

Your registered business address has to be a physical location capable of receiving your post, as this is the address to which government agencies will send you official correspondence. This includes any mail from Companies House or HMRC. So it’s really important you use an address where you’re confident you’ll receive your mail in a timely manner! 

It’s entirely legal to use your home address as your registered business address – but if you ask us, this isn’t a good option. This is because whatever address you use to register your business will be publicly available on Companies House. Anyone will easily be able to search your company and find your address through the government website. So you might not want to use your home address!

For this reason, we’re often asked: can a business address be a PO box? And the answer is sadly no, as your registered business address needs to be a physical, bricks and mortar location. However, there is a perfectly legal way to get an impressive business address without using a PO box – and that’s to use a virtual office instead!

Inc Media recently predicted that by 2030, every office will be a virtual office. And that’s because a virtual office comes with all sorts of perks that a PO box doesn’t have, including mail scanning or mail forwarding, and in the case of Impact Brixton, discounted access to a coworking space or meeting rooms. We highly recommend getting a business address with mail forwarding, as it means you’ll never miss an important piece of mail. 

Using a virtual office also allows you to keep your home address private, while also using a professional address that can boost your company’s reputation – for example, if you use a London virtual office in a renowned business district. And it’s ideal if you’re looking for a business address for Shopify. So while you can use a PO box, you’re almost definitely better off using a virtual office instead! Check out our blog post to discover more about how a virtual office can work for you and your business. 

If you’ve just read the above and you think you’d like to swap your current registered business address to a virtual office address, don’t worry. The good news is that you can change your trading address on Companies House at any time. There’s a useful guide on how to change your address on Companies House here

How to Get a Virtual Office

It’s really simple to sign up for a virtual office, whether you’re looking for a business address for your LLC or you’re just looking to boost your reputation as a sole trader. And if you choose an affordable provider like Impact Brixton, it can cost as little as 0.41p per day! Check out our blog post with everything you need to know about virtual offices, including the top providers in 2024. 

When you sign up to Impact Brixton’s virtual office, you’ll be able to use our professional postcode in the heart of Brixton Village (SW9 8LE) as your registered business address on Companies House. That means that when people look you up, they’ll see that your company is based in the middle of a renowned small business hub in London. We’ll scan and email all your mail to you on the day we receive it, making sure there’s no delay in you receiving the important information inside. Or, you can choose to have your mail forwarded directly onto you instead! You’ll also receive access to our coworking space, workshops and events. It’s a great way to boost your brand and grow your network. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is a trading address the same as a registered address?

While you can use the same physical location as your trading address and your registered address, they’re designed to fulfill different legal requirements. A trading address is the location where you carry out your business operations, and it’s where you’ll receive all non-official correspondence, including from your bank and from your clients. A registered address is the address you use when registering your business with Companies House, as is required by UK law. It’s where you’ll receive all your official correspondence from Companies House and HMRC. It has to be a physical location – whether that’s your home address, a private office, or a virtual office. 

Can I use my home address as my registered address?

Yes, you can – however, you might not want to. The address you use to register your business with Companies House becomes public information, meaning that anyone will be able to search your company and find your home address. For this reason, you might want to consider using a virtual office to register your business instead – this is a cheap alternative that allows you to register your company using a professional address, boosting your brand in the process. 

Can I change my registered address?

Yes, you can – you can change your registered address on Companies House here. The process is pretty straightforward, and the changes should show on the companies register within around 24 hours. 

Conclusion

When it comes to trading address vs business address, there are some important distinctions to keep in mind. Your trading address is where you carry out your daily business operations, while your registered business address is used for official correspondence and legal matters. In both cases, you need to consider protecting your privacy – and that’s why many people choose to use a virtual office instead of using their home address to register their business with Companies House. For more information on how to set up a business on Companies House, check out our step-by-step guide. And if you’d like to find out more about our affordable virtual office packages, click here

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