How to Register a Virtual Business Address

Explore the steps you should take to get a virtual business registered address and learn the advantages of this service in this Compare Banks article.

Updated: May 20, 2024
Matt Crabtree

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Matt Crabtree

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As an entrepreneur or owner of a startup, you might have heard of virtual business registered addresses. If you aim to receive packages or mail, and you don’t have a physical address as a remote business, setting up a virtual registered address for your business is ideal.

You’ll need to provide an address to Companies House when registering the business. You'll also need to adhere to the legal requirement of having a registered office address.

So, a virtual business registered address can help you achieve these requirements and avoid specific costs. But how can you get one?

In this article, our experts will explain how to get an address for a virtual business and register it correctly. Continue reading for the important points to consider.

What Is an Address for Virtual Business

A virtual office address is a service your business can use to get a physical mailing address, plus other extra services.

It means you'll not need to own a physical office to comply with the legal expectation that you have a registered company address. You'll be able to manage the virtual office service and mail forwarding options digitally.

What Is the Purpose of a Virtual Business Address?

The main purpose of virtual office services is to have a professional address for your remote company. You’ll notice that this address helps you set up a presence, and a physical location, but you won't need to pay for renting the office. 

It’s ideal for correspondence, works as a trading address and ensures you can separate a personal address from a business address. A prestigious business address can promote a professional business image, and it's ideal for many reasons.

Benefits of an Address for Virtual Business

Besides the main purposes listed above, there are various benefits of having virtual offices.

Not only can you add credibility to your brand, but you can also achieve the following advantages:

  • Save money — Instead of spending huge sums on physical office space, you can save money. There’s no need to spend money on service charges or costly rent with a virtual business address.
  • Retain the virtual address — It won't matter if you move to another location or work remotely. You’ll find that the virtual address you receive will remain the same.
  • Expense virtual office fees — You may have fees to pay for your virtual office. However, these fees can be expensed when you submit your tax return to HMRC.
  • Facilitate audits — Even when your company needs an audit, the process can be simpler with virtual business addresses. This process is simpler due to the business digital post records, which also help with business management.

What Are the Types of Virtual Office Addresses?

As you look into virtual business addresses, you’ll see that several exist.

You’ll need to align the virtual office package you want with how you intend to use it. Here are a few examples of virtual business address types:

👉 Street address — Your virtual street address is a professional address with which you can receive packages and correspondence. It’s ideal if you have customers who buy or use services for their use.

👉 Returns address — Your virtual returns address will work if you aim to receive returns outside of your home address. It’s perfect if you don’t reside near the virtual address.

👉 Redirection address — Your virtual redirection address serves the purpose of giving you access to redirected mail if you relocate.

Now, PO Boxes might have once been a good option, but they’re not featured in this list. Some changes in the government regulations have affected the use of PO Boxes, which is mentioned in more detail further down in this article. However, it's important to know that third-party agent addresses are still valid, given they meet specific conditions.

What Are the New Government Changes That Apply to Virtual Business Addresses?

A couple of new government changes, as well as the PO Boxes change, apply when registering virtual addresses.

Some changes you should acknowledge before you go ahead with getting the address are listed below:

✅ With registered office addresses, you must inform Companies House within 28 days with evidence that you're using the address.

✅ Use the “Update a registered email address” service as part of new requirements and regulations to include a registered email address with your virtual address. Find out more about this further on in this article.

✅ Prompt responses are required if you do not respond to formal Companies House requests for business-related information. You may face a financial penalty or prosecution. For this reason, having an appropriate address is essential.

How to Get a Virtual Business Registered Address

If you’re keen to get a virtual business registered address, the process doesn’t need to be complex.

Our professionals have shared the steps to get one, which are just below. Read on for the key steps you should take to get one.

1. Understanding Your Company Needs

It’s ideal to understand your company's needs as an initial first step. This process requires you to consider the company size, staff, and available funding. As a large company, you may consider a virtual address provider that comes with handy mail forwarding options.

Your company may be scaling or growing rapidly. You might be busy and unable to receive high-volume calls. In that case, you might want to consider a service that provides a phone answering service. Depending on your requirements, you might consider having virtual receptionists receive your calls. This requirement will ensure that you'll always respond to every message.

You may have a new startup that’s just begun its operations. In this case, an entirely virtual business address that comes with a free domain name might be the ideal option. This free domain name will add credibility to your company, especially if the option comes with a .co.uk URL.

Alternatively, you might be a medium-sized business that is growing but has a remote presence. In that situation, you may need an out-of-hours system to receive messages when your business is not open.

You may be a fully functioning business, but you need a virtual office to ensure your staff can work efficiently if they need assistance. In that case, a coworking room service may be required.

2. Consider the Location

You’ll need to consider the location of your virtual business address for a couple of reasons. With many virtual addresses, you can arrange efficient correspondence delivery. This efficiency is enhanced with the right address.

Since you can also access meeting rooms of coworking spaces, location is key. This means you can network from a reputable location and complete business activities there. 

Business credibility is also enhanced with a specific virtual business registered location. It means you can also target specific clients and enhance the business-client relationship with a reliable address. For instance, a central London virtual office address may promote your business and come with convenience that appeals to clients within that location.

You'll find that the best virtual office services offer a selection of address locations to choose from, ranging from cities such as Manchester, Cardiff, London or Birmingham. As explained slightly further down, make sure you select a location that matches the location of the company's formation.

3. Virtual Address Company Selection

Multiple companies and virtual office address packages are available, so completing the virtual address company selection requires you to consider the options. You’ll be able to choose from examples such as Company Address, UK Postbox, Icon Offices, and more.

These services can potentially come with professionally trained receptionists, inbound calls and call forwarding. Once you set up the address with these companies, you'll also enforce your local presence on your website. 

When you select these services, the process for signing up is relatively simple. Here are a few steps you should consider to sign up:

Select the right package — You can choose the right package and fill out an order form, which takes a few minutes. As part of the application, you must submit documents so the virtual business registered address company can verify you. Some of the specific details you will need to provide include the name of the business, the address, the contact information and proof of identity. Your provider will process the information and establish the address.

Wait for verification — The company will verify your documents. Upon verification, you can use the address for your correspondence and business requirements. You'll need to pay for the process, which may require you to pay monthly, each quarter or each year.

Have your correspondence handled — The company will handle your correspondence when you've set up the UK virtual address.

Now, you might already run the business from your own home, but a professional address is ideal if you want to receive and send packages and mail. You'll promote a more professional business image if you share a professional address when shipping or returning customer items.

Tips for Choosing a Virtual Office Service

A few other factors are important when selecting this service. Here are a few tips to consider when choosing one:

👉 The cost you'll pay will vary with each company and the service they offer. You'll want to compare each cost before you get a virtual business registered address. 

👉 You should also compare the services each provider offers. From business mail handling to meeting room access, the features of each service will be unique, so match your business needs to the services offered.

👉 The technology they offer is important, helping you manage your service efficiently. Some services offer portals to help you manage your subscription. Others offer email notifications when you receive mail at the address. Review the technology these services offer before selecting one.

👉 You'll want to consider the flexibility of the contract and determine whether it aligns with your business requirements. Many of these services make it possible to upgrade and add additional services or downgrade as your company expands or changes. Look for options that are flexible and will not charge extra for changing the contract.

4. Set Up Assistant Support

Your virtual assistants are important for handling mail, which is a compliance requirement according to the expectations for company addresses. They will provide multiple advantages and support your company with mail forwarding services and mail handling expertise.

As you ask for assistant support, you will not need to train an employee to handle your mail or complete a call answering service. With an assistant, you will never risk missing calls from important clients. You will also be able to filter out unwanted calls through your virtual assistant service.

5. Registering the Business With Companies House

You’ve now decided on the business virtual address. Your next step is to register your company with Companies House. You can complete this step in a couple of ways.

👉 Registering online — You can register the business online. Completing this process requires you to go to the UK government and Companies House website.

👉 Registering using an accountant — You can ask for the help of an accountant. These professionals will set up the registration process on your behalf.

Make sure you understand the type of business you’re registering. A few examples of business types include LLC, partnership and sole trader companies. When you register, you will have to provide details about your company. Ensure you have the registered address to hand, plus the name, directors and shareholder information.

Steps for Changing the Registered Office Address With Companies House

You'll be able to change the registered office address online quickly without paying a fee. As stated on the government website, you're going to need an authentication code and an email address. Here are the steps you will need to follow:

1. Navigate to the “update company information page”, search and find your company.

2. Select the option marked “File for this company”. You will find and follow a few instructions from this tab.

3. Add your new registered office address, including the building name, postcode and number. Select the address once you find it.

4. Once you select submit, Companies House will send you a confirmation email.

If you're just completing company formation for the very first time, you will need to use the virtual office address when you handle the process online. 

Tips and Documents for Registering a Virtual Business Address in 2024

It's important to know that while you can't use PO Boxes when registering an LLC business, you can use virtual office packages that meet the appropriate address conditions. Here are some tips you may consider when registering a virtual business address in 2024.

✅ The virtual business address should offer options that enable the document delivery process to be acknowledged and recorded. You should also be notified when documents are sent to the registered office. For this reason, the service virtual office customers choose should have a person present at the registered address to handle their mail.

✅ The office address you register must have a physical location. You will need to change your PO Box registered office before 4 March 2024 if you have been using one. You'll also need to register the registered address with the required tax authorities.

✅ Some documents are important when you register a virtual office. You'll need to have identification documents such as a valid passport, proof of address, registration documents, tax registration documents, a business bank account and a registered office address (official address) if you are a sole trader.

✅ If you are running a startup business or a Limited Liability Company (LLC), you will require an employer identification number, proof of address, a bank account for your business, a VAT registration certificate, the authentication code from Companies House and employment contracts.

✅ One jurisdictional requirement is that your address should be in the same location as the company's registration. If it is registered in England, you need a virtual address in England.

5. Updating the Address with HMRC

You're going to need to notify HMRC of your virtual business address. It's important to let VAT, corporation tax and PAYE services know, ideally within 30 days of receiving one. It's important because you might not receive essential communications from them and could even receive non-compliance penalties.

The easiest way to update the business address and let HMRC know is to log in to your HMRC account online.

Navigate to the section marked “Change of address”. On this tab, you can easily update the business address details. As with Companies House, you won't need to pay any costs when updating these details.

You will need to wait between five and 10 working days to see the updated address on the HMRC account.

6. Use the Address for Your Company

You’ll now be able to use the virtual address for your company. For instance, you can use it on your website, marketing materials or on company documents. You will receive mail through your virtual address and can use it for your invoices or directories. Since you'll be using the address frequently, consider the following tips to use it correctly:

  • Establish the address before company formation — You should establish the business address before you submit any information for your company formation. This approach will ensure you won't have your home address published on online channels.
  • Provide your contacts with the address — You'll need to update your business contacts and give them your virtual office address. It's important to take this step to ensure no mail comes to your home address. You will be able to collect the mail from the virtual office address location or have your virtual assistant forward it to you.
  • Include the virtual address in online communication — You'll want to set up a business email if you haven't done so already. Your virtual address should appear on your email sign-off to ensure all recipients know where to reach you or send correspondence. You should also ensure the virtual address appears on your social media channels for the same purpose.
  • Share the virtual address with coworkers or employees — It's important to share the virtual address with coworkers or employees. These individuals may want to use the coworking space that comes with the service, so ensure your remote employees know the virtual address.

7. Complying With Email Address Requirements

Alongside your appropriate address, you're going to need to comply with business email address requirements. The government website explains that you'll need to supply a registered email address when you file your confirmation statement. It means that you will be able to receive communications from Companies House related to your company.

When you register the address with Companies House, don't forget to add the registered email address and maintain this as you would do with your registered office address. This action is now a legal requirement, and failure to do so is an offence.

10 Features of Virtual Business Registered Address Services

Virtual business registered office addresses have multiple features you'll be able to use.

Here is a summary of the range of services, such as business support services, that you can look forward to using this service.

  • Coworking room services — You can use the rooms outside of the physical locations of your home office space to work with coworkers. The coworking rooms are available with some virtual office subscription options.
  • VoIP line — Using VoIP lines, you can set up lines for your business. 
  • Director's mail services — With a director's mail service from a virtual business registered address service, you can get mail forwarded to you as an executive or director of your company. It serves as an official correspondence address.
  • Accountancy services — You may be able to arrange services and receive support from accountants with virtual business registered address services. These features will guide you on taxation, filing taxes and handling correspondence.
  • International mail forwarding — You'll find that a few unique virtual office address services offer international mail forwarding. With this virtual office solution, you can get your mail at an overseas business location so that you won't miss any packages or correspondence you would receive at your UK address.
  • Personal message answering services — Many virtual office solutions provide the option to record a personal message as an answering service so you can have clients leave a message during times when your business is closed or out-of-hours.
  • Domain name — Although few services offer this feature, you may get a free .co.uk domain name with your virtual office address. This feature is ideal for giving an excellent impression with your business website.
  • Central London address — Some of the best services will be able to provide a central London business address that places your business in a location known for its entrepreneurial presence.
  • 0203 or prestigious phone number — You'll find that many services offer a 0203, a 0207 or a prestigious phone number so your clients can reach you. This feature may be an add-on option that you might need to pay for.
  • Call transfer — It's possible to receive a live call transfer feature through these services. With this feature, your virtual office assistant will transfer the call in real time so you can immediately take the call.

How Much Do Virtual Business Registered Addresses Cost?

A few things will determine the cost of the virtual business registered address.

Companies will consider the location you choose and your specific company. You can expect the cost to fall between £10 and £35 monthly. VAT is an additional cost that you may pay for mail management services. These costs are far less than renting a physical location.

How to Get a Virtual Business Registered Address: The Takeaways

Getting a virtual business registered address comes with plenty of advantages. If you aim to set one up, the process can be easier than you first think. Consider the steps mentioned in this article to get started. Once you have your address sorted, you can begin getting the perks that come with it.

Get a virtual business registered address for your company. Reduce the significant expenses of physical office spaces and rented commercial property options to run your business seamlessly.

Related Guides:

FAQs

Are Virtual Addresses Valid for HMRC?

Can You Register a Business Without an Address in the UK?

Can Sole Traders Have a Virtual Address?

Can You Use a PO Box as a Business Address in the UK?

What Happens If My Company Does Not Have an Appropriate Registered Office Address?

Is It a Good Idea to Have a Virtual Office?

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