When setting up your business for the first time the differences between a registered office address, trading address and business address can be confusing.
In summary, a registered office address is the legal address of the business. A business address is where you receive your post and a trading address is where the activities of the business are performed.
You don’t need to rent an expensive office premises to set up your business in Ireland. Instead, you can use a virtual office address and save money in the process.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a closer look.
A registered office address
A registered office address is the formal legal address of a limited company. It represents the official communication channel between your business and other legal or state entities. When registering a company in the Companies Registration Office (CRO) you’ll need to include the address of your registered office.
The registered office address is public. Anyone who is interested in your business can use the Companies Registration Office website to look up the company address, so it’s best not to use your home address.
The registered address will also be used to send formal letters to the company to include correspondence from the CRO. The CRO will write to the company about many things including to notify you when it’s time to file your annual returns. So it’s very important that all post sent to the registered office is managed properly and not ignored.
The law states that letters sent to the registered office are deemed to have been received. This emphasises that someone needs to be dealing with all your post at the address. The last thing you want is to miss an important letter of notification.
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The obligation to have a registered office address applies only to limited companies. If you are a sole trader you do not need a registered address (but you will need a business address and a trading address).
Here is what’s important about a registered office address:
- It’s publicly available for anyone to see.
- It’s where official and legal correspondence will be delivered.
- You can use a Virtual Office address service for your registered office.
- You can only have one registered office address at a time.
- You will receive official mail (legal letters, letter from the CRO) to your registered office address, but you don’t have to use it as your day-to-day address for business mail. You can use a Business Address instead (see below), at a more prestigious location.
A trading address
A trading address is where the day to day activities of the business are preformed.
For example if you operate a restaurant then that’s easy to understand – the trading address is the location of the restaurant.
For other fixed location businesses the trading address is where the physical service is provided or where stock and equipment is kept and used.
If you run a consultancy or advisory business then the position is a little different. Many online businesses can be fully remote so the answer is not as clear. In these cases the trading address can be identified by examining where you are located when putting efforts or resources into running the business. It can also be the location where strategic or other important decisions about the business are made.
You can have more than one trading address. For example if you have more than one branch or office location where the work of the business is carried out.
Some businesses choose to get their post and mail to their trading address, but this is not always the best solution. If you run a busy business then you could miss important post or your post could get mislaid. To avoid these problems you can instead use a dedicated business address for your postal mail and ensure that it’s handled properly.
Here is what’s important about a trading address:
- It’s where the activities of the business are carried out.
- You’ll need it to register with the revenue commissioners for things like VAT and corporation tax.
- You can use a Virtual Office address service for your trading address provided that you also carry out regular activities at the address. For example, by using add-on facilities such as meeting rooms or day desks. Check with your virtual office provider that these services are offered as part of their virtual office plan.
- You don’t have to receive mail to your trading address. You can use your business address instead.
A business address
A business address is used for both day-to-day post and as a front facing address on your website, your business cards and invoices, etc.
All businesses need a business address.
An important distinction between a business address and a trading address is that you don’t have to perform activities at your business address. It can be used solely for post or mail. This means that it can be chosen simply because it looks great on your website or your business cards.
Your business address will be used to receive your postal mail such as bank statements, invoices, letters from the Revenue Commissioners as well as from suppliers and customers. You can also use it on your social media channels and for registration with online platforms and directories.
A business can have more than one business address. This can be useful if you plan to expand to different geographical areas as it will help local customers and local suppliers to connect with you more easily.
Here is what’s important about a business address:
- It’s the address that you publish on your marketing materials and it’s also where you receive your general day-to-day post.
- You don’t have to perform activities there.
- You can use a Virtual Office address service for your Business Address.
We hope that this article helps in explaining the differences between a registered office, a business address and a trading address.
You can choose to use your home address, a physical office address or a less expensive virtual office service like the one we offer.
A word of warning if you’re thinking about using your home address.
Using your home address for a registered, business or trading address can cause problems. Members of the public or unhappy customers might visit your home address without an invitation. It will also make you look unprofessional to clients, suppliers and investors.
High paying clients will expect you to have a prestigious location associated with your business. In all cases, you should instead consider a virtual office adress with an established and well known city address.
Consider a virtual office address as a business asset that will help you get more customers. In addition, your confidence will get a boost, you’ll appear professional to the outside world and you’ll save thousands by not renting an office of your own.
Enhance your choice of virtual office by making sure that you can also use meeting rooms and day offices at the address when you need to. For more about this read our article about how to select the right virtual office plan for your business.