Are virtual offices regulated

Regulators image
Are virtual offices regulated?

Any business that provides a Registered Office address service is required under the Anti Money Laundering (AML) Regulations to be licensed by HMRC. In London, it needs to be registered by the local authority. HMRC will carry out a test on the business personnel and once successful, will licence that business and its premises.

• Mail Forwarding Companies in the UK that provide services to businesses need to be licensed and listed for the Anti Money Laundering Regulations.

Although most mail forwarding businesses do not deal with clients’ money, they are classified as a company service providers. If another body does not already manage them, such as the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), they must apply individually to HMRC, once complete, a licence is issued for one year.

• It is an offence to run a mail forwarding business without a licence.
• It is necessary to identify customers and any beneficial owners of the company by providing proof of the directors’ identities, proof of address and certificate of incorporation.

The requirement to Register.
A person cannot carry on a mail forwarding business without being registered with the appropriate Council. That applies whether the mail forwarding business is conducted alone or in connection with any other business.

Record Keeping
  • A person carrying on a mail forwarding business is required to keep a record of:
  • The full name, address, and telephone number of all persons for who the post is received or who have requested postal packets received to be held or delivered to them.
  • If the business carried out by the person.
  • Any instructions as to the delivery or forwarding of postal packets
  • The name and address of the person to who the postal packages are to be delivered to
  • Copies of originals of two documents of a type approved by the Council to identify the person and verify the address(es) required.
  • A customer’s name and address must not be the name and address of another mail forwarding business.
  • The name and address to be stored must be:
  • In the case of a person, their private address
  • In the case of a limited company or a partnership

Future Formations needs to know our client, know their business and who the Directors and Owners are. To fulfil our obligations, we need to ask for proof of identity, proof of address, and the certificate of incorporation of an already incorporated company. Anyone acting as a representative and applying for our address services on behalf of a business or person also needs to provide proof of identity and address.

Retention and Inspection of Records

A mail forwarding business needs to keep records of customers for at least a year after the end of an arrangement, to hold or forward on postal packages and to keep them open for inspection by the police or any authorised officer at all times.

  • It is a criminal offence for a person to:
  • Fail to comply with the provisions of section 75 or.
  • Provide false information in making an application for registration or notifying the Council of any change to the registration particulars held or to a mail forwarding business in relation to details the business needs to keep.
  • Provide a fraudulent entry in records kept by a person carrying on a mail forwarding business.

It should be noted, that a customer will commit an offence if they provide required information that is incorrect. In relation to the investigation of an offence, Trading Standards Officers hold power to enter premises and inspect and seize goods and records.


The maximum penalty for committing an offence is a fine not exceeding £5000 on summary conviction.


If you would like more information, please contact our customer engagement team who would be delighted to assist you further.

Email us: [email protected]

Call us: 0207 781 8033