Under company law, limited companies are required to keep certain records and make them available for public inspection.
The Single Alternative Inspection Location (SAIL) is a facility provided by Companies House that allows companies to keep these statutory records at a location other than their registered office.
The SAIL address was introduced into company law via the Companies Act 2006.
Why use a SAIL address?
There are several reasons why a company may choose to use a SAIL address, including:
- Privacy: A SAIL address can provide greater privacy for the company, as it is not required to display the registered office address on its stationery and other marketing materials. This may be particularly helpful if your registered address is your home address, and you don’t want anyone inspecting your records there (however unlikely this is to ever happen).
- Flexibility: A SAIL address can provide companies with greater flexibility in managing their records. For example, a company may choose to use a SAIL address if its registered office is located in an area that is difficult to access or if the company wants to keep its records at a location that is more secure.
- Cost savings: By keeping their records at a location other than the registered office, companies can reduce the need for staff to travel to and from the registered office, which can help to reduce costs associated with travel and time.
What is a SAIL address?
A SAIL address is an alternative location to the registered office where company records can be kept and made available for public inspection.
- This address is notified to Companies House using form AD02. Although you can post a paper copy, it is simpler to do this via Webfiling.
- The company is also required to notify Companies House of any movement of company records to and from the SAIL address using forms AD03 and AD04 respectively.
- Your limited company is only allowed to have one SAIL address at any one time.
- The address must also be in the same region of the UK as the registered office address.
- The SAIL address, like the registered office address, must be a real location, not a PO Box.
Requirements and obligations
While a SAIL address can provide companies with greater flexibility and cost savings, it is still subject to the same requirements as the registered office. These requirements include:
- Public inspection is still required for records: All records, no matter how old or new, must be made accessible to the public.
- Records must be kept for at least 6 years. Companies are required by law to keep records for at least 6 years starting from the date of their creation or dissolution.
- All records must be up-to date and accurate: No matter if they are at the registered office, or at a SAIL address, companies are responsible for keeping their records updated and complete.
- Compliance with company law. Company directors must comply with their company law obligations, regardless of whether or not they use a SAIL address.
You can view a list of all the possible company records you need to maintain here.
How to set up a SAIL address
Setting up a SAIL address is a straightforward process.
The company directors must first pass a resolution to approve the proposal.
To make the change, a company officer must complete form AD02 and submit it to Companies House.
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