Are you having second thoughts about the current registered address of your business in Hong Kong, and you are considering changing it? There are several reasons why companies registered in Hong Kong would weigh their options when considering changing their business address, such as cutting operation costs, needing a bigger space since your team has expanded, or simply you have experienced some disagreements with your current landlord.
In this article, we will explain the process of changing the registered office address of Hong Kong companies and why it is so important to update the information to all the corresponding local authorities and institutions in Hong Kong. But first, we should go over the concept of the registered address in Hong Kong in the next section.
What is a Hong Kong-registered office address?
As part of the local regulations for companies in the Companies Ordinance Chapter 622, section 658, a company must have a registered address when they are about to be established and through their life cycle. This is important since this location will be the main point of contact for your company with the Hong Kong government and other relevant authorities and institutions.
For example, the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), which is the tax authority, will be sending official notifications related to the tax declarations of your company to this address. Additionally, the institution that manages your business account, such as a bank or a financial platform, could send your monthly bank statements to this address. In other words, sensitive information and important documents will be sent to this address, and losing said document can become a problem later on.
As a special note, in the local regulations, it is not specified what a registered office address is or what it is not, therefore this term is not limited to defined offices in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, the Companies Registry, which is the government authority that checks the information on companies every year, can impose penalties if you fail to update your registered address and even escalate the case to the court.
What documents include the registered office address?
For this section, we will focus on Private Limited Companies as an example and then discuss which official documents include the registered business address of your company:
- Business Registration Certificate: When a company is incorporated, the Business Registration Certificate (BR) is issued by the Inland Revenue Department as proof that the company can conduct business in Hong Kong. This document is frequently used to show that your company exists and includes a certificate number that is usually used as your company tax identification number internationally, as well as your registered address. It is renewed on an annual basis as the most common practice.
- Annual Return: Another document that includes information about your company, but in a more detailed way, is the Annual Return, which helps the government to know your company's internal structure. It also includes the most current registered office address in Hong Kong. It is important to mention that every time there is a change in the particular details of your company such as address or name, as well as the internal structure, this needs to be updated and submitted to the Companies Registry for the change.
How to change the registered office address?
Now that we have gone through the concept of the registered address and in which the company documents the address is included, it is time to go through the process itself.
As we have mentioned at the beginning, the process is quite simple and, currently, the Companies Ordinance is offering what is called a “one-stop notification of change of company particular” for Hong Kong-registered companies, in which the changes of a company name or registered address, will be communicated to the Inland Revenue Department after being submitted and processed. In this sense, now companies only need to submit a form to one authority to inform other government entities. For other institutions, such as banks or financial platforms, other processes or requirements might be needed, and therefore they need to be checked particularly.
The form needed is the NR1 form, also known as the “Notice of Change of Address Registered Office”. For more information, you can refer to the following sample document of the NR1 form from the Companies Registry. More details about the contents of the form will be discussed in the next section.
What are the contents of the change of registered address form?
The NR1 form consists of a 1-page document with 2 other pages of notes that provide useful information but are not needed for the process of change itself. Here we will enlist the sections in the form:
- Name of the Company: this section shows the full name of the company when it was registered, or at least the most current denomination of your company in the case that there was a change of name.
- Details of Change: the new office address should be included fully in this section. The address should be checked carefully to avoid making a new change as well as the reason above-mentioned. The date of when the new date becomes effective should also be included.
- New email address: in this section, the official email of the company should be included to help the authorities to contact you. Also, the effective date of change for this contact.
- Signature and date: in the last part, the person who is in charge of the processes should sign and include the date for the submission of the form. The director of the company or the nominated company secretary can sign this form. Normally, the providers of office address services who also act as your Company Secretary will help you with this process.
Additionally, please note that the form requires that the Company number is included, this number can be normally found in the company’s Certificate of Incorporation.
[Related article] Certificate of Incorporation
As we have analysed in this article, one of the fundamental steps for running a business in Hong Kong is to choose a registered address for your company. Especially when we consider that important documents will be received and are needed for essential steps such as tax declarations as well as communication with local authorities in Hong Kong. Understanding how to do this will give you the freedom to move around your business and accommodate your current situation.