When establishing a company, it is required to have a registered office in Hong Kong for the purpose of formal communication and to receive documents from the government. There are several regulations you need to follow, and the outline below provides you with what you will need to know to comply with the law and avoid any penalties.
What is a registered office in Hong Kong and why is one needed?
All companies in Hong Kong must have a registered office address in Hong Kong because the office is where all government documents and communications will be addressed.
The address must be a physical address and cannot be a P.O box. The registered office must also not be outside of Hong Kong. Official documents such as court documents or letters from the Companies Registry and the Inland Revenue Department will be delivered to the registered office.
Companies in Hong Kong are also required to have the company name and liability status in legible characters at the registered office and every business location.
The company name must be placed where it can be easily noticed by guests who visit the registered office or place of business. It is not uncommon for officers from Companies Registry to visit the registered office address to check whether the requirements are complied with.
Change of registered office address
If your Hong Kong business address has changed, you should provide the Business Registration Office a written notification within one month of the office address change. In your written notification, you must include:
- The Hong Kong company’s business registration number
- The business name
- The old and new business address and
- The date of the change
Additionally, you must fill in the IRC3111A form. You also may be required to provide address proof such as a copy of the tenancy agreement or a recent utility bill.
The Companies Registry and Inland Revenue Department introduced a one-stop notification service at the e-Registry. This service allows companies who report changes in their registered office address to request the Companies Registry to inform the Inland Revenue Department on the company’s behalf that the office address registered under the Business Registration Ordinance has changed to a new registered office address from the date indicated in e-Form NR1.
The same service can also be done through the CR eFiling mobile application. The Inland Revenue Department will send out the revised Business Registration Certification by post the next working day after the e-Form NR1 is submitted.
Some documents you may need to prepare when changing the registered office address are:
- Director’s resolution – Internal document signed by all of the directors
- Form NR1 – Notice of Change of Address of Registered Office, submitted to the Companies Registry
- Form IRC3111A – Notification of Change of Business Address, submitted to the Inland Revenue Department
- Bank forms – Sometimes you will need to inform the bank about the change of the registered office address to make sure no bank statement or letter will be sent to the old office address
- POS 800 form – Redirection of mail service form, to ensure that important documents are sent to the new registered office address. Can be submitted at the post office or by post.
Steps of changing the registered office address
- The company has to pass the board resolution in order to approve the changing of the registered office address.
- You must file the notice of change to the Companies Registry within 14 days and notify the Business Registration Office within one month of the change.
- You should also ensure you have completed the following:
- Notify customers and clients
- Notify banks and insurance agencies
- Notify government agencies, suppliers, service providers and vendors
- Update the new address on the company’s stationery such as envelopes, letterheads and name cards
- Update the new address on the company’s website
Penalty or fines
According to the Companies Ordinance Section 658, if a company does not have a registered office address in Hong Kong or does not notify the Registrar of an office address change, the company may face a level 5 fine.
A virtual office is a physical address that can be registered as the office address, but this office does not have to be where the business operates.
These virtual offices are more suitable for small companies and startups. Some of the advantages of a virtual office is lower costs, flexibility and professional business image. Acclime can offer this service to your company.
To satisfy the regulations of a registered office in Hong Kong, we recommend to engage with the services of Acclime to support you throughout the process.
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